"People always talk about one-hit wonders, but so many bands are no-hit wonders" says Daniel Weisman of Roc Nation, who manages "Safe And Sound" pop-rockers Capital Cities, backstage at the band's show the second weekend of Coachella. "I'll take one hit over no hits any day."
Judging from the insanely interactive crowd response at Coachella to the band's whole set on weekend two -- not just "Safe and Sound," but dance-happy album tracks like "I Sold My Bed But Not My Stereo" and their new single, "One Minute More" -- the one hit wonder thing may not follow them much longer. Not that it's been a come-out-of-nowhere story -- the band's been working for the last few years at building their fanbase organically, with an early focus on international touring and well-thought-out syncs.
"The band started to have international penetration before they had activity really blowing up in America -- particularly South America, where they had invested early on," says their international booker, Rob Marcus, of WME. "[Now] all of South America's blowing up for them."
The challenge is timing. "Safe and Sound is their first big hit, and at different times... the world's a big place." He continues with a direct example. "[In Europe] they had a big sync on a very very big television ad, which took them to #1. That really led Germany, but other markets weren't there yet. We had a bit of a dilemma of [whether to] go to Germany while it's hot or waiting to do the rest [of Europe.] We decided it's better to go while it's hot, and it worked to their benefit."
Next up for the band's more festival dates, including Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, and a tour with an unlikely headliner: pop superstar Katy Perry. "We can't deny that "Safe and Sound" crossed over to Top 40 and went #1 at Top 40 radio," says Weisman. "To me there's no mainstream and alternative anymore. Capital Cities, at the end of the day, is a quirky band that makes music that a lot of people like. We're not ashamed of it at all -- it's not a cred issue for us."
Their US/Canada agent, Adam Brill, of APA, who booked the tour, agrees. "We started at the club level and gained fans in a way that was organic," he said. "The best part of the Katy Perry tour is we're going to be gaining a bunch of eyeballs that probably wouldn't go see Capital Cities...when there's a crossover situation, you really enter new worlds."