Cigarettes After Sex is an ambient pop collective led by songwriter Greg Gonzalez & is currently based out of Brooklyn, NY.
They specialise in taking eighties power ballads and the like and turning them into smouldering, midnight-black atmospheric pieces. Always done beautifully and with complete confidence, Gonzalez lists his main influences as Francoise Hardy and Miles Davis. We caught up with Greg for a chat ahead of their 14.3 concert in Musik und Frieden. See you there – because this music is just exactly how music is meant to be!
indieberlin interview with Greg from Cigarettes after Sex
indieberlin: Tell us a little bit about your musical collective. How and who got together when?
Cigarettes after Sex: The group had its inception back in the summer of 2008. I had written a batch of songs that I felt went together well and wanted to start a new project around them. The sound of the group started as an electro pop style very influenced by Madonna’s ‘80s singles and bands like New Order & Erasure, but with more confessional lyrics.
At the beginning it was just me, a keyboard player and a drummer
But we continued to change members and sounds over as the years went on. The group feels like it officially started in 2012 with the release of our first EP however and the current lineup feels like the most solid and the one with the most identity so far.
indieberlin: Cigarettes after sex – it’s exaclty how your music sounds like. Who came up with the name and in what situation?
Cigarettes after Sex: I had a “friends with privileges” situation with a girl at the time I came up with the name. I had never really smoked after sex before, but she always would & I found that I really came to enjoy it as time went on. There was a certain undeniable mood & ritual to it. We were sitting in my backyard one night smoking & the name just popped into my head. It felt very natural.
indieberlin: You’re from New York and apparently if you make it there – you make it anywhere. How do you feel about Berlin?
Cigarettes after Sex: I’m actually from El Paso, TX, but I moved to Brooklyn two years ago to be a part of the music & art scene in New York and also because it’s just a fun & exciting city overall. I’ve had many friends spend large amounts of time in Berlin and they always rave about it, so I’m incredibly excited to finally visit.
In my mind I think of Berlin for the albums that were recorded there
like David Bowie’s Low or Achtung Baby by U2 mostly… Two records I love.
indieberlin: How does the songwriting process work with you being a musical collective?
Cigarettes after Sex: I usually come in with the songs fully written & the band & I begin to quickly make an arrangement of the song at a rehearsal or recording session. All the players understand what’s trying to be achieved with each song basically & we just work on getting an arrangement that seems to suit the song well.
indieberlin: What have you never been asked in an interview but would love to answer?
Cigarettes after Sex: Hmm that’s interesting. I’ve never been asked what my favorite German sci-fi television soundtrack is. It’s definitely Raumpatrouille by Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra. The huge sound of “Bolero On the Moon Rocks” in particular was a big influence on the sound of I. It’s perfect.
And please, tell us a lil secret about you…
Cigarettes after Sex: Let’s see… I don’t always smoke after sex.
Thank you for the interview! And see you at Musik und Frieden 14.3.2016.
Interview: Mia Morris | Photo: Michael T. Wilcox