Interview: Božidar Simenović Of Citizen X

Citizen X

It’s been a couple of years since Božidar (Doghouse) reformed Citizen X. The band has recorded a brand new material, which is in the final stages of production. Recently, Citizen X has done a couple of gigs, so I spoke to Božidar about the band, the local scene, influences, and plans for the future. If you’re not already familiar with the band, you should pay closer attention to their music. Enjoy!

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. How have you been?

Božidar: Well I’ve just crashed my car on a way to a gig to Novi Sad, so great.

The global DIY punk rock community suffered and still suffers under the pandemic. Many venues, record labels, distros, promoters, and bands called it quits under these circumstances. How the pandemic treated you as a band?

Božidar: Music for us is something we do for fun. We will survive the pandemic but it’s definitely bad for the record labels, distros, promoters and bands who are making a living from playing music.

Still, you had a couple of gigs after the relaxation of the control measures. What was the reaction of the crowd, and has something changed comparing to the pre-covid times?

Božidar: I guess people are more enthusiastic and they don’t take these things for granted. There are more younger people on shows and it’s definitely good for the scene.The crowd was great.

Božidar Simenović of Citizen X
Photo by Igor Stanić

The main reason why we’re doing this interview is your new material. Can you briefly explain how the songwriting, composing, rehearsing, recording process went under the pandemic?

Božidar: It all went as usual. Maybe at the beginning of the pandemic, there were some difficulties during the close-down but that didn’t last long so we continued with rehearsals. For composing and songwriting, it’s definitely good, isolation is a good thing for writing. We recorded drum in the studio and all the rest is homemade

Can you tell me something more about the upcoming material? Any details you would like to reveal to our readers in these early stages?

Božidar: It’s more melodic than the older material and the production will be way better

Maybe some of our readers don’t know, but you also have the unreleased full-length recorded earlier with a different line-up. Are there any differences sonically/aesthetically between old and new material?

Božidar: Noone did production on the old material it was demo 1.2.3 go and we did it 15 years ago with Radule from Atheist Rap. I just write songs and I’m not thinking like I’m gonna write something that sounds like this or that band so some songs will sound like 80’s some like 90′ some like ’00s.

Is there any chance for the old material to end up in some physical format?

Božidar: Not likely cause we lost master, unfortunately. Maybe we will record some of these songs again.

What are the themes you covered in these new songs? Can we expect a socio-political critic, or you dedicated this material to more personal lyrics?

Božidar: As I’m getting older I’m writing more personal lyrics. I’m a pessimist so I don’t think this world is gonna change and became a better place. You can consider yourself lucky if this world doesn’t change you

What are the pros and cons of the scene back in the day comparing to the contemporary scene? Is it harder to set up a gig, sign to a record label or operate as a band in general than ten or twenty years ago?

Božidar: Everything was more difficult before. To record an album you needed money, to find a record label that wants to publish your poor produced album that you pay a lot of money to record, playing gigs on worst equipment but there were energy, enthusiasm, people really loved music and they were not embarrassed to show it. Gigs were amazing, total chaos. Today everything is available but the thing that you need the most you don’t have, the crowd.

What would you change on the scene? What are the necessary changes that would maybe improve the status of the underground scene?

Božidar: I’m not the Godfather of the scene so nothing.The scene needs younger people, without them it will die with us.

I mentioned line-up changes before. Can you introduce the current musicians involved in Citizen X?

Božidar: Line up totally changed and I’m the only original member. New line-up younger musicians, new energy and great guys Djole – drums (U Zmajevom Gnezdu, Oslobodioci) Crveni – Gitara (Kamenolom, Singless), Dilber – Gitara (Posno Prase), Pera – bass (No Comply, Young Husbands), Boka (Doghouse).

What are the plans for the future?

Božidar: To finish the EP find a label and publish it and of course to play as many shows as we can in these circumstances.

Citizen X

Can you name some of the bands that profoundly inspired your songwriting? Also, what’s currently spinning on your turntable/streaming platforms? Any good records, artists, or bands you would like to recommend to our readers?

Božidar: I was inspired by Hot Water Music, Strung Out, Propagandhi, Descendents, The Gaslight Anthem… New stuff I don’t know new Ship Thieves, new AFI, Turnstile is pretty interesting. There is always some new interesting stuff.

That’s it. Thank you for the time you spent answering questions. Any words of wisdom or anything else you would like to say to our readers? What is the piece of advice you would like to give to younger bands/musicians?

Božidar: To young musicians spent more time writing a good material without good songs noone will remember your band in a few years and on-stage look like you know what you’re doing even if you don’t.

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