Cigarettes After Sex is a Brooklyn-based ambient pop band that headlined at Baby’s All Right recently in a sold out show. They have had tremendous success, with their song Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby garnering over 6 million plays. Libsyd Read was the opening act at 8 pm.
I had the chance to engage in some online banter with Greg Gonzalez, who writes and performs the band’s tunes. We talked about growing up in West Texas, coming up with band names, and how YouTube offers some really weird suggested videos sometimes.
GP: You guys are originally from Texas.
Yeah born & raised in El Paso, TX. We recorded our first EP there over the course of a night in the stairway to the local university. It’s a beautiful town with gorgeous weather & amazing sunsets. Very spread out, but easy to navigate & I miss too much about it. Miss driving on the lonely freeways late at night.
It felt as if things were going to start repeating if I stayed there though at a certain point in my life so I struck out to NY because of the overall art scene & its undeniable legacy… & because it’s just a fun city honestly.
Yeah I actually love Big Spring, TX. I went there with a small jazz group once & we played at one of the local restaurants/bars & they just treated us like royalty. It was just a ton of fun & the people were just unbelievably sweet.
Some of Midnight Cowboy was shot there too which is an all-time favorite.
Lubbock actually has a great jazz program at the university.
GP: There’s also so many great songwriters from West Texas. Definitely out of proportion to the population size.
Yeah it’s most interesting to me that some of the more avant garde artists have come out of small places in Texas, like Rauschenberg in Port Arthur for instance, or Ornette Coleman from Fort Worth. I guess you develop a rarer perspective by growing up in parts like that.
GP: Where is the best place for people to preview your music online?
I would definitely go with Bandcamp as an answer to that. It’s very easy to access the music from there, it’s free of course & it has all kinds of different qualities of audio files. So I’m just a huge fan of the site. YouTube is great for the quickest fix I think though.
GP: Yeah YouTube is weird, when I pulled up some of your videos it wanted to autoplay all these sultry chanteuse vids next. That’s not really your sound.
I noticed that too & thought it was a bit strange at first. I mean the original chanteuse artists are a huge influence on the root of the Cigarettes’ music… like Francoise Hardy for instance, who’s my favorite singer.
I’m mystified by the YouTube suggestions sometimes. People who say they only listen to metal get our videos recommended to them. It’s great though. I love plenty of metal, so I’ll take it.
GP: Let’s talk about your band name. It’s very appropriate, your songs feel post-coital, in the sense that they are serene but hold a persistent erotic charge.
Thanks a lot. The name actually came about from a “friends with privileges” situation I had a while back. I had never really smoked after sex before, but this particular girl always would & I started to like it after hanging with her a lot.
Another friend of mine liked the name because it reminded him of old films where a sex scene is implied by two lovers smoking afterward.
GP: Thanks for letting me reminisce about Texas again.
You’re welcome. Thank you so much! It’s been fun.