When you’re in Diet Cig, people will come up to you in the middle of a restaurant and ask to buy your pants. Drummer Noah Bowman’s paint-splattered jeans inspire fans on stage, and apparently inspire would-be denim collectors as well.
“People have offered him hundreds of dollars for his pants,” says Alex Luciano, the band’s lead singer and guitarist. “Everything he wears just has this perfectly worn-in vibe.”
This trend-setting slop-rock duo didn’t set out to be fashion icons. They still embody the spirit of a former blue-collar house painter (Bowman) and a Guy Fiere enthusiast (Luciano).
Diet Cig started as just a couple of kids “farting around” in New York’s Hudson Valley, playing house shows when Luciano wasn’t attending classes at SUNY New Paltz, but the two quickly made a name for themselves signing with Father/Daughter records, releasing two EPs (Over Easy and Sleep Talk/Dinner Date) and performing at festivals like Northside, South by Southwest and CMJ.
“Every day we wake up and we’re like, ‘People care about our little band,’” Luciano says. “We never even thought something would come from this. It’s so surreal.”
The two met when Luciano, in need of a lighter, interrupted a set by Bowman’s other band, Earl Boykins — named after a 5-foot-5-inch basketball player who lasted 14 years in the NBA. Bowman didn’t have the lighter, but he did give her a bottle of wine, thus starting a musical match. The two hung out and collaborated until Diet Cig was born after passing on the name Lebron James Franco.
Throughout April and May, Diet Cig toured with the Jersey born punk rockers The Front Bottoms and indie duo Brick + Mortar.
“I loved [The Front Bottoms] my freshman year of college,” Luciano says, “and now I get to play with them.”
On May 19th, Diet Cig began its second international tour in the UK with the Great Escape Festival and a show in Paris being highly anticipated performances for the band.
“Playing your music across the world, it’s like ‘WHAAAAA?!?!,” Luciano says.
After the UK tour, Diet Cig will return to New York for Northside in Brooklyn where they’ll perform alongside Colleen Green and Child Birth on June 10th.
They’re is currently writing for an LP that will be recorded soon, but other than that Luciano didn’t want to reveal too much about their plans.
In terms of sound, you can’t really compare Diet Cig to anyone else, and the band strives for that. Luciano delivers impassioned lyrics such as, “If I told you I loved you I don’t know who it would scare away faster,” and they’re complemented by short rocking instrumentals that create quick, powerful songs.
Luciano says her 12-year-old sister is a big inspiration when it comes to making music.
“You’d think a girl in middle school would have a lot of self-esteem problems, but she really loves herself so much,” Luciano says. “She loves anime. She’s totally in to comics. I’m inspired by her to do my own thing. I write the songs I want to listen to.”
Luciano’s sister is even featured on the cover of Sleep Talk/Dinner Date. Their brother poses on the back.
With a tween as inspiration, it’s easy to see where Diet Cig’s kid-like stage presence originates.
“I feel like Lindsay Lohan in Freaky Friday when she gets to play with her band,” Luciano says. “It’s an adrenaline rush.”
Every time Diet Cig performs their standout track “Harvard,” about Luciano’s “stick in the mud lameo” ex-boyfriend who thought he was tough shit for dating an Ivy League woman, Luciano jumps around kicking her legs like a punk Rockette. She stands on her amp and pounds away at the heavily distorted power chords. She kicks the crash cymbal of Bowman’s set. The rockers bring something different to the stage in an age when plenty of musicians try to act complicated all the time. It’s called fun.