City City
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City City

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Pop Indie




"Watch City City - "Moving Through Life""

LA indie-pop band, City City, have unleashed their new music video for “Moving Through Life” today, giving off a CHVRCHES meets Grouplove vibe. Heavily influenced by the synth driven 80s and 90s, their upbeat songs are easy to dance to and the multi-instrumentalist band members switch duties throughout their live shows. The band is currently gearing up for their first full-length this fall. Needless to say, this is gonna be good! - The Daily Listening

"City City "Moving Through Life" Video Release"

City City formed after Jeff Kirchner and Dan McCollister met while working at a pizza shop in Sherman Oaks. The duo soon became a coed collective who seem to unapologetically make music just to have fun. Their self-titled debut LP was released last year and often carries a buoyant synth-pop vibe thanks to effervescent keys, rapid digi-beats, and frequent harmonies. Here’s the album’s last track, “Moving Through Life,” which delivers an infectious midtempo pace. And here’s the song’s sharp music video (directed by Reed Clement of Neon Colony) which features the band in a stark landscape of white –that is until they decide to break the monotony with a bit of color. - Free Bike Valet


Five piece LA band City City have been known to captivate audiences through personal interaction with the crowd, with each other, and with their music. Watching them perform is like seeing into a new, technicolor world, where the energy is always high and you always feel like dancing.

With their second music video release, I want to weigh in, both as the band’s manager and as an Atwood Magazine contributing writer, on the dual nature of City City’s song, “Moving Through Life.”

I’ve been close to this song for awhile now, and have gone through a lot of emotions while watching it develop, whether through live shows or hanging out with the band. For me, “Moving Through Life” captures the essence of City City’s entire debut album: A pull between nostalgia and an urge to move forward, detailing a tipping point between complacency and restlessness, and how, as we grow older, we seem to be more and more on autopilot, simply going through the motions, simply moving through life.

In the first half of the video, the white, geometric, jumpy movements of the band members reflect this angst. Suddenly, color comes into the video, both physically and symbolically, showcasing a scene full of playful energy and boundless optimism. The members are able to move around and interact with each other. Their world is now full of hope, color, and a reminder that the drab drudge of life can be broken open, creating something new and beautiful.

Just as moving through one’s actual life is easiest done with the help and talents of others, so this video was filmed. City City worked with local LA director Reed Hall Clément, who filmed and directed the crazy color fight. Keeping with the tune of hometown talent, LA blog Free Bike Valet premiered the video for the band on Friday 8/28, just in time for me to use the new #NewMusicFriday hashtag! - Atwood Magazine

"City City"

Over the years I have noticed a large wave of bands that take their cues from the genres of decades past, most notably the industrial synths that became so prevalent in the early 90's. While these artists have found their niche, City City, an indie rock quintet from Los Angeles, takes it back even further and borrows a large portion of their overall sound from the synth heavy pop classics of the 1980's, with fantastic results. The upbeat, positive dance vibes that this band has managed to culminate are impressively fun and gives the listener a chance to really enjoy what made those original tracks so great in the first place. With their first full length album, 'City City,' the band has landed and heads have definitely begun to turn.

The opening track and first major single, 'I Don't Dance,' is a fun tune that starts off with a dreamy guitar and then slips into a majestic and upbeat tune, using synthesizers overlaid by a strong vocal performance by the band's lead singer, Dan McCollister. The video for the track is cool and joyous, as it follows the band's audition in a high school gym, in which one by one each member ditches their instruments in favor of dancing around on the stage, to which the judges and other school staff succumb and begin their own dance off in the gym. The video really gives us a glimpse into the type of vibe that the band puts off, bringing a genuinely happy glow to the listener. In the electronic 'Physical Touch,' keyboards abound and one is almost reminded of the type of sound that Tears for Fears might produce. The spacy 'Silver Stars' has a very driven and optimistic feel to it, then moves onto 'Bad Business,' a slower, darker track with intense vocals and plenty of synth electro-tunes. With a track like the funky, poppy 'The Midwest,' these guys really showcase the indie side of the band's sound, making for a wonderful collaboration that again propels the listener into a cheerful mood.

The lovely and light 'In The Dark' takes full advantage of the keyboards, while the next track, 'Blossom,' changes things up with quick, catchy riffs from an electric guitar that puts out a great dance beat. Finding the lighter side of a dark life is explored in the track 'Miss Mary on the Street,' a song reminiscent of Pat Benatar, then slips into 'Everybody Wants Somebody New,' an altruistic love song that make generous nods to the ballads of the 1980's but infused with a modern indie rock twist. In the fast paced 'The Truth and The Light' the band channels The Ramones and even Van Halen as they change gears effortlessly between the chunky guitar riffs and sweeping synthesizers. 'Johnny' is a poppy, catchy tune followed by the last track, 'Moving Through Life,' which finds the female vocalist, Claire Cetera, taking center stage and shining, and while the track slowly fades out to round out the album the listener is left with an irrefutable feeling of nostalgia and jubilation that can't be easily shaken.

I thoroughly enjoyed the effort this band has put forth, and while they continue their journey with the help of some well known musicians they are sure to thrive and connect with a broad audience. I am pleased to again have had the privilege of discovering an artist that is not afraid to take chances and experiment with what types of genres drive their enthusiasm, and with such successful results. These guys are only going to get bigger, and I wish them the best of luck in their travels. - ProCreate

"City City rolls into Zoo Bar"

L.A.-based electro-pop band City City, whose show earlier this year completely packed The Zoo Bar, is set to roll up to the venue once again Friday in the band's treasured tour van.
"The van is basically the only woman I've ever loved," joked singer Dan McCollister, a native of Omaha. "It's the kind of thing families would have been ogling over in the ‘90s."
The van purchase, which was partially supported by an online fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, has been just one of several projects -- including a video shoot, a spring tour and a songwriting spree -- in this busy band's year so far.
The five-piece group, which has three Nebraskans on its roster, is currently on a 12-stop tour and has plans for recording new material upon the band's return to Los Angeles.
The Journal Star caught up with McCollister and drummer Jarrett Portnoy, originally from Lincoln, through the magic of three-way calling and commenced discussion on all things Nebraska.
LJS: Your last show in Lincoln was extremely successful. What was it like to have that reception on the old stomping grounds?
Portnoy: We were looking forward to that show since it was our homecoming. In high school bands, I'd always grown up really wanting to play The Zoo Bar. It seemed like such an exclusive place to play. It's really one of my favorite venues, actually. So it was exciting on that front, getting to go back and play the home turf and play a club I really like. But then once we got there, and we saw how full it was -- we kind of sold it out, standing-room only -- and to have all that support from your hometown crowd, and to see your friends and family, as well as a bunch of new faces that I didn't recognize was really a wonderful experience. It was really uplifting to see that amount of support.
LJS: Dan, you've mentioned that the band keeps Husker traditions alive. Is there more to that?
McCollister: There's three Nebraskans in our band, but we're also part of this larger scene of Nebraskans (in Los Angeles). … I think there's just this magnetism because there're all these musicians. We all play shows together. We're in different bands, and we all hang out. Every week during Husker season, come rain or shine, we all get together at bars in Los Angeles that are -- honestly, you're going to laugh at this -- Husker bars. All these Nebraskans take over the bars. We watch the games and ingest alcohol.
LJS: How do your Nebraska roots continue to influence you?
Portnoy: We're described a lot by people here as "The Nice Guy Band." We're all easy to get along with, and being from Nebraska, we're all polite and we have our manners. And we come in and work hard. It's been interesting to see how people really do notice that. … I think we've really endeared ourselves to a lot of people out here who aren't really used to that, who are used to a little more cutthroat, do-anything-it-takes-to-advance-my-own-career thing. And we come from more of a communal, let's-all-help-each-other-out-and-it'll-be-better-for-all-of-us (place).
LJS: What do you miss about the state?
McCollister: The No. 1 thing I miss about Nebraska is rain. I miss thunderstorms. I miss tornado warnings and being in a basement. There aren't really basements in California, so yeah, I miss basements. - Lincoln Journal Star

"A chat with City City bassist"

While having a name that’s incredibly hard to Google, City City has become known in Los Angeles for its catchy, dancy, pop/electronic sound. Jet Setter Productions will be bringing the five-piece indie band to play their first show in Hawaii this weekend.

I had a chance to chat on the phone with Honolulu-born bassist Valerie Ngai about everything from the band’s first tour to craving local food to her musical education in Hawaii and abroad.

City City, with GRLFRNDS and Sing the Body
SoHo Mixed Media Bar
Friday, April 29 at 8 p.m.
$10 for 21+, $15 for under 21, at

Excited to come back home? How long have you been gone?

I’ve been gone for 5-6 years, and I’ve been waiting all this time to play in Honolulu. I had a tour with other bands, and everyone else hits their hometown but me. We’ve been telling everybody we’re playing in Hawaii, and they’re like, “what?” I go back once or twice a year, for family. I’m excited that I get to show my friends my home, and get some home cooking (My parents own Ken Fong Restaurant on Smith Street). We’re super stoked about eating.

Where did you go to school, and when did you get into music?

Public school. I was waiting for fourth grade to happen so I could take orchestra. I was in Youth Symphony growing up. I went to McKinley & Kalani and took lessons from Punahou. I played in the UH band and every music ensemble that there was. I did a lot of musicals after college, then I went away for a year to Washington State and did symphony there… When I moved to LA, I was doing theaters for a while.

Then I got into a little indie band, and I liked being in a band. I missed being in orchestra, but it sort of shifted.

How did you get hooked up with City City?

Just from the network of LA. Me and the drummer started together, it’s actually our one-year anniversary (with the band). Everyone hooked up in LA and really clicked. The two guys met in LA at a party, and it was bromance at first sight. Jeff and Kyle were working at this pizza place and that’s how they picked up Kyle. They did their thing for 3-4 years, and then wanted to do a full band again. That’s where Jared and I came in. Jared actually went to high school with Jeff in Nebraska, and met him in LA.

I had heard about them, and Kyle and I had a mutual friend. It’s going to sound like a relationship. They were looking for a bassist, and I’d just gotten out of another band. I didn’t want a commitment, or to jump into anything too fast. We called each other that night and I said I wanted to come in and try it out. Right off the bat, I decided I want to do this. I get their sense of humor, and we really believe in this music. I think it’s going to go somewhere, and these guys are great.

What do you miss the most about Hawaii?

The food that I grew up with!

What are some of your favorite local spots to eat?

Zippy’s, L & L Drive Inn, Da Spot, that curry house in Makiki, and we gotta get some garlic shrimp from Kahuku. I really like all the hole-in-the-wall places.

What are you planning to show the rest of your band while you’re here?

I’m going to make them eat about six times a day. That’s what I miss the most. A couple of them have been here before. We’re going to take a day to drive around the island. I really want to do a hike to the tide pools, and Kyle really wants to see Pearl Harbor. The night after we play, I think we’re going to see the Fruit Bats play (Saturday at Hard Rock Cafe). We’re not going to try and cram too many things in, though, because this past tour (City City’s first) has been pretty crazy.

Tell me about your first tour.

We drove from LA to Nebraska and Missouri in 10 days, which is pretty strenuous.

I notice you guys used a campaign to raise money for your tour van.

Yeah, we didn’t know what kind of reaction it would get, but we met our goal in five days. Kickstarter is a really great tool. It makes it seem more legit than if you just ask people for money. We weren’t sure whether we’d get enough for a down payment, but when we did get the money, we took out a loan. It’s one of those camper vans where the back seat turns into a bed, and we haul a trailer behind with all our stuff. Unfortunately we can’t drive it to Hawaii, but this really opens it up for us. Instead of taking five cars everywhere, we just have the van. And we’ll never get a speeding ticket because we can’t go that fast.

Any tour drama? What was the group living experience like?

Going into it, I was really nervous about being confined to a small area with four other people. We were talking about it later, and we still love each other. I was very pleasantly surprised how well we got along. We got some good recordings of some snoring, though that’s the biggest secret we learned, is how to stop someone from snoring.

We spent one night in a Walmart parking lot, because that stretch was a long drive and everyone was sleepy, but for most of our trip we knew people. We were very blessed that people opened up their houses and apartments for us.

Where’s the most interesting place you performed?

We played in some unconventional venues, like a wine restaurant. All we had was an address. We walked in to some places and they told us to keep it down, but it turned out really well.

We did get shut down by the police in Boulder, if you want a rock & roll story, for being a little bit too loud. It started snowing afterward. We had a snowball fight that night, it was great.

What did you guys listen to while you were driving?

The Strokes, Arcade Fire, MGMT, Killers, David Bowie, some of the older stuff like Stevie Wonder. Passion Pit, which I’m really digging right now, and LCD Soundsystem. We threw some classical in there, listened to ‘Avenue Q.’ It was kind of all over the map. And of course new wave stuff from the ’80s, because we’re all ’80s kids.

Is your sound influenced by any of those?

Our sound is definitely influenced by new wave/’80s. We like that pop sense. We go really electronic for some stuff.

It was nice playing in places like Kansas, where we don’t know anybody, and still have people come up to us and say, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re awesome.’ We like hearing what works and what doesn’t. It’s definitely going to help our writing. As soon as we get back from Hawaii, we’re going to start writing and recording for a new album. We have some new songs already and are planning to come out with another EP sometime this year.

I grew up in Hawaii when Internet was dial-up and you were just exposed to whatever was mainstream, whatever was on the radio, unless you had cool friends. Now Hawaii’s exposed to so much more. I’ve been back and I’ve listened to some of the newer bands there and they just blow me away. I saw GRLFRNDS last time I was home. I wish they could drive over and come do a show with us.

Everyone in the band works in the education field, right?

Yeah. I’d done some coaching… I got into the administrative stuff for a private school in LA. I teach bass sometimes. The other guys, Jeff teaches, Jared used to teach. Dan works at a juvenile delinquent boarding school with troubled teens. Kyle’s a job coach for people with special needs. Those are day jobs, and we like them. We’re lucky that there’s fulfilling jobs in another part of our lives, and that we have our nights free for music. - Nonstop Honolulu

"The Good Guys"

Nice guys finish last, the old saying goes. And if that were true, the five members of the Los Angeles rock band City City would have mantels littered with green ribbons and plastic participant trophies.
Instead, they’re finding that being nice is its own reward. Helping the less fortunate has become a way of life for the group, which shares several passionate pursuits. City City has been seen performing at many non-profit fundraisers and cultural festivals as well as some Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance events.
Even away from the stage, these guys are lending a helping hand. Lead singer Dan McCollister works as a counselor at a residential treatment program for adolescent gang members. Guitarist Kyle Minichelli is a job trainer for people with special needs. Jeff Kirchner (guitar), Valerie Ngai (bass) and Jarrett Portnoy (drums) all work in the education field.
“We’re one of the nicer bands you’ll see,” McCollister laughs. “I think we’re all pretty socially minded about people in general.”
City City is stepping away from the benefit shows for a mini-tour with dates in Nevada, Colorado and Nebraska as well as one at 9 p.m. March 29 at Cafe Acoustic in St. Joseph.
The gig will offer Joetowners a chance to see a West Coast band perform innovative alternative rock in person. City City has recorded two EPs — “Lines” and “Adult People.” With “Lines,” McCollister, Minichelli and Kirchner created a club techno style of digital rock. The addition of Ngai and Portnoy equated to “Adult People” becoming an EP that layered synth sounds with driving guitars, pop sensibilities and orchestral elements.
Think of modern new wave bands like MGMT, Passion Pit, The Faint, Owl City and Bloc Party. Now think older — U2, The Police, Kraftwerk, Tribe, Simple Minds and David Bowie. You’ll hear little tidbits of all of them during a City City show.
“I guess it’s a collision of older and newer music,” McCollister says. “We take things we’ve been inspired by and put them through our brains and that’s what comes out.”
Even though City City gives its brand of digital rock a shot of happy, dancey pop, the band’s lyrics aren’t swallowed by the usual pop filler. “Animals” shines as a pick-me-up song brimming with hope and refuge, while McCollister takes a shot at the shallow consumerism of television news with “The Network.”
He says “The Network” was inspired by the frustrations he experienced during the time he spent working for a CBS affiliate in Illinois.
“It’s like no one watches C-SPAN, your anchors need to be attractive and at the end of the day you’re wondering, ‘Why are we reporting on this?’” McCollister says. “(That song) was a way for me to get some of my cynicism out there.”
But City City continues to evolve, McCollister points out. The heart of City City has always beat to the sound of synth tones, but the group is now heading for more of a traditional rock vibe. Why? Because McCollister and Co. realize that watching a band play synthesizers and loops isn’t the most exciting thing to see at a live show.
“This is the MySpace generation, and we’re entering this period where bands are getting big that have never played a show. A lot of those songs, guys wrote with a computer,” McCollister says. “And then they go to play it live and there’s something off.”
The band plans to put out its first full-length album this summer, and McCollister says City City has been tweaking the live show for optimum excitement. That includes the addition of cover songs by Bruce Springsteen and Simple Minds as well as some random, awkward humor. As a matter of fact, McCollister actually admits that the Adult Swim TV program “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” has influenced City City more than any band ever has. More often than not, nice, funny bands put on the most entertaining shows.
“The only thing we’re trying to do right now is write a lot of good songs and kick in some faces live,” McCollister laughs. - St. Joseph News-Press

"City City Listen!"

Translation from German:
Girls, we´re definately too mature to act like groupies, right. But in this case- we fell in love with City City. Have a look at their very first, brandnew hot video, post it to your blogs, webpages - spread the word! Still label-free - one could say virginlike - they present delicious (yummy) Electronical Pop made in L.A. We think it´s definately time for a big breaktrough. Common girls - post it, comment on it, pass it on - but above all: listen to it and love it!

-Agi Habryka

Original Text:
Girls, für ein Groupie-Dasein sind wir definitiv zu alt. Dennoch - die Jungs von City City haben es uns angetan.

Schaut euch ihr welterstes und brandneues Video an, postet das tolles Stück auf euren Webseiten und Blogs, rührt die Trommel. Noch völlig labelfrei, quasi noch jungfräulich, präsentieren unsere Freunde von City City leckersten Electro-Pop made in L.A.

Wir finden, es wird Zeit für den grossen Durchbruch! Postet, blogt, kommentiert, leitet es weiter - und vor allem: hört und liebt!

von Agi Habryka - BLONDE

"Video Free Silver Lake: Happy Hollows, City City, LCD Soundsystem and XX"

City City are a local electro-pop band, with a fun new video for their song "The Network", directed by Bo Mirosseni. They are playing on Saturday, June 19 at Dakota Lounge in Santa Monica. - Radio Free Silver Lake

"City City @ The Mint" - Flavorpill

"The Passion of the Synth" -

"Viewer Discretion Advised: EXCLUSIVE City City Behind The Scenes"

We’re very excited and proud to announce that one of OurStage’s own, City City, recently wrapped their first music video for the track “The Network.” As many of you surely know, the trials and tribulations of a talented yet “undiscovered” band are nothing to be dismissed. Hard work, strong bonds and a little bit of craftiness go a long way on the road to stardom.

Our friends in City City love us just as much, so they’ve given us the exclusive on the behind-the-scenes footage that went into making this killer music video. The band teamed up with the very talented director Bo Mirosseni, the man behind some of the hilariously viral Skittles, Starburst and Virgin Mobile commercials (see below). “The Network” includes everything we think a good music video should have, right down to the ironic mustache. The entire video was shot for $1,500, and when you see the finished product below, we know you’ll be blown away. When starting out, its important to rely on the kindness of others, and the band experienced this first hand with a camera rental hookup by a friend (normally this would cost $1,000 a day).
Jeff Kirchner (keyboard, programmer) is a teacher by day, and schools his students in Pro-Tools and audio production. Vocalist Dan McCollister works as a counselor for inner-city gang members. No doubt karma was in full swing as Jeff’s skills doubled their workload for this music video’s efforts, and locations were shot pro bono through McCollister’s non-profit.

Editing on the video was done for free and another friend worked on set as a production assistant, doing everything from running errands to making sure the floors were shiny enough for the performance shots. But connections and relationships only bring you so far and shooting a music video is a lot of work. Originally intended to be a 2-day shoot, rain set in on the second day and band had to scrap the intended outdoor performance shots for inside scenes.

“We had to be up at the ass crack of dawn figuring out what the f*** we were going to do…where we would shoot. The liquor store in that video? Normally a location like that would cost like $500. Jeff goes there like every day and talks to the owner. They let us shoot for a while. We had to do a third day (about 2 months later) because we were poor…it would cost more…camera rental…and we had no prospects. We FINALLY got an opening with our “hookup” and he let us do it for $450. It was stressful. It was like a giant stink smog cloud that always followed you around.

“Not having done much as a band yet, taking months off to make a video was a thrilling but completely ignorant decision. We had no idea what this all entailed. All the people involved. It is still a bit unreal but exciting as I’m just now realizing that it’s finished. Lots of band meeting nights. Coffee Bean. Driving here and there. Location scouting. Awkward phone calls with the producer and director about budget…..”

Luckily all their hard work paid off. You can find City City’s official video for “The Network” below, as well as on all of their networking sites. Go ahead and give these guys some love, they deserve it. You can also find the Bo Mirosseni-directed commercial for Virgin Mobile below (simply because it makes us giggle). - Viewer Discretion Advised with Alison D'Arrigo


Adult People EP
July 2009

Lines EP
July 2008



City City is an indie rock band based in Los Angeles, California. The band formed members Jeff Kirchner and Dan McCollister bonded over their mutual love for the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar."  After enlisting the help of Valerie Ngai and Jarrett Portnoy, the band began production of their first full-length album. During the writing and recording process, they added longtime collaborator Claire Cetera to complete the band's signature blend of 80s/90s synthpop and electronic indie.

While steadily building their fan-base at home, the band has toured cities throughout California, Hawaii, the Midwest and many other states. Their music video for “the Network” gained national airtime on FuseTV, as well as being featured on, Skope Magazine, and City City songs have also been featured on “Loveline with Mike and Dr. Drew” and MTV. In addition to two EPs (Lines, Adult People), the band also produced a record with Tim Heidecker (Tim and Eric) and Greg Turkington (Neil Hamburger) as the Yellow River Boys. It also featured friend of the band, James Valentine (Maroon 5), with whom Jeff recently produced several demos. The album “Urinal St. Station” (Drag City Records) was named the number one album on VICE magazine’s “Top 50 Albums of 2013.” The band also played Festival Supreme with Heidecker and Wood, and were joined onstage by Jack Black, John C Reilly, and Valentine.

Heavily influenced by the synth driven 80s and 90s, their upbeat songs compel you to dance and the multi-instrumentalist band members switch duties throughout shows. The band released a self titled full-length album to a packed house at Whisky A-Go-Go in Hollywood. “I Don’t Dance” enjoyed time on the TOP 5 of KROQ’s Local’s Only show with Kat Corbett for two months, hitting the number one spot four times. With rave reviews for both of their first two videos off the new album, City City is ready to take the world by storm.

Band Members