Not everyone can say they have spent a day with one of their favorite bands, which is why we were so excited to be able to do a day-in-the-life with Citrine. Citrine is a Baltimore-based band featuring Kelci Smith, Galen Smith, and Beau Cole. Citrine’s sound is most closely aligned with dream pop, an ethereal sounding alternative rock/pop. They joined us last year for Sunday at the Mill, and with their new EP April set to release in a couple weeks, we were super stoked to spend some time with them and see what they have been up to since.
We started our day around 1pm at B. Doughnut and met up with the band. The trio led us on a walking tour of Hampden, starting with Cafe Cito for cold brew (lots of cold brew) and Harmony Bakery for vegan and gluten free treats to keep the hangry away.
Citrine was scheduled to meet up with Monica Immel, a friend and local artist, to discuss collaboration on a project they have been formulating. We joined their meeting and popped over to Rocket to Venus where we enjoyed pitchers of mimosa and french fries while business was discussed. The members of Citrine hope to release a digital copy of their EP ‘April’, set to drop April 22nd (maybe along with some other treats, like videos and pictures) on USB drives. They wanted to meet with Monica to discuss the logistics of laser printing and how it could fit into the vision they had for producing digital material for their EP. “I really like the idea of this being something that we do regularly and change it up between releases,” said Galen. “We could have a lot of fun with it”.
The idea of a digital way to disseminate their work is fitting for the forward thinking and realistic minds of Citrine and getting the help of friends is in line with their DIY nature. The band enlisted Monica, who has a great deal of knowledge around laser cutting and printing (most notably with her work on the Baltimore Bench), to see if laser printing would be a sustainable and affordable way of mass engraving the thumb drives with their logo or album title. Sustainability is a huge priority for the members of Citrine, who often work on limited time with limited resources. “It’s a lot cheaper than getting CDs pressed. Also who buys…? Nobody buys CDs anymore. And vinyl is so expensive,” said Kelci. The thumb drives make sense—both sustainable and affordable, they are able to cater to the way people consume music in this age while still providing their fan base with a keepsake.
After Rocket to Venus, we followed Citrine to Milk & Ice Vintage for vinyls, eclectic T-shirts, and decorative jars among the treasure trove of vintage other items owners Kate & Angie have carefully selected to fill the space. Kelci found a pretty sweet “World’s Greatest Grandpa” shirt we wished she’d purchased. Keeping with the theme of local retail, we walked the Avenue and made it to Hunting Ground, which sells of mixture of new and vintage clothing and accessories, as well as local handmade goods. At Hunting Ground, we all convinced Beau to purchase the coolest square framed glasses we had ever seen. Galen would later express the wish for two pairs so they could match (if anyone has any leads, please be in touch).
After our modest shopping spree we piled into Beau’s car (an inherited SUV) to head to the Baltimore Node. The Node, as it’s called, is a member-funded work space for makers, ‘hackers’, DIYers, crafters, etc. All the members have 24/7 hour access to the tools and resources available within the space, like the laser cutter and 3D printer. After a small snafu with the alarm code, they got to work making a test jig to create a more visual understanding of how the engraving process would work. One of the biggest concerns the group had was the ability to repeat the process in the event Citrine should sell out of the drives too quickly or want to do something similar at a later date. Beau said “I think really the hard work, the time consuming work, is gonna be getting prepped. Once it’s done, we got a way, it will all be repeatable.” With a game plan in motion, we wrapped up at the Node and made our way back to Hampden to check out the bands’ practice space, where April was recorded and the videos for it were filmed.
The space they used is a small room Beau rents in a large building off Falls road owned by Simpson Strong-Tie, which if you don’t happen to be in the bridge building industry, you may not be familiar with. The space is small but stuffed to the brim with recording equipment, as well as the token portrait of a kitty that all studios have – right? The adjacent staff cafeteria was converted into the space to shoot their videos, with some fancy lighting tricks and some behind the scenes “magic” directed and edited by Colorless.
Finally, we headed back up to the Ave for an interview over dinner at a local favorite, Golden West Cafe. Galen and Beau went “splitsies” on an omelette which, according to both of them, was absolutely delicious (Galen used the words “banging”, and Beau paused the interview to let us all know how good it was).
Hanging out with Citrine gave us a really nice insight into who they are as musicians and as people. We enjoyed going through some of their favorite spots in Hampden and we’re excited to share what we learned from our time with them—keep an eye out for the extended interview later this week.