Diet Cig Discuss Isolation, Identity, and Their Hot New TikTok Challenge 

Richmond, Virginia pop-punk duo Diet Cig are getting creative with their time in quarantine, finding new ways to engage their fans and keep them dancing. 

Photo: Emily Dubin

Diet Cig continue fuming with creativity during quarantine season, repurposing the energy from their disrupted album release into other outlets, including a brand new TikTok challenge that is already dancing its way into social feeds near you.

The Richmond, Virginia-based pop-punk duo, consisting of guitarist/vocalist Alex Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman, were anticipating a much bigger execution for the music video to accompany their latest single “Who Are You?,” complete with elaborate dance moves through a collaboration with choreographer Gara Lonning. But when the shoot got cancelled they decided to take their video to a platform they’ve recently developed a newfound obsession with.  

“We’ve been getting really into TikTok,” says Luciano. “It has a reputation of something that only teens are into but it’s so fun. When our music video got pushed, our choreographer Gara is also a TikTok enthusiast, so we were like, ‘Do you want to choreograph us a TikTok dance instead?’ We actually had a lot of fun with it.” 

In another recent self-produced TikTok skit you can see Luciano dressing up in homemade hazmat gear, using the lid from a stove pot for a face mask while bravely making her way out into the world with a plush penguin in her arms. 

During this uncertain time it can be hard to envision returning to normal life and what lies beyond. Hot on the heels of the release of their sophomore album, Do You Wonder About Me?, the duo are trying to remain positive.

“For us as a band, touring is a huge part of our identity,” Luciano says. “Everything that’s been disrupted has been shifted to the online realm. We’re so lucky to have an amazing community online to get us through that disruption.” 

And while the duo might not have the option of touring to complete the typical album release cycle at the moment, they’re staying busy, not just with plans around promoting it, but crafts they didn’t have time for before. Bowman is fixing his bike and Luciano recently learned punch needle rug hooking. 

Do You Wonder About Me? is spunky and earnest across its dynamic tracklist. They felt more inclined to be experimental as they spent less time on tour this past year. Luciano says the approach was that of, “let’s use whatever sounds cool and not necessarily limit ourselves to what we think we could pull off on a live show.”

The lyrics to “Broken Bones” are especially relevant during the present isolation. Luciano wrote the song one summer while recovering from an ACL tear. “It was definitely really intense,” she says. “Reckoning with my body being physically broken, but also the depression that came along with that. And reckoning with my vision of myself and what made me, me.” 

It’s a similar feeling, she describes, to being an artist right now without the means to reach fans and play music live. She says, “It makes us question who we are if we’re not playing live. We have to remind ourselves that we’re still the same people, the same artists and this one aspect doesn’t define all of who we are.” 

With a bassist and synth player added to the live mix, Diet Cig will embark on their next tour as a four-piece, kicking off in the UK ahead of North America, hopefully in October. 

In the meantime, Luciano and Bowman have TikTok and their online fans to keep them occupied while they patiently wait out the pandemic and do their part to flatten the curve. Music and movement can remind us of feeling liberated. With their undoubtedly fun and lively new album, Diet Cig are going with the groove. 

Do You Wonder About Me? is out May 1 via Frenchkiss Records. Check out our review here