Best known as lead singer of emo/post-hardcore group Citizen, Mat Kerekes went on to make pop-minded indie rock with his band the Flats and to release more intimate material as a soloist. After Citizen landed on the Billboard 200 with their debut, 2013's Youth, the Flats and solo Kerekes made their recording debuts in 2014. Moving on from the spare, acoustic character of the 2015 collection 2011-2014, Kerekes' later solo albums, including the brighter Ruby from 2019, featured full band arrangements.
After playing drums in the metal band the Sound of Glory, Mat Kerekes formed Citizen in 2009 with other musicians in the Southeast Michigan-Northwest Ohio area, including Nick and Eric Hamm, lead guitarist and bassist of his previous band. Merging emo pop, post-hardcore, and heavy-knit indie rock, they played their first show in Toledo, Ohio, in January 2010, and issued their first EP, Young States, in 2011. That year, they were also part of the lineup at Hartland, Michigan's Bled Fest. The group signed with Run for Cover Records in early 2012 and released their first long-player, Youth, in June 2013. The album cracked the Billboard 200 while they were on the road with that year's Vans Warped Tour.
In mid-2014, Kerekes self-released an acoustic solo EP (Mat Kerekes), following it later in the year with his debut as leader of the Flats, the full-length Liberation & the House in Blue. Making a version of indie rock with warm pop elements and a self-described "Midwestern alternative feel," it was a notable change of pace from Citizen. After heading back to the studio with Youth producer Will Yip, Citizen returned in June 2015 with the album Everybody Is Going to Heaven. It charted a bit higher than their debut, reaching number 132 on the Billboard 200. In August of that year, Kerekes released a 25-song collection of stripped-down, melodic solo material under the title 2011-2014. He followed up the set with 2016's more expansive Luna & the Wild Blue Everything.
With Kerekes producing, the Flats issued the EP Auburn in the Everlast in January 2017. Working again with Yip, Citizen released their third album, As You Please, in October of that year. It featured the lineup of Kerekes, the Hamms, rhythm guitarist Ryland Oehlers, and drummer Jake Duhaime. Back with the Flats, the full-length Nobody People in August followed in 2018. Still recording as a soloist, he issued the Mat Kerekes album Ruby in April 2019 via Yip's Elektra imprint Black Cement Records, and on Parlophone in the U.K. ~ Marcy Donelson