An Interview With Philadelphia’s Alt-Rock Band, CIVIL YOUTH!
Posted On 16 Aug 2016
Philadelphia’s rising indie alternative/rock band Civil Youth have been making waves on the road this summer, playing a slew of shows across the East Coast and recently opening for Twenty One Pilots and AWOLNATION.
“Our fans have always been huge fans of Paramore which is why we wanted to give them a taste of their music, along with Biffy Clyro, whom most people don’t know. It’s also our attempt at giving ¥ou guys a taste of what our new record has been inspired by, set for release in May of 2017!” – Michael Kepko
CIVIL YOUTH is an indie alternative/rock band based out of Philadelphia, PA. Since their debut in March 2015, Civil Youth has toured nationally and is currently venturing on their 6th U.S. tour. After the release of their debut album, Disguised In Color, Civil Youth has garnered airplay on 134 FM radio stations, landed sync licensing with major networks including MTV, VH1, and E!, and received national press in Alternative Press Magazine. The band has since released their second full-length album,Who Rescued Who, as well as an acoustic album titled Ossein.
What started as an outlet for lead singer Michael Kepko to express his anxiety and depression while living in Boston, has evolved into a cultural movement backed by a community of thousands of supporters who identify with Civil Youth’s lyrics and music. Civil Youth inhabits each stage with light-up drum solos, crowd chanting, instrument swaps, and stage acrobatics. Between heavy guitar riffs, and poetic rapping, fans of all ages can find a way to connect with Civil Youth. Within a year, Civil Youth has surpassed the caliber of “local band,” making their name known across the US.
Learn more about Civil Youth in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are more then halfway through 2016, what are some words you would use to describe it? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for the band?
2016 has been absolutely insane with the opportunities presented and accomplished for us. We truly feel beyond humbled by all the support and it keeps us going. Opening for Twenty One Pilots definitely has to be a highlight as they influence this band, along with many others, so heavily.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? And specifically, how did Civil Youth come to be? Where did the name come from too?
We’re not sure if we always wanted to be musicians, but there wasn’t anything else that we thought about or loved as much as this. Some of the earliest memories were definitely playing in small bands together growing up, and having our paths cross when we were younger to form what this is now.
Civil Youth was started in Boston by Mike, where he wrote “Disguised in Color” (as a drummer) and ended up taking on the role of front man and keys. It wasn’t working too well with other musicians in that area so Mike came back down to Philly where he asked Dan and Evan to be a part of this. “I couldn’t see anyone else doing this with me. I wouldn’t want it.” – Mike
The name itself came from the “Civil Defense” organization in the 50’s that provided fallout shelters during the time of bomb scares and war. We wanted to represent that concept but in a more mental sort of aspect.
You’ve been busy this summer opening for bands like Twenty One Pilots and AWOLNATION. What’s that been like? What were some favorite venues and crowds?
Like we said before, it’s just so humbling and it pushes us to get more shows like that and become larger as a band, and as a family. That was easily one of the most fun shows we’ve played, however we always like playing in St. Louis at Pop’s, any venue in Orlando, and Texas is always some of the most fun shows ever.
How different do you think your August tour with The Evolution Tour will be?
The Evolution Tour is going to be the most fun yet because the venues are better, the bands we’re playing with are better, and Civil Youth is the biggest it’s been yet so seeing everyone is going to be the best time.
I’d love to more about how your mash up of Paramore’s song “Emergency” and Biffy Clyro’s “Saturday Superhouse” came together?
Well we always do these mash up covers with our photographer, Dave Lisowski, and with this specific song, it really represents a lot of the newer influences to our new record set for May 2017, and we thought it would be a cool foreshadowing of some of our newer sounding stuff.
How do you think your sound has grown as changed since your debut album, “Disguised in Color” to “Who Rescued Who”?
The difference between these 2 albums is maturity and cohesiveness. WRW has more of a sound we went for, as DIC was an album where Mike was figuring out what direction to take this band. Even with this newest record that’s unreleased, it’s the most complex, mature, cohesive, and heavy album yet. We think people are going to really connect with this one if they already haven’t.
Are you currently working on new music at all or has that been too hard while out on the road touring?
We have(: We’ve been writing a new album in between tours and we just finished writing it before the Evolution Tour begins… It’ll be released in May 2017.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire Civil Youth? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Some of our biggest influences and loves are definitely: Paramore, 30 Seconds to Mars, Biffy Clyro, Twenty One Pilots, PVRIS, and almost anything Post-Hardcore. There’s really too much from life we can gravitate towards to really narrow it down. We like to be open-minded. We would love to work with anyone from those bands.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
We really just want to let people escape to our music, and to create a sense of family that’s accessible despite how small or big we are. That’s what this is about.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Keep pushing for your dreams; no matter anyone says. We believe in YOU.