Interview with Civil Villains
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I think we all took influences from our parents which meant we all grew up listening to different styles of music which has helped us develop our sound. If we weren’t doing music we would have probably opened a bar and drunk all the profits.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Being parents to human babies or cats, which lends itself to many emotions which inspires us to write!
How long has your band been around?
We started playing together in London around 2015, we’d been friends since school but not made music together as a three until our mid twenties. We took a little while to work out exactly what our sound was, but once we found our groove we’ve all just really loved creating music together
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We all used to live in London but have since moved away. London spoils music lovers with so many gigs happening every night and this pushed us to improve our live show after watching so many incredible bands.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
As a break from the usual early-twenties pattern of nights in someone's flat paying Fifa and drinking Red Stripe, we used to have these occasional social events called Gents Night, where we’d put on suits and start the night with poker and a cheese board, pretending we were considerably fancier than we actually are. As the wine and whisky flowed, the ratio of civility to debauchery would tip in favour of the latter. We wanted a name that would reflect the two sides of these evenings, as they were important social moments to us. Plus, all the Ls, Is and Vs are just cool looking!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Playing to a packed record store in Vancouver (BC) was a real highlight. We did a short, sharp set with the crowd inches away from our faces - very intense and fun. Playing with bands like Listener and Poly-Math were memorable for us because we’re such big fans.
What is your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We have fond memories of playing The Borderline (RIP) in London, Boston Music Room is great too, but sometimes it’s the record stores, converted garages and non-typical spaces that are the most fun. We’d love to play Brudenell Social Club in Leeds given the chance!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Van Morrison, Cypress Hill, Civil Villains. And only because it would confuse the hell out of people. What a weird crowd.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
You don’t need to impress anyone. Just have fun.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
As above, but also practice more.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Probably ‘Pale Horse’, we’ve changed a lot since writing it but it was the first thing we wrote together and it sort of set us on this amazing journey we’ve got to share in together.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
I think anything off of our forthcoming debut, as they are still new and fresh and a lot of fun to play. We have too many requests to determine which song gets requested the most.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Generally James or Mark will bring something to the table as a jumping off point and we go from there. I think just the enjoyment of music inspires us, it’s a lot of fun.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Our song themes cover a wide range, some are more political and some really personally and emotionally charged. But we try to steer away from overly literal lyrics to create more interesting responses to our views on life and so the listener can find their own meaning in them too.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Not really, we kind of have a rule that all suggestions, no matter how controversial, must be discussed.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We are mainly focused on getting our debut album ‘Motion Sick’ out on May 26th. Keep in touch at - https://www.facebook.com/civilvillainsband