If you’re planning on sailing on VH1’s Best Cruise Ever in April, you’ll be hearing the sounds of Cape Town, South Africa-based band Civil Twilight (http://www.civiltwilightband.com/).
You might also recognize the name if you were at the Pearle Vision stage on July 15 during Lansing’s Common Ground Music Festival this past summer. They recently ended their tour with the Neon Trees, who recently landed the #1 alternative song, “Animal.” It’s an incredible song!
And if you’ll be at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit on Monday October 25th, you’ll see them open for Anberlin! Definitely get there in time to see them. Tickets are only $26.50, get them at Live Nation! Show starts at 6pm.
Check out the attached video of Civil Twilight’s “Letters From the Sky.” Great song!
I had the opportunity to interview Richard Wouters, Civil Twilight’s drummer, and he provided some fantastic answers to my questions.
How/when was the band formed?
“We all went to high school together in Cape Town, South Africa. We started playing our various instruments at the same time and decided to start a band together. It took us a while to learn to play but eventually we wrote some songs and people seemed to like them so I guess we just kept going and haven’t stopped yet!”
Where did the name “Civil Twilight” come from?
“The brightest stars appear during the civil twilight, as well as planets, such as Venus, which is known as the ‘morning star’ and/or ‘evening star’. During this period there is enough light from the sun that artificial sources of light may not be needed to carry on outdoor activities. This concept is sometimes enshrined in laws, for example, when drivers of automobiles must turn on their headlights, when pilots may exercise the rights to fly aircraft, or if the crime of burglary is to be treated as nighttime burglary, which carries stiffer penalties in some jurisdictions.”
We read this definition and thought it would make a cool band name.
Who holds the most responsibility for writing the songs? What inspires this person?
We write a lot of the songs together but Steven writes all the lyrics and melodies, so he holds the most responsibility. We are inspired by many things. Other music, beauty, art, nature. You never quite know what will inspire. It’s that moment when reality suddenly comes into focus, or takes on a different hue, and something wakes up inside of you. Those are great moments. The best is when we’re just jamming or messing about on our instruments and that moment happens where something magical takes place. Those are the musical moments you live for and try your best to capture.
What was your favorite thing about your tour with the Neon Trees?
That was a fun tour. Getting to know those guys was great. They are great people and I have a lot of respect for them as performers as well. I loved watching them perform every night. They don’t mess about. It’s all or nothing on stage.
Did you like coming to Common Ground Music Fest in Lansing?
Yeah, we loved it! We had a great time. People looked after us really well and we felt very welcomed.
This is one of my favorite things to learn about bands: what kind of music do the band members listen to when not performing?
Right now I have Arcade Fire’s new record on repeat. I think it’s amazing. I’ve also been listening to some Neil Young and Jeff Buckley. Elbow is a favorite of ours and we’ve been listening to some old Tricky and Massive Attack. Also Grizzly Bear’s last record was great.
What’s your favorite thing about being on the road? Do you ever get good sleep while on tour?
My favorite thing is performing and making new friends. We’ve always become good friends with the bands we tour with which is really cool. As for sleep, it definitely is difficult to get enough good rest on tour. It definitely takes its toll on the body. But we try our best to keep healthy.
Do you have a favorite song to play?
It changes all the time but right now I’m enjoying On The Surface and Anybody Out There. Letters from The Sky is always fun to play too.
Where do you see the band going in the future?
Hopefully we keep making music that inspires and excites us and other people. That would be our goal I think. As long as we can keep building and growing creatively, as artists and a band, and people keep coming out to watch us play, we’re pretty happy!
Civil Twilight has one of the most unique and refreshing sounds I’ve heard in a while. Lead singer Steven McKellar plays the bass and the keyboard, while singing beautiful high falsetto notes. I saw Steven’s brother Andrew play his guitar with a bow at Common Ground. Their lyrics are beautiful.
They’re building a fan base around the world; see all their fans and their comments on the band’s facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/CivilTwilight?v=info
Follow Civil Twilight on twitter: @civil_twilight_