Hey Civil Twilight! Thanks so much for meeting with us. To begin, fill everyone in on who Civil Twilight is in 2015.
You’re welcome! Thanks for having us. Civil Twilight is: Andrew McKellar on guitar, Steven McKellar on lead vocals, bass and piano, Richard Wouters on drums, and Kevin Dailey on Guitar and keyboards.
To get started, let’s go rapid fire to get the backstory:
Civil Twilight isn’t your typical band; world travelings with some incredible roots. Talk to us a bit about your transition from Cape Town. How do you find yourselves bringing South African culture to LA?
Well, we grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and started out playing together there when we were kids. We were very influenced by both the local music in Cape Town and music that we were hearing on the radio from the UK and America. Shortly after we finished high school we decided to make a move to LA and see what we could learn, and how we would do, in the biggest and most fabled music country in the world – The USA. Being in America provided us with an incredible opportunity to grow and to make music for a living. It’s not like that everywhere. The infrastructure, history and amount of music-loving people in the US really makes it a unique and special place and provides incredible opportunities to artists.
Wherever we go, we carry who we are with us … Africa gets in your blood and your bones and you can’t deny it.
Wherever we go, we carry who we are with us. We can’t hide that, so our South African roots come across in our music, especially I think on this new record. We kind of feel like we’re spread out across two continents, Africa and America. Africa gets in your blood and your bones and you can’t deny it. But America has influenced us greatly too, especially through our dear friend Kevin, who we met in Nashville, TN, and who joined us about two years ago as an official member of our band. We are a band of immigrants and I think we are more comfortable with that idea than we ever have been before. Hence, I suppose, the album title, ‘Story Of An Immigrant’.
On that note, congrats on Story of an Immigrant, we’re loving the title track!! Tell us the story behind the album.
Thank you! With this new music we really wanted to try and take everything that makes us unique, and distill it down to it’s essential and most powerful ingredients. The music that started coming out when we committed to this process was really exciting to us. We all started discovering a new passion and unearthed something that had been lying dormant beneath the surface for some time.We gave each other permission to speak and play freely, on the instruments we each loved the most, and the ones that really defined us early on as musicians. We returned to our first loves in a way – not just the instruments themselves, but the passion with which we play them. This album is a bold statement and embracing of who we are as a band – where we’ve come from and where we are right now. Our story doesn’t fit into any typical box – in fact I’ve never heard one quite like it – but our story is the only one we have, and the only one we can honestly tell.
What else can we expect on the album? Can we expect the full tracklist at SXSW?
I think it’s our strongest record from a songwriting standpoint, and also our most unified and diverse record at the same time. It’s unified in spirit, but quite diverse in influence because of the cross-cultural element. We won’t be playing all the full tracklist at SXSW, but we will be performing some songs from the new album.
What does SXSW mean to you as artists? How do you bring your global influence to Stateside stages?
Well, SXSW is one of those events that’s always amazing to be a part of because of the history and the quality of music that is present there. The US is so influential in the world of music that everyone grows up watching and hearing about what’s happening in America, so we were familiar with a lot of US bands and festivals before coming over here. We try to just be true to ourselves and where we come from and hopefully people appreciate that and get into what we do, but we are very honored to be a part of what is happening at SXSW and in America in general in music right now.
What does it mean to you to #GoLouderLonger?
Well, personally, I think protecting ones hearing is really important if one wants to continue to enjoy music. I think #GoLouderLonger simply means the ability to listen to more live music and not go deaf!
Give us a preview of what you have coming up? When can we expect the album and tour dates to follow?
The new album is out on June 2nd. We obviously just released the title-track, Story Of An Immigrant, and we will release a few more songs before the actual album comes out. We also have some tour dates on the books right now. We play in Los Angeles on April 7th, for example. Then we’ll gear up for more extensive touring after the album comes out.
Thanks so much for sharing some time with us! Any last words?
Thanks for talking with us! We’re looking forward to playing for everyone at SXSW. #GoLouderLonger!
Check out Civil Twilight on Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud, and grab their brand new title track “Story Of An Immigrant on iTunes here!