Philadelphia’s rising indie alternative/rock band Civil Youth had been busy in preparation for their album, Conversations which came out this May, opening for bands like Twenty One Pilots, AWOLNATION, Phantogram, Capital Cities and more, all while amazing fans with their energetic live performance and leaving them highly anxious for new music. Following the release of the first track off of Conversations, “Belief,” Civil Youth gave their fans a taste of their genre-bending diversity by partnering with Myspace.com and unveiling their brand new music video for “Dark Debts.” A dark blend of rock, hip-hop, and pop, the track touches on the emotions we face when fighting our inner demons, as evidenced by the song’s dreamlike video production. Lead singer and keyboardist Michael Kepko took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our silly questions.
How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
We all got into music really young, essentially having our dads showing us Rush, Genesis, and Yes at a young age. From there we all just explore new genres ranging from jazz to pop to death metal. Good music is good music.
How did you become a singer or guitarist and are you proficient in any other instruments ?
Dan got into playing the guitar because his dad showing him how to play. Evan and I (Mike), got into playing our instruments because we wanted to play music but we had no one to play drums and bass so we were sorta forced into playing that. From there we just explored more instruments and different sounds.
What was the local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
We all have bands we look up to like Biffy Clyro and 30 Seconds to Mars so we try to incorporate their sounds into what we do, but we love being unique and new. The local scene back in Philly is sick just because theres so many places to play and so many bands to go watch and play with.
Pros and cons of social media, youtube and are you overwhelmed by the constant need to update them all?
Pros of a digital world are you’re able to reach any one any where, but the con is that you need to filter it in a way since everyone is out there doing the same thing. How are we different from the next band?
How would you best describe your sound?
More than ever our sounds is a culmination of Pop, Hip Hop and Post-Hardcore
DIY forever or signing with a label at first opportunity?
Labels can propel you and hold you back so you just need to be careful with the deal you’re signing to.
What separates Civil Youth from the rest of the bands in your scene?
Just being so unique and combing genres you wouldn’t expect to hear together.
Is it true what they say about Pennsylvania?
What do they say…
Is commercial rock radio dead?
No, more than ever people are experimenting and that’s sick
Favorite songs on the new album Conversations and why?
Each song is our favorite for a different reason so we cant really answer that question
Out of all your songs which one touches you the most when you perform it?
(Mike) Just Set Fire is most personal for me just because it was a true story about my mental health
Are there any political or social issues hidden in the songs from Conversations ?
What was the process of putting the songs in order.
Evan picked them based off of keys and just flow of the songs. Nothing too special
What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?
We have a few like JHS, Akin, Moniker, but Marshal would always be sick or Shure.
Are their bonus tracks recorded for the Japanese market?
There will be bonus tracks for everyone for sure
Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate.
Definitely Biffy Clyro, 30 Seconds to Mars and Paramore.
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
NSYNC, Aaron Carter and ABBA