Civil Villains own brand of forward-thinking and abrasive alt-rock combines elements of math-rock, art punk and post-hardcore to bolster fitful riffs and complex rhythmic arrangements to crushing effect.
The trio already have a host of UK live credits to their name—including dates with Listener, Poly-Math, Wild Throne, Bellevue Days, Kid Kapichi, and many others—but the real evidence of their impressive self-starting chutzpah comes from a pair of extensive North American DIY tours booked by the band themselves.
Toby Warren, the bands drummer, talks of his love of American hard core punk band, Every Time I Die.
“Hey there girls, I’m a c*nt.”
Here lies the first lyric I really tuned into from Keith Buckley, front man to Every Time I Die. As a young man, this lyric certainly caught my attention. It seemed the singer was picking up the mantle laid down by Frank Carter in Gallows’ Orchestra of Wolves: “I like to feed on broken hearts, There ain’t no taste like lovers falling apart.” But to be so direct, so up front about this primal sexual urge he felt, it seemed to me that ETID were the kind of post-hardcore, post-irony band that was right up my street.
The first time I saw them live was in fact supporting Gallows at Oxford Zodiac in 2010, and at the time I had never seen anything like their live show, or like the dedicated zeal of their die hard fans. They were opening for the hottest band in UK punk that night, and yet everyone seemed to be there for them. I immediately threw myself into their back catalogue, and have eagerly awaited every release ever since, each bringing with them as they have a slightly nuanced take on their own sound.
Every Time I Die have a definite core, a definite anchor around which they sculpt their sound. Some might argue its the cowbell, but a less flippant response would be that their core tenet is the weave of their savage, blasting riffs with the amazing vocal range (both in scale and texture) that Keith Buckley can achieve. His lyrics are also phenomenal, shedding light and opening truth on any subject he turns his attention to.
I quit my job and started a new career a few years ago, and often found I had his lyric ‘we deserve to be moved by more than force alone’ in my head, from Goddamn Kids These Days, a bonus track on New Junk Aesthetic. This seemed a fitting epithet to my knife-edge employment position, and rang true enough that I nearly got it tattooed while on tour in Toronto with Civil Villains. We were all going to get one, but at the last moment we got scared and went to eat vegan salad bowls instead. Because that’s how rock and roll we are.
Every Time I Die are still – despite my virgin skin where their lyrics are not inked – a huge musical influence on me, and if we can be just half as true to our own musical passions as they are, then I think we can hold our heads high.
Many thanks to Civil Villains and Toby for taking the time to write about Every Time I Die. To read more from other artists on the artists they love, you can click here.