If you like abrasive alt-rock that also dares to venture out of its comfort zone, UK art-punk band Civil Villains might be the band for you. Having just released their debut EP Snake Oil in November, the band have already made waves throughout the scene by playing shows with Bellevue Days, Poly-Math, and even Listener. While it can be hard to pin down their sound musically, rest assured that they love to RIFF.
We’re also stoked to be premiering the band’s new video for “Gargoyles” from the debut EP. Give it a watch below and get to know the rising band with a few Q&A questions, too.
Take us through the process of creating and filming the video for “Gargoyles”.
With the video for Gargoyles, we spent a lot of time going through various ideas we never thought were quite right: the name implied some religious imagery but we thought this was too obvious; we considered some odd edit colour-warp effects but didn’t think this enough to engage for a full music video; and so on. In the end, we decided we should try and do something we hadn’t done before in a music video: be actively funny – at least, what we consider funny! I had a green screen knocking around, so we just decided to really embrace the shoddy aesthetic, and create a universe where we’re on every TV channel, and as tends to happen with our videos, everything descends into mayhem and madness.
Having just released your debut EP a few months ago, do you feel it met your expectations? Would you have changed anything on the EP?
We’re beyond proud of the Snake Oil EP. It was long time in the making, with a pause thrown in while our singer moved to Vancouver for a bit, so it was great to finally nail these tracks down and record them. Wayne Adams at BearBitesHorse studio in London was great for creating a really raw, energetic live sound on the record – there are minimal overdubs, and we didn’t do too many takes on anything to keep it raw and natural. This approach worked perfectly for this EP, but we’re excited to see what kind of recording style the next batch of songs we write will suit – time will tell on that.
Please describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you before.
This is always a tough one! We get compared to late 90s/early 00s bands quite a lot – we’ve variously been called math-rock, art-punk, and post-hardcore. We think we kind of straddle all of these, with flavours akin to At The Drive In, mcclusky, Drive Like Jehu, even some comparisons to more off-kilter Nirvana. Basically, it’s noisy and fun and fast and raucous and a bit odd.