Civil Twilight is a three-piece rock band from Cape Town, South Africa. Relocating to Los Angeles in August, 2005, brothers Steve (singer/bass/piano) and Andrew McKellar (guitar), and Richard Wouters (drums) established a significant following on the west coast. The band’s notoriety has grown organically sharing the stage with acts that have included Evanescence, The Bravery, Amos Lee, The Fratellis and Los Lobos, among others. The trio recently relocated to Nashville, and has begun touring extensively east of the Mississippi, building a legend as they have in South Africa and Southern California.
Civil Twilight released their self-titled debut album on April 6, 2010 on Wind-up Records. In early 2009, Wind-up released the album digitally with 11 tracks. The band recorded an additional three songs for the album to hit stores this spring. The 14-track album includes their hit single “Soldier” and the iTunes Single of the Week “Letters from the Sky,” which was added to the soundtrack for the 2011 movie ” I am Number Four.”
Civil Twilight’s immersive repertoire is becoming a favorite among music licensing executives and television producers. Their track “Human” appeared on the post-Super Bowl special episode of House on Fox and on CBS’ Without a Trace. Additionally, “Letters From The Sky” was featured as the audio-bed for the season finale promo of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on FOX. Their songs have also been placed on One Tree Hill, Harper’s Island and across a variety of VH1/MTV shows including Celebrity Rehab.
“There are so many levels to this band and so many bits of their brilliance that draw you into each song individually and don’t let go.”
– Hybrid Magazine
I recently got the privilege to have an interview with band member Richard Wouters:
What is the origin and the significance of your band name Civil Twilight?
We have always been fascinated with flying and aviation imagery. When we were looking for a band name we decided to look through some aviation terminology and we came across the term Civil Twilight. I guess we just liked the sound of it and the imagery attached to it. The idea of being suspended between night and day, not quite dark and not quite light. It happens at dawn and dusk, when the sun is just below the horizon. The beginning of day, or the beginning of night.
What inspired you all to form the band and make music together/ who are your major music influences?
We started playing together when we were kids back in Cape Town. We weren’t really a band back then but we all knew each other when we started and began writing songs together at an early age. Back then our inspiration was mostly British and American rock bands like Oasis, Radiohead, The Verve, Doves, Muse, The Strokes, Nirvana,The White Stripes and some pop and R&B like Michael Jackson and Lauryn Hill, even some old school jazz. More recently our tastes have broadened to include a more American folk, hip hop, R&B and electronica.
What has been your favorite show/or favorite venue Civil Twilight has performed at?
I really like performing at the 9:30 club in DC and the TLA in Philadelphia. We always have good shows at those places. Also, the Grand Ballroom and the Fillmore in NYC are great ones.
Describe the writing process for your music/ do you write your own songs?
Yes, we write our own songs. Steve, our singer, writes some of them on his own and some are more collaborative, where we’ll all get together in a room and play off each other and throw ideas around.
How has your music evolved since you first started playing together?
Hopefully it’s matured and the lyrics have got better I think. We’re about to make a second album so we shall see. I think the songs will be shorter than on the first album!
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
It seems like we’ve had many. Coming to America was a big one. I think staying together is always a challenge for any band, even though we get along pretty well, it’s still challenging working so closely with other people and having to learn to respect everyone’s opinions and ideas even when they differ from your own.
What is your ultimate direction for the band/ do you have any goals?
Our main goal has always been to make the best music we can and do everything to the best of our ability. We got into this for the love of creating and playing music and we strive to keep that passion alive and bring it to every show. In terms of musical direction, we don’t really have any set ideas… Just keep ourselves excited about what we are creating and believe in what we are saying and doing.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Make sure you really love playing music. Find others who are equally as passionate and focus on making music that excites you. Make the music that you want to hear, not what you think other people want to hear.
Anything you would like to say to your fans?
We think we have amazing fans, we really do. We just finished our first headlining tour of the US and were overwhelmed by the response and appreciation of our fans. So, thank you.
Letters from the Sky (Official Video)