INTERVIEW: Canadian Alt-Rock Group CIVILIANA

Pic by Lindsay Elliott

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey! For this interview,  you’ll be getting the wonderful and unique perspective of myself, Calen Trentini – lead vocalist and drummer of the band! Thanks for having me.

We’ve been doing very well! We just recently dropped “Carry a Light”, our first of 3 singles in 2019 and have been enjoying the warm reception thus far!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Carry A Light”?

Sure! It’s the first of 3 singles that we recorded at Echoplant Recording Studios with our producers, Matt Di Pomponio and Ryan Worsley.

It’s a song that deals with the thematic nature of heartbreak but more specifically the inability to look away from the past as if your eyes were transfixed to a rear view mirror.

The song marks the beginning of a new era for our band and is a big step in our own song writing journey and development. It’s also the first song that includes our newest member Daniel Ponich.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

A lot of my lyrical songwriting and particularly within “Carry a Light” comes from my experience of relationships. I feel that the lyrics are relatable for anyone who has experienced the slump that follows a messy breakup or feels stuck in the past and unable to move on.

Our 3 new singles follow a journey of someone who loses everything and can’t move forward. After moving into an intense reflection/rebuilding process, they have to re-enter the vulnerable and chaotic world of dating and spontaneous nights out.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Working with Radio Dial Films was such a pleasure. From the moment we first met with our director Kaio Kathriner over a cup of coffee, we felt confident that he understood the vision we had for this song and could help translate that into an authentic music video.

We filmed in multiple locations around downtown Vancouver and used a variety of camera/film types that ranged from a high end ALEXA to a handheld VHS Video Camera and even a 16mm Video Camera that look like it was straight out of a World War II documentary.

We also brought on the beautiful Kendall Wooding from the band Johnny Sunshine to play the part of the female lead in the video. This helped to convey some of the thematic overtones that are heard in the lyrics.

How was the recording and writing process?

I remember our guitarist Adam Wilson calling me and saying he had a really exciting new song idea to show me. He had recently been experimenting and incorporating a lot more synthesizers (particularly using Ableton Push) into our writing and rehearsing sessions, so I assumed that this new song would contain large elements of electronic influence. Adam showed me the original demo of what would later become  “Carry a Light” (it was called something much different back then) and I instantly felt a connection with the music.

We must have spent the entire day experimenting with different vocal melodies and by the evening, we had a full song of verse and chorus melodies as well as the chorus hook (“Tell me about it, tell me about it”) figured out.

From there, our bandmates Spencer Daley and Daniel Ponich added their own colour to the song through multiple rehearsal and writing sessions. Moving forward, we knew we needed to find a producer who could do this song justice and that brought us to Ryan Worsley and Matt Di Pomponio.

What was it like to work with Matt Di Pomponio and Ryan Worsley? How did those relationships develop?

We reached out to Ryan Worsley with a demo of “Carry a Light” and he was instantly interested. He invited the band out to his studio and that’s where we first met him along with Matt Di Pomponio.

It was an awesome experience to work with people as talented, credible and knowledgeable as Ryan and Matt. Matt was a brilliant engineer who really pushed us as songwriters and got the best possible performances out of us. Working with Ryan during the mixing process was like a dream come true.e is a truly remarkable talent and we couldn’t have been happier with the final product.

How much did they get to influence the song?

I believe that the reason Matt and Ryan are so highly regarded is because of their attention to detail. While they didn’t drastically change “Carry a Light”, they had just the right amount of influence and suggestions to make it go from a great song into something really special.

What role does Vancouver play in your music?

Vancouver is not only our home and the city in which we perform the most in, but it has also shaped our sound.

I really believe the modern look and feel of the city is something I think about when we create our music. I’m specifically referring to the forward-moving, ever-evolving, and tasteful aspects and aesthetics of the city and its people. The interesting part for me is that under the surface of the glamour and beauty of Vancouver, there is also a lot of adversity and unease to be seen and felt. We try to capture both sides of the coin in our sound.

What made you guys want to seek for a new direction?

Adam and Spencer are always on the hunt for making something that sounds new and excites them in the best way possible. They are constantly challenging themselves to make something fresh.

The introduction of more synthesizers as well as Ableton into our sound meant we had a whole new toolkit to use and learn. We stayed true to our rock foundations while incorporating these new instruments and sounds into our style.

Was it easy to head into this new artistic vision?

It didn’t start out easy. When I listen to some of those early demos during that transition phase just after we released our first EP Out The Window, it was clear that we were still trying to make sense of this new sound and learn how to stay true to what we had grown up creating.

The introduction of Daniel into the band meant we could be more ambitious in the scope of our sound and explore possibilities that weren’t available when we were just a three-piece. This was the catalyst to move us into our group’s new era.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

We currently have 2 unreleased singles that will be dropping before summer’s end. We are just in the process of finishing up a music video and in the ideation/planning phase for the last one. Outside of this we have been working on a lot of new material and figuring out as a band what direction we want to head. It’s a really exciting time because anything and everything is possible.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

The next single titled ‘Void’ will be released in June. For people who have become familiar with us through “Carry a Light”, it will offer a different side of us while still showing the growth and depth in our sound. The last single is “Melt”.’ It is highly experimental and incorporates an electronic groove within an alt-rock foundation. It will be released in August.

Any plans to hit the road?

The plan is to support these three singles with a Western Canada tour throughout the summer. Dates are still tentative but we plan to hit Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops in our home province of British Columbia as well as return to our hometown of Kelowna for the first time as CIVILIANA. Plans to hit more provinces and the East Coast of Canada are also in the works for 2020.

What else is happening next in CIVILIANA’s world?

The plan is too keep the momentum going, continue to write songs that will engage and excite people, share our music with the world and rock on!

You can be the first to see and hear what’s next by following us on our socials or visiting our website!






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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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