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Civil Youth’s Mike Kepko Opens Up About Mental Health


Civil Youth is one of our favorite bands here at Cliché. With their powerful sound and even more powerful lyrics, we know that their music connects with many and their lyrics bring light to what it’s like to struggle with the weight of mental health. We asked lead singer of Civil Youth, Mike Kepko, about his Mental Health walk and what it’s been like for him. He vulnerably opened up with his “I Am Here.” Check it out below:


For whatever reason, I always see two drastic “groups” when it comes to mental health. Those who flaunt about it, thinking it’s a cool/trending thing to have, or those who don’t say a word about what they’re going through. I don’t know when it became cool not being able to breathe or feeling like you have nothing left to the point of ending your life, so this is for the introverted people who don’t wear their feelings on their arms.

For someone who has gone through depression, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, and even sleep paralysis, I’ve tried everything to cope. For each person, it’s going to be different, and in my opinion, only time and self-growth will help you realize how to overcome these things. That’s not to discourage anyone who’s going through this or worse things, but rather a light at the end of the tunnel. Greatness and happiness are on the other side of fear.

I remember while I was writing Who Rescued Who, I found things out about myself that I never knew I had. It put me into a huge depression. I would have panic attacks every night around the same time, I couldn’t sleep, and it made me scared to leave my house just because I didn’t want to have a situation outside. I tried everything from music and sound therapy to aromatherapy to eventually going to see a shrink. All of this helped TONS. The self-inflicted therapies were easier to do since it was just me, but I had such a hard time admitting I had a problem and seeking professional help. I thought it made me weaker or “crazy.” Crazy is just a term to write off the issue and to put it aside. It’s a made-up word, just like snitlzelfritz. It doesn’t matter; just go seek help. It’s their job. Over the matter of time, I learned new ways to deal and to keep myself occupied. I found more than ever how important music was to me, which set me on the path of self-righteousness.

I think what I’m trying to say is: just find what you’re meant to do and do it. IT IS OKAY TO NEED HELP. IT’S OKAY TO SAY YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. Look at me; I did and I’m doing more than fine now. In my coming to, I found there are 3 stages in overcoming fear:

– Arrogance (corresponding to the definition of lacking knowledge)
– Being just (knowing the bare minimum and fabricating scenarios)
– Knowledge (understanding the nooks and crannies of all things which put you on the other side of fear)

Once you’re on the other side, it’s pure bliss. You have control and you understand who you are as a person. I believe you can get there. Try the things I did. Let me know. All mental health articles are ways to cope, which I even mentioned some ways that helped me, but what people don’t get is the support. The point of writing this blog to you is MY support in your life. I AM here.


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Civil Youth’s Mike Kepko Opens Up About Mental Health: Photographed by Imani Givertz

How Civil Youth Plan On Taking Over 2017


I love surprises and the feeling of pure joy that dances in the pit of your stomach when you’re being pleasantly surprised, and let me tell you, I was amazed after discovering the Philly trio that is Civil Youth. From their offstage brotherhood to their onstage unity, together they are, without a doubt, going to be some of the biggest rising stars of 2017.

With their energy on stage and soul-driven and captivating lyrics, Civil Youth is about to shake up this next year, and once you hear them, you won’t want to miss out on anything that they are doing. We caught up with the Civil Youth guys at their show in Orlando, FL on their Behind The Echoes Tour and got to know them a little better.
Cliché: Tell us about yourselves. Who are the artists behind Civil Youth?
Michael Kepko: Civil Youth is Michael Kepko (vocals), Daniel Chapman (guitar), and Evan Seeberger (drums).
How did you form your band?
Civil Youth formed in Boston, Massachusetts by myself and then I brought the music and idea back down to Philly when it didn’t pan out up there. I had known Dan since high school, and Evan had produced the second album. We all knew what this band was about. We all understood what we were trying to do and didn’t want another option in life other than music.
How would you describe your sound to people that have yet to hear your music?
We can be described as Alternative. We grab so much from so many genres, I think that sums it up in a vague manner.
How has your sound developed since you started?
In the beginning, the music was undeveloped. Now, we are a lot heavier, and also more defined with the genres we strive towards.
Your live set is pretty epic. What is the thought process behind how you create such an experience for fans?
People have told us we have an energetic set, which is great to hear because when we play live, it’s our way of releasing stress. It lets us be the people we are comfortable being, so when we get up, we just give it all we have. I think people can relate to the honesty behind what we do, which is what we want.
You guys have been worked on your new album this past year. What was the writing process like for you guys?
The writing process for this newest album was different than what it always has been. This time, Evan wrote a lot of the music with me, and we had a lot of defined writing moments as opposed to sporadic thought.
Do you all play a part in writing the lyrics, or does each member have his own specific role?
I write all the lyrics and music except with the newest album, where Evan wrote half the music.
What should we be most excited about when it comes to your new album?
I think the best part of this album is that it truly is the sound of Civil Youth. It’s unique yet so catchy.
In 2017, what are some goals you have set individually and collectively as a band?
Our personal lives are really this band, so the goals for the band are getting onto a booking agent’s roster and touring with some big bands.
Where would you like to tour this upcoming year?
The UK, hands down.

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How Civil Youth Plan On Taking Over 2017: Photographed by Imani Givertz