Tag Archives imani givertz

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

The Maine talks ‘Lovely Little Lonely’ Album and Tour


One of the best and well-crafted albums of 2017 so far dropped this April by one of our Cliché favorites, The Maine. Lovely Little Lonely, The Maine’s sixth full-length album, is infused with beautiful melodies and heart-stretching lyrics to follow. As if the album wasn’t good enough, the lovely five-piece band embarked on their headlining world tour this spring. We sat down with guitarist Jared Monaco to discuss the new record, the recording process, the Lovely Little Lonely Tour, and everything that makes it what it is.

Cliché: Can you elaborate on the writing process of Lovely Little Lonely? What was the inspiration behind your favorite lyrics on this record?
Jared Monaco: Over the years, our band has certainly gone through many changes, but one thing that remains the same is our process for writing songs. The only difference this time was the quality of our demos. We spent more time mapping everything out, and by the time we got to the studio, we had full skeletons for every single song. Usually we aren’t quite that prepared. I don’t write lyrics, so for me it’s hard to pick a specific line on the album. I really like the way “The Sound of Reverie” turned out.
What are some challenges you faced while making Lovely Little Lonely and what did you learn from them?
For this record, we rented a house in northern California, so we had to pack our entire studio into a box truck to move all the gear. The house was about three hours from the nearest music store, so we were really hoping everything arrived in one piece and turned on. Luckily, it was mostly fine, but the hard part was definitely turning a vacation house into a professional studio space. In the end, it was well worth it, but it took some creativity to get everything sounding the way we wanted it to.
How did this record stretch you guys individually and collectively?
For me, the goal was to have every single guitar track be absolutely necessary. I didn’t want to overdub things just because I could. The hardest part was to not overthink things. I’m a perfectionist so it’s hard for me to just step back and say, “Okay, it’s good. Move on.” For John, he wrote most of the vocal melodies without lyrics so it was certainly a battle trying to fit the right words to the melodies. In the end, it all came together, but there were certainly some days spent banging our heads on the wall.

How is this record different from any of your other records and how is it similar?
LLL has a very specific mood to it. I think that is one of the benefits of setting up a studio in a new place. We were taking in all of our surroundings and using them to augment the music we were making. The record flows from front to back, with tracks connecting to tracks and certain undertones carrying over. It’s the first time we took a step back and thought about how everything fits together as a whole. It’s similar to previous albums in the sense that we wrote it ourselves the way we write anything else. I think long-time fans will be able to hear our entire discography in some way through these songs.
What was it like for you guys when you heard the final songs for the first time?
That was a pretty big moment because when we finished recording in California, the vocals still weren’t finished. John had to fly out to Nashville to finish them so we were all at home waiting to hear the first rough mixes with vocals on them. The first time we heard them, we were all together at our manager Tim’s house. I was blown away. I have always trusted John and I think that’s why we work so well together, but after seeing him frustrated before Nashville, I was uncertain about which direction he was going to take the songs. I felt relieved, proud, and immediately optimistic when I heard the final mixes.
If there was one thing you could do differently, what would it be and why?
To be honest, for doing everything ourselves and seeing the results we did, I don’t have any regrets on this album. There was one song that didn’t make the album, but we didn’t cut it until pretty late in the process. I guess I wish we would have thrown it out sooner. Still, things happened how they did, and I’m happy with where we are now.

Visually, we have created quite a stage scene and I feel that it represents the mood of the new album quite well.

After creating music for so long, how do you keep a fresh mindset and attitude going into recording a new record?
Like I said, we have been using the idea of scenery to influence our mindset, so having something like AirBnB to find an amazing house to record in certainly helps. We were on the side of a cliff looking out at the Pacific Ocean every day. If you can’t feel fresh waking up to that every day, you’re probably doing something wrong.
How are you feeling about the LLL Tour?
So far, things have been amazing. Visually, we have created quite a stage scene and I feel that it represents the mood of the new album quite well.
What’s next?
We will be touring as much as possible this year. We’re just getting started, and like every other album we have released, the mantra is that we can sleep when we’re dead. Even though we plan on working as hard as possible, it’s important to take time to look back and see how far we have come. That kind of reflection usually happens after a really great show.
What has come out of that time of reflection?
We’ve been a band for over 10 years now. In that time, we have met so many amazing friends and fans and seen so many incredible places. To be here in 2017 releasing our sixth full length record is sometimes unbelievable. We wouldn’t have any of this if it weren’t for those who care so deeply about the music we are releasing. For that, we are eternally grateful.
What do you hope this album conveys for listeners?
I want listeners to attach their own meaning to these songs, but for me, it’s a nod to how sometimes being alone can be terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a beautiful thing, too.

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The Maine talks ‘Lovely Little Lonely’ Album and Tour, Written and 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

Photo Gallery: Brand New Live in Miami, FL


Braving the way for harmonious melodies and chilling lyrics since 2000, Brand New is one band that we will always thank for giving us songs for every emotion. There is nothing that can properly articulate the feeling and rawness of a Brand New show; from the creative elements to the perfect lighting, it is an experience you need to have at least once in your life.

With that being said, we recommend that you see them on their next tour this year. We don’t know for certain, but the last thing we saw before the end of their show was 2000 – 2018, and we have a feeling that it could be your last chance to see them (though we all hope they stay together forever). Here is a photo gallery and a small glimpse of Brand New’s massive show in Miami, FL this past summer.
Keep up to date with news from Brand New at fightoffyourdemons.com

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Photo Gallery: Brand New Live in Miami, FL: Photographed by Imani Givertz

Why The 1975 Was the Most Creative Band of 2016


It’s not a joke when we say that The 1975 took over 2016. It all started back in June 2015 when they almost broke the Internet and fan’s hearts by deleting their social media accounts, causing everyone to break out into speculations that the musical geniuses were calling it quits. Luckily, our hearts only hit snooze for 24 hours when the band reactivated their social media, replacing their iconic Black and White photos to White and Pink. It was only up from there.

The band released their singles “Love Me” and “UGH” before the end of the year. 2016 looked promising when they released three more singles before the release of the anticipated new album. “The Sound,” “Somebody Else,” and “A Change Of Heart” were on playlists around the world before their second full-length album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it dropped in February.
From there, the touring continued, and the frenzy for The 1975 went rapid. The band sold out almost every show around the world, and it wasn’t just because of their soul-gripping lyrics or their one-of-kind sound, but their impeccable creative set. From their LED screens to the lights, The 1975 created an environment for everyone to not only be wooed through their ears, but through their eyes.
We don’t doubt that they’ll only continue to top their creativity in 2017, and we know we don’t want to miss it. Shows are already selling out fast, so get your tickets pronto. Here is a photo gallery from one of The 1975’s legendary concerts in Miami, FL.

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Why The 1975 Was the Most Creative Band of 2016: Photographed by Imani Givertz

Hands Like Houses photographed at The Kelsey Theater in Lake Park, FL


There’s no doubt that after anyone experiences a set as energetic, interactive, and as expressive as Hands Like Houses’, they will be listening to their entire discography on repeat trying to relive those moments over and over again.

Hailing from Canberra, Australia, HLH co-headlined their way to South Florida with Our Last Night, The Color Morale, and Out Came The Wolves this November on the Face To Face Tour.
They gave everything they had and poured out their souls to a standing room full of fans that received them so well and poured out their hearts right back by singing along to every song at the top of their lungs.  
These are moments that I am honored to capture. This is a photo gallery from Hands Like Houses on the Face To Face Tour at The Kelsey Theater in Lake Park, FL.

Hands Like Houses photographed at The Kelsey Theater in Lake Park, FL 11.12.16
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Have Mercy at The Social in Orlando, FL: Photo Gallery


The room at the popular Orlando music venue, The Social, filled up quickly as the doors opened and the house lights dimmed. After the opening band finished their last song and exited stage left, Baltimore’s Have Mercy entered. They did one last 30-second soundcheck as the crowd crammed into the small space in front of the stage to witness Have Mercy deliver a raw, intimate, and passion-driven set.

Though the area was small, the heart for music was massive. Frontman Brian Swindle sang with everything he had and so did the people in the audience, and the rest of the band put all of their energy into creating a melodic space where fans could have the experience they had been waiting for since the announcement of the tour.
Watching everyone connect in the room and sing lyrics that meant something to each person individually, but meant so much more collectively, was an incredible sight and sound. There was no doubt that strangers that entered The Social left with a sense of community.
Moments like these are what make concerts what they are.

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Have Mercy at The Social in Orlando, FL: Photo Gallery by Imani Givertz

Spreading Hope with To Write Love On Her Arms


When you think of Warped Tour or festivals in general, your mind automatically thinks of the bands (and if you’re like me, the fashion, too), but only a handful of people actually know that there are many organizations that support the tour and/or festival that you’re stoked to go to. One of my favorite non-profit organizations has been around since I was a teenager and definitely made a huge impact on my life growing up and to this day. If you’ve never heard of To Write Love On Her Arms, allow me to introduce you. TWLOHA is an incredible non-profit organization that is committed to providing people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide with support and help. They strive to educate, inspire, and directly invest into treatment and recovery. One way they carry out their mission to care for others is through their time at Warped Tour during in the summer. 


This summer at Warped Tour, we had the opportunity to chat with TWLOHA Staff Member, Casey O’Neill who is Spreading Hope with To Write Love On Her Arms. He shared the heart behind To Write Love On Her Arms, why going out on Warped Tour was important, and even shared some stories he’s heard while on the road.

Cliché: How many years has To Write Love on Her Arms been on Vans Warped Tour?
Casey O’Neill: TWLOHA has been on Vans Warped Tour for 10 years now with its first summer being 2007!

Why do you believe that it’s important for TWLOHA to have such a presence in the touring music scene, especially at Warped Tour?
TWLOHA’s original story first began with the help of music in 2006. We find that this music scene needs a presence such as us. We’re seeing that the crowds every summer need an organization that they can come to be educated on mental health. We’d like to be that safe place where people can come talk to us and walk away with resources that will help guide them into getting help.
What did your hopes for this year’s Warped Tour look like?
My hope was that everyone who walked away from our tent knew that they’re not alone. I want them to leave Warped Tour with resources that will help guide them to getting help. Asking for help can feel impossible for some. My goal is to change that perception and instill hope into those I come in contact with.

Who are some of the bands you’ve partnered with this year that are on the tour?
Most of the bands we receive support from start out as friendships. They choose to wear TWLOHA merchandise on stage because they believe in our mission. The Summer Set is an example of a long running connection we’ve had, and we are excited to welcome them to the tour soon. We had the opportunity to live with Tonight Alive this summer who have been incredible supporters of what we’re doing every day on tour.

What has it been like to work with them?
It’s been a blast! Jess Bowen of The Summer Set came out to Warped to drum for 3OH!3 until The Summer Set arrived. The first time I ran into her, she was proudly wearing her new TWLOHA Orlando Pride tank that was recently printed in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy. It made me happy to see someone like Jess representing us just by simply wearing a tank top.

Your summer line had a variety of incredible apparel, including a tank and shirt with the words “People Need Other People” and is said to be made in hopes to start a conversation. What conversations have you heard during your time on Warped that have proved to show that People actually do Need Other People?

There have been so many conversations that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I’ve heard countless stories of individuals celebrating anniversaries such as three years sober and even seven years self-injury free. These examples come mostly with details about a friend or a loved one guiding them to getting the help they needed. The connection people have with other people is indescribable. There’s such a power in showing another person that you love and care for them. That care can be the key to someone sitting across from a counselor for the first time.

There’s such a power in showing another person that you love and care for them. That care can be the key to someone sitting across from a counselor for the first time.


Are there any stories you can share about some of your followers and fans that have personally impacted you or the team collectively this year?
Personally, I’ve related with various individuals who come up to our booth at Warped Tour. I lost one of my best friends, Shane, to suicide six years ago. His death truly shook my world up. It took me down a difficult path until, with the help of my family, I decided to go to counseling. I’ve met so many people affected by suicide, which never gets easier to hear. I’m able to use my story of personal loss to relate with those suffering. My hope is that by sharing that, it will make those listening feel as if they’re not so alone.

What was the purpose behind the handwritten cards you had at your desk?
These are our response cards.One card says “10 years from now, I hope to:_____.”
That is our most popular response card that gets filled out. We asked those who stop by to write down their biggest hopes and dreams. We ask them to envision what their life will look like in 10 years.
This card has to do with the fact that TWLOHA recently celebrated 10 years as an organization this past March. We simply began as a story told about Renee Yohe and now we’ve been able to provide hope and help to those struggling around the world since then. “My favorite TWLOHA memory” is the other response card we have for those who are continual supporters of the organization. Each card that is left behind at our table is remarkable to read. It’s easily one of my favorite parts of being on the road with TWLOHA.


We got to meet some of your awesome interns this summer. Tell us: how does your internship program work? How are interns chosen?
I fortunately had the opportunity to be an intern with TWLOHA in the Fall of 2015. There are three internship terms: fall, spring, and summer. These terms give six or seven people from various walks of life the opportunity to move to our headquarters in Melbourne, FL in order to learn what it’s like to work for a non-profit organization. As an intern, you live and work in the community with your fellow interns. It’s an amazing opportunity to make new connections in life that you will surely never forget. There is an application process that includes a video portion. The deadlines to apply are always made available on our website and social media pages.
The internship provides you a chance to work directly with staff members who operate unique functions of the organization. Also, you’re trained on how to reply to messages that come into our information account. These messages can be as simple as someone asking on how to get involved more with TWLOHA, but there are also messages that are heavy in nature since they’re supporters asking for our help. It’s our job as interns to reply to every message we receive with as much hope and help as possible. We ensure that there are appropriate resources sent their way so they can find help wherever they’re located in the world.
Lastly, coming out of the summer Warped Season, what does the rest of the year hold for TWLOHA?
Summer is definitely a busy time for us, but luckily we still have a ton of exciting events planned for the year. In early September, we recognized National Suicide Prevention Week with a new campaign that helps raise awareness on the topic of suicide prevention. Our founder, Jamie Tworkowski, speaks at various colleges and communities throughout the year, which is always a fun time for those interested in learning more about TWLOHA. All of these events can be found on our website at www.twloha.com/events.
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Spreading Hope with To Write Love On Her Arms: Photographed and Written by Imani Givertz