Interview

Texas Post-Punk Act SEVIT Unveil New, Moody, Intense Darkwave LP

The core unit of Texas darkwave act SEVIT is the duo of Jackie (vocals/guitar) and Cam (programming, synths), two postpunk veterans that have been in past Texas bands such as At Night and Pleasure Crisis.

Interestingly, Sevit’s live lineup showcases a powerful five-piece act—and this provides a compelling experience, recalling the classic days of strong, live club shows of goth-ish and darkwave acts like The Associates, Pink Turns Blue, and, especially, The Cure. Sevit singer Jackie’s vocals, in fact, somehow manage to affect—if even poetically—a fragility not often found in many of today’s darker postpunk projects (but see: early Underpass). Sevit’s music, which can switch from the sentimental to (surprisingly, even) the oddly anthemic lures you in. But the bursts of triumph in Sevit’s music are fleeting; their strength only helps coax a wellspring of feelings deep in the listener’s gut; and sometimes, if you align yourself too intently with Sevit’s aural performance, it can feel like your heart might rip out of your chest.

North Texas’ Sevit has recently announced a new LP, On the Edge of a Darker Place, on InClub Records, and they are playing dates with the likes of Bootblacks, Astari Nite, and fellow Texans Twin Tribes in some upcoming, celebratory outings. The Pornography-era Cure vibe that emanates from Sevit’s new, 13-track album is spot on. On the Edge of a Darker Place is indeed a dark, and gothy, and moody postpunk affair, for certain—and it’s top-shelf stuff, at that. Below, we asked the band what inspired this deep and shadowy dive into the recesses of the darkness of the heart. Label InClub mentions Sevit’s LP ships out within the next month, probably by the end of September, 2021.

SEVIT were interviewed for post-punk.com by Oliver in August, 2021

So, guys—what does that name “Sevit” mean? What’s it from, and who thought of it? What’s the story behind the name of the band, in other words?

Jackie (vocals, guitar): I get this one a lot. I asked Cam B. the exact same thing when he approached me with the name. I vaguely remember asking him, “What the hell does it mean?” His response was a little less interesting than the word itself.

Cam (synths, programming, etc): I laugh because fellow North Texas musician Leah Lane from Rosegarden Funeral Party asked me this as well, and it caught me off guard. The only thing I know is I came up with the name by seeing it in a book and then looked it up and the definition said something to the effect of, “Seeing in third person,” which friggin’ made sense to me—so it stuck, or maybe Jackie can sort that one out!

Jackie: I did find several meanings for the word “Sevit,” deriving from the French word sevi, which didn’t hold a whole lot of resonance to what we do as a band, but then I hit the jackpot! One of the meanings I found described the word as “wildly wandering or to ravage”; this made more sense to me.

 Who is in SEVIT now, when did SEVIT begin, and where are ya’ll from, and currently based?

Cam: I am and always have been pulled towards the dark and the unknown, musically—it’s in my nature. Sevit was started by me and Jackie a few years ago, moving through transitions to get where we are now and incorporating the newest members. I am from Dallas, born and raised, but have traveled outside of the states and country many times…. and I still don’t have a Texas accent!

Jackie: Living on both sides of the United States, I would personally now consider myself a Texas guy, but in a very non-conformed way! I will admit that I still say the words “You guys” vs. “Y’all,” which is still strange to me. Sevit went through a few transitional stages (as any band possibly would) before embracing our true nature of doing what we love and what we are best at. SEVIT now, to us, is the spirit of our life that remains emotionally bonded to an era long since past. We, “Sevit”, get a chance to share the lovely, romantic, yet dark, atmospheric sounds we mostly grew up with without having to stereotype or limit our approach in the music we create. We do what we feel comes natural, musically and visually.

Is there a studio Sevit lineup versus a live Sevit lineup? How has that worked out so far? Who all plays on the Sevit recordings so far?

Jackie: After much toil and hard work, Cam B. and I discovered a formula that works for both of us since we both enjoy writing music. I personally love writing melodic, dark bass lines and keyboard lines, and I also enjoy programming drums during my time in the studio for whatever gives our music a solid foundation. My real passion, however, is guitar! There’s nothing more exciting than finding perfect guitar hooks, tone, and sound. I also give Cam a lot of credit. If it wasn’t for his imagination during production, and contribution of songs like “Bleed,” our songs wouldn’t sound quite as lovely.

That being said, our live approach is a different animal altogether. Having someone like Keith Madison on bass is a definite advantage; we share a similar style in playing. Brian Weems on second guitar is also quite rewarding as he wails that beautiful hollow body into something I would have not imagined. When it comes to Alex Lohmann on drums—though Alex is a guitarist by nature, he delivers originality that our former drummer, although still a fine drummer as well, didn’t seem to find. Contributions into making this band work are fairly shared whether in the studio or on the stage.

Cam: As Jackie said, Sevit is kind of a tag-team package; we write together, and I do all or most of the final production on the albums. I love taking demos of Jackie’s ideas or presenting my songs and then giving them the full-on Cam B. touch, adding soundscapes or synth parts where they need to be. But overall, we are a unit and the live production is its own aspect. We always want the live experience to be over-the-top for our listeners.

If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Sevit begin as a three-piece? Last I saw you all live I think ya’ll were a full, five piece band, which is increasingly uncommon today when so many darkwave-y or postpunk-ish type acts are either solo acts or synth-based duos. Is it hard juggling the schedules of five people for live shows and everything else?

Jackie: This is true. We were a short lived-three piece for a bit but after we finally developed “a sound” we decided that we needed more kinetic energy on stage, and only because you don’t get this from a lot of other groups, as you mentioned. Luckily, somehow or another, we manage to keep a free balance with the additional guys in the band without too much of an issue. Aside from that, we don’t only play in a group together; we’re also in each other’s lives, as we hang out like friends, often. You’ll rarely see any of us out and about without the other.

Cam: Yes, Sevit is kind of a dysfunctional family! I have known Jackie for 20 years, Brian 10 and Keith 25. Keith and I dabbled in music before losing touch, and now he is back. But yeah, we are a close group and look out for each other.

What are the details behind Sevit’s recent record label signing to Inclub, and when will that record come out?

Jackie: InClub Records [Sevit’s new label] has been a learning experience, mostly because they’re based in Lima, Peru. Somehow or another, they caught a glimpse of us via Facebook. We signed with InClub Records in October of 2020 and then Covid hit all nations and threw things into a whirlwind. The vinyl was scheduled to come out in Spring of 2021 but has since been pushed out to late September, 2021 worldwide. If this album could only spread as fast as Covid we would have been on our first leg of a European tour already.

How did you get the attention of In Club Records for your release?

Jackie: I’m not a social media type of person but from what I gather, they first saw us on Facebook and shortly after they contacted us with interest.

I’m sure a lot of folks have compared you all to the Cure. Do you think that’s a fair comparison, and who are some of band members’ favorite, or most influential bands, when it comes to the sound Sevit is trying to achieve?

Jackie: On a personal level, being compared to The Cure is a compliment but it’s more of a compliment when we hear, “Yes, you can hear some Cure undertones in their music but you all are simply not another copycat band.” This is pleasing to hear! Yes, of course there’s some influence there but our choice in influence varies anywhere from Radiohead, U2, The Sundays, Joy Division, Bauhaus, David Bowie, Siouxsie & The Banshees, New Order, The Smiths/Morrisey, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, to more recent bands like Interpol, White Lies, etc… (ed: The AssociatesOliver.)

Cam: Well you know I have to chime in on this question! I love a lot of the new bands – Cold Cave, She Past Away (who we are opening for in December in Houston), Drab Majesty, Orville Peck, Twin Tribes, and our local friends Rosegarden Funeral Party. I also just got turned on to Paper Saints thanks to our manager, Krystal, but I also love older bands and my dark roots such as Dead Boys, The Church, Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, OMD, Yazoo, Gary Numan, Japan, Specimen, Rational Youth, Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, Christian Death, Killing Joke, and the list goes on and on.. I am a huge collector of vinyl and think I am up to 4,000 records.

What do Sevit’s lyrics tend to be about? What are some common lyrical themes or concerns of the band? Are they personal, political, or…? And – is there a primary lyricist for the band?

Cam: That’s all on our singer, Jackie!!

Jackie: I have always been intrigued with writing lyrics and I sometimes can base an entire song off just one word. I think that music only works well with lyrics that someone might think they can relate to. Most people hear one of our songs and will imaginatively already have their own perspective on what it means to them “the Individual.” People have asked me in the past… “Who did you write that song for?” Maybe they’ve assumed I’ve written for a long lost love, a long lost time, the past, or something continually haunting? Yes and no. I approach lyrics in the sense of poetry, and things that might have directly and indirectly crossed my path in life. I can honestly say I don’t know where it comes from—it just happens! I would also say that I have an inner influence and in my imaginary world, it doesn’t involve politics in music.

Will there be a tour in support of the new LP?

Jackie: GOD WILLING!!! We were recently discussing that with our label a day ago and though it’s in the works, we want to get out there to our fans in Europe, Mexico, and South America and all those other wonderful places that want us to come out! I want this to happen! I think our fans deserve to see their bands up front and personal. That’s what makes music fun. It’s the interaction between band and audience. I’m sure you know what I mean…

What are some webpages or other social media sites that folks can go to to keep up with Sevit?

Jackie: Again, I’m not much for social media but you can virtually find us everywhere! Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud… Myspace if there was one! [Links below! – Oliver]

Cam: I think what Jackie is saying is http://www.SevitBand.com and Bandcamp ( https://sevitband.bandcamp.com/ ) and Instagram (@sevitband) if you get into that stuff. But our music is available on our Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, and Spotify. I can’t believe Jackie just said MySpace. Well, maybe ol’ Tom is rooting for us?

Follow SEVIT:

SEVIT has a Bandcamp page for their new album HERE.
Their label, InCLub records, has a Bandcamp page here.
SEVIT has a Twitter account HERE.
SEVIT also have a Spotify account you can check out, HERE

And according to vocalist Jackie, there may even be a MySpace band page for them out there. Google it and let us know!

SEVIT ARE PLAYING WITH ASTARI NIGHT, BOOTBLACKS, and LORELEI K, with DJ Death Church spinning before and between bands on Sept 24, 2921, in Denton, Texas at Rubber Gloves, See you! Facebook event page with details:

RSVP HERE

Oliver Sheppard

Oliver is a writer from Texas. Author of two collections of verse (Destruction: Text I and Thirteen Nocturnes), founder of the Wardance event night in Dallas as well as the Funeral Parade event night in Austin, Texas, and editor of the old Cultpunk.org website, Oliver has written for Bandcamp, Maximum Rock-n-Roll, CVLT Nation, Post-punk.com, Souciant, and has dj'd for Killing Joke, Drab Majesty, and others.

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