Though local alternative rock band Cilience came up with their name from a made-up word, they’ve been able to adapt it to encompass the essence of the band.
“I’m a huge nerd, and I like words a lot,” said Ian Stahl, lead singer and guitarist.
In the same fashion that Shakespeare was able to invent a lot of words that are commonly used in the English language today, such as addiction, eyeball and swagger, author John Koenig created the word Cilience, pronounced sill-ee-yence.
The word means recognizing everyone around you as individuals, according to the band.
“This author is the first I’ve found recently to do something like that,” Stahl said. “It was one of those perfect happenstances whereas I was thinking about making a band really geared towards the lyrical content that I became heavily invested in writing a couple years ago, then I discovered that author and it clicked.”
The band made it their own, adding a message of self-empowerment. To them, it means recognizing the potential each individual has in creating positive change, celebrating their own stories and complex lives.
“Everybody walks in with this world of their own that you should take into consideration,” added keyboardist Michael Janz.
The band of four includes Stahl and Janz, as well as bassist Eric DeLuca and drummer Jason Fragoso. Stahl, Janz and Fragoso also attended CalArts.
“We want to make accessible, high-energy music that gets people pumped up, but lyrically we want our audiences to think a little deeper,” Stahl said. “I mean, how many songs do you know the lyrics to and get stuck with you? I take that very seriously.”
Stahl, who predominantly writes the lyrics to their songs, said he doesn’t want to tell people what to think, he simply wants to point to things that should be thought about.
For instance, the band’s first release, “Fetters and Feathers,” was inspired by Maya Angelou’s autobiography.
“We come up with songs in a variety of ways,” DeLuca said. “One of us typically comes with an idea, and we’ll put it together.”
Other times, the band just will sit down and decide to write a song that day, “or play a totally different part on the spot right now, and that ends up becoming a part of the song,” DeLuca said.
“It’s almost like that pressure gets some good stuff out of you,” he said.
“It basically comes down to obsessively listening to something until you can hear other parts in your head,” Stahl added.
Because every band member attended music school, it makes it easier for them to share ideas and produce their own parts of a song.
“Eric has really become infamous for writing almost every bridge section,” Stahl said, adding that their latest single was DeLuca’s original piece.
Unlike some creators, the band likes to try out new song ideas with their audience.
“We try to keep every live show different,” Stahl said. “We’ll have solo sections where you don’t play the same thing, you have to make it up on the spot or take an idea somewhere different each time.”
“That’s the fun of it, too, you get to make something new,” DeLuca added, which sometimes can help with coming up with new song ideas.
While their first release primarily consisted of songs Stahl had written on his own, “this second one is really us together with a more formed identity,” he said.
“We all kind of push each other to bring out the best parts of ourselves,” he added. “I feel like we are all gradually becoming more ourselves in a way … Now we have this sound … and we’re developing an image around the band that feels very relevant.”
Janz agreed, adding, “I think collaboration is a huge part of it no matter how you break it down.”
While collaboration is important, DeLuca also believes it’s important to hold onto their love for making music.
“We’re all friends — we all make this music together and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “But it’s not only fun for us to play, it’s fun for us to share. I kinda feel like some of that has gotten lost over the years.”
Their second release, an EP called “Event Horizon,” was released Sept. 26.
This album is a call to all people to stand for tolerance, understanding and humanity, according to the band.
‘We’re all focused on pushing forward and developing something meaningful that challenges us in the same way that the songs challenge our audience,” Stahl said.
Each member of Cilience grew up being in garage bands, and “can’t remember a time when we weren’t in a band,” Janz said.
And though they’ve come a long way since then, they still feel like they’ve kept that feeling alive, turning it into air-conditioned garage band practice in their living room instead.
For more information, visit cilience.com.