For several years, Ryan Lane has been making superb electronic and synth-pop music under the moniker Civilized Creature. This year he is back with unprecedented creative output, releasing a pair of themed EPs in just a 4-week span. The hip-hop infused Water & Light (SPOTIFY LINK) released in mid-August, and the ballad-esque Peace & Comfort (SPOTIFY LINK) released in mid-September. We were excited to talk to Ryan this week about the inspiration behind this new work.
UTR: During these pandemic months, have you found yourself struggling or thriving in the midst of these life adjustments?
Ryan: In many ways our routines were unaffected by the pandemic; I often work from home and my wife was already homeschooling our kids. The biggest change, and I would say also the hardest change, has been the reduced amount of in-person community, with an emphasis on community in the context of worship. The body of Christ is so important to maintain a healthy/holistic perspective. It has been refreshing to slowly have those components reintroduced into our life rhythms.
UTR: Over the last two months, you released two new EPs. What was the goal or strategy in releasing the music this way?
Ryan: Initially the two were one! EJ Olsen, part of the crew at Renew The Arts, felt that some of the tracks clashed a bit stylistically and threw out the possiblity of dividing them up by genre into a more favorable flow. I resonated with the suggestion and we went with it. While we had a functional reason, it seems in the digital music age that a focus on EP’s and singles over full albums is growing.
UTR: What was the vision behind the creative work on both of these EPs?
Ryan: I have worked on a number of concept albums over the years, but when the focus isn’t channeled toward a specific focus, I often find myself creating music that muses over or wrestles with my faith, humanity, relationships, and impactful moments within my short existence. It’s important to create art not just out of a place of extreme intentionality and focus, but also sometimes in “fear and trembling”, listening and creating in the moment. Both planning and spontaneity have their place in the world of art. These songs were born out of late night musings, early morning ponderings, weeping over the past, longing for the future, all paired with music that evoked the feeling of the sentiment for me. Hopefully it will have some resonance with other listeners as well.
UTR: Do you sense that well-crafted, meaningful music is needed now more than ever?
Ryan: Yes. Music, whether explicitly or not, has such a powerful key to the soul. It penetrates deeper than logic, and I know I’ve personally been powerfully changed by it as a medium. I also believe that the human heart is depraved, and thus the heart’s appetite can easily become distorted (as evidenced by so much of popular “modern” music). Ultimately only God can change someone’s heart, but I truly hope and pray that what I create might even in the slightest way influence someone toward the source of truth, love, and life itself. I’m so grateful for the discussions that my friends at Renew The Arts have on these topics; for any readers who haven’t listened to their podcasts, please do yourself a favor and stream a few episodes!