Ancient Warfare singer/songwriter Echo Wilcox brings photographer's eye to Kentucky band's debut

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive
Ancient Warfare

Ancient Warfare singer/songwriter Echo Wilcox studied photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and the skills and perspective she developed behind the lens have continued to inform her work within the band.

"It's funny, because I approach music in a very similar fashion as [photography]," said the California-born, Kentucky-based Wilcox, who will join her Lexington bandmates for a concert at Carabar on Saturday, Dec. 19. "I tend to write a lot about the past, like a flashback or a memory of something, and I think that's why I was drawn to photography, because you're taking a hold of a moment. It's kind of the backbone to the name [Ancient Warfare], which is this idea we all have a past and a history we're all intertwined in."

Based on the bruising, cathartic lyrics populating the band's full-length debut,The Pale Horse, from 2015, this recent past has been filled with all manner of emotional upheaval for the crew. "But I'm still holding on/ To this temporary soul," Wilcox songs on the patient, violin-laced "Dreamcatcher." "To my goal of growing old/ Through cuts and fractured bones."

"This record is, to me, is a very personal record as far as where it was coming from. It [was written and recorded over] a four-year span, so there are a lot of changes and emotions and life that happened, and I really wanted that to show," said Wilcox, 30, who was born in Los Angeles to a father who was employed as a full-time session and touring guitarist and a mother who worked in music promotion and production. "I went through some heavy moments, for sure, and I'm sure that's part of the reason [the lyrics] came out that way, because I also felt fragile and broken at times.

"I remember being in a rehearsal in the early stages of the band and almost breaking down while playing 'Killa Man,' and it was like, 'I've got to pull this together.' At the same rate … I needed to have that outlet. That's why I play music."

The ghostly, Americana-steeped music onThe Pale Horse, in contrast, comes on like a group gathering its collective strength, building around lush, cinematic soundscapes colored in vibrant strings, sighing pedal steel and limber acoustic strumming.

"I've always been drawn to that all-encompassing [sound] and … that more epic vibe," said Wilcox, who initially launched the band in late 2009 as a more raw-nerve rock duo before expanding the lineup along with the group's musical palette (Ancient Warfare currently tours as a quartet, though the singer daydreams of someday expanding to a six-piece). "There are a lot of delicate moments, and larger scale things as well. I want to feel every movement of every instrument."


9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19

115 Parsons Ave., Olde Towne East

ALSO PLAYING: Garbage Greek, Cliffs