Civil Civic too crowded with a drummer
say two’s company and three’s a crowd – which partly explains why Aussie ex-pat duo Civil Civic (pictured) never bothered with a drummer. ‘‘We decided to focus on small club shows in Europe so we needed to put together an outfit that could fit easily into a car,’’ says Ben Green, who grew up in Melbourne and now calls Barcelona home. Instead of a drummer, Civil Civic play with a flashing box that sits centre-stage and supports their keyboards. A row of LED lights connected to a drum machine drives the band’s instrumental mash-up of synths and distorted guitars. The other piece in the puzzle is London-based multi-instrumentalist Aaron Cupples, who recruited Green following a tip-off from Australian rockers The Drones. ‘‘I got an email from Aaron with a demo attached saying we have mutual friends and we should start a band,’’ recalls Green. ‘‘It was a bit of a gamble.’’ The demo was Less Unless, an abstract party track melding Strokes-ish surf riffs and Battles-esque math rock. Green was immediately hooked and invited Cupples to stay at his home in Barcelona for three weeks. ‘‘It was kind of like a blind date – a bit awkward on the journey from the airport but once we had a few drinks and started playing music together it all started to click,’’ says Green. A self-proclaimed party band, Civil Civic are influenced by noise experimentalists Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine with an appreciation of walls of sound over pretty harmonies. The duo’s muscular sound, honed through a back-and-forth process of building songs over email, was also drawn from early Midnight Oil. ‘‘We’re really into watching old Midnight Oil shows from the mideighties because they were such a tight and tough band,’’ says Green. Signed to Remote Control in Australia, Civil Civic begin their first national tour this week. The band remains unsigned in Europe, but word of mouth and rave reviews for their self-released album Rules has led to a growing number of gigs across the continent. Championed by influential British media, including NME and The Guardian, Civil Civic are hopeful they can soon reclaim their status as a bona fide Aussie band. ‘‘In Europe they book us as a UK band and it really pisses me off,’’ says Green. ‘‘Apparently promoters think they need to book our airfares if we’re presented as Australian, but every time we’re on stage we say we’re Civil Civic from Melbourne.’’
Civil Civic play Black Bear Lodge, in Brisbane, tonight.