Civil Civic too crowded with a drum­mer

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - WHAT'S ON -

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.

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