On the eve of Civil Civic’s first headline tour of Australia, I caught up with one half of the band, bass player Ben Green. Read on to find out about Civil Civic’s brand new album, the upcoming tour dates, and what it’s like for this expat to come home.
You’re just about to release your album Rules. What can you tell me about it?
It’s a collection of ten songs which we pieced together over the first two years of playing together. It’s generally pretty up-tempo, with heaps of loud hysterical bits, a few soft moody bits and with any luck it’ll drive you completely out of your fucking mind.
It must be interesting being in a band with someone who lives in another country. How do you make it work?
We make good use of both the internet and Easyjet. Between the two of them those tools do a good job of making the international collabo thing a functional reality. But of course we’d probably get a lot more done if we lived in the same share house and jammed in the loungeroom every day.
What’s it like after so much time apart to come together again?
Pretty disturbing, really. There’s nothing but bubbling hatred and contempt between us, so it’s always dicey for the first couple of days of rehearsal before a tour. But we’re both disciplined professionals, so we keep that shit under control and get on with the job. Word.
You’ve played some big European festivals in your career. What have been some of your highlights so far?
This is a CAREER!?? Shit, that’s going to take a while to digest. But that’s an easy question, really. We headlined the side-stage on the Friday night at last year’s La Route Du Rock in Brittany and it was so good I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face for days. It was sooo fucking loud, and there was 6000 drunk French people just going nuts in front of us. Unbelievable.
You’re actually embarking on your first headlining tour of Australia, despite both being born here. What’s it like to come back home?
Awesome. We were both super excited about doing some gigs in Aus, and maybe a bit nervous too. But it’s great to be able to catch up with family/friends ect. and the gigs are just a big bonus.
What do you miss about Australia when you’re away?
Aussie banter, mostly. Aaron [Cupples] also misses the sun, because he’s a sucker and lives in London.
Many of the Australian shows are going to be quite intimate compared to some of your overseas dates. Will you approach them any differently?
We’ve played plenty of toilet-sized venues in Europe, and all the places we’re playing in Australia are way bigger and better equipped than most toilets, so I reckon we’ll be fine. In some ways club shows are more nerve-wracking than festival gigs, especially when they’re at The Tote Hotel and all your mates are standing there, seeing you play for the first time. That’s going to be fucking terrifying.
I’ve heard a little about this “Box” which is a key part of your live shows. Can you tell my readers exactly what it is?
It’s a cube about two foot square which functions as our robot drummer. Besides cranking out big, dumb beats it also has a group of square, colored lights on it’s front face which fire in unison with the drum sounds, so it’s sort of a light show as well. People end up staring at it, which takes attention away from our bad dancing on stage.
You’ve been generating some serious buzz for your live shows. What makes you guys so different do you think?
Well, we try our damnedest to be a tight, punchy unit and create some excitement and atmosphere in the room. Some nights are better than others, but we’re always aiming high. NO SLACKING! Maybe that, but on the other hand maybe it’s just The Box.
After you leave Australia, what comes next for Civil Civic?
We need to knuckle down to some serious songwriting, but unfortunately there won’t be much time for that before we start gigging in Europe again. We’re aiming to get a single out more-or-less as soon as we can, just so people know we are actually still creating, and it would be great to have a new album ready for the end of the year, but we’ll have to see how that goes.
Rules hits Australian record stores today. You can see Civil Civic on their homecoming tour at the following shows.
7 February 2013 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
8 February 2013 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
16 February 2013 – ATP: I’ll Be Your Mirror @ Westgate Entertainment Centre and Grand Star Receptions, Altona
19 February 2013 – The Tote, Melbourne