Civil Civic will rip your head off


Dominique Legrand has a conversation with Barcelona/London-based Australian ex-pats Civil Civic about their upcoming tour, about what fans can expect from their live show and about proving their worth on stage:

Civil Civic are two men (Ben and Aaron) and one machine (The Box). They have recently released their debut long-player, Rules, and are back home on Australian shores to debut the record to fans at the Drones-curated festival, ATP, and several sideshows throughout February.

“Oh man, you wouldn’t believe. Yeah yeah, super excited. Super excited about ATP, and playing some club shows too,” bassist Ben enthuses. “We had spent a lot of time playing shows across Europe and kept talking about just going back to Australia and playing a couple of shows in Melbourne and maybe trying to get to Sydney. But now it’s happening and happening in a bigger way with ATP and the record.”

That record, Rules, is a loud, menacing, melody-driven collection of instrumental tracks. It conveys a lot of emotion and intensity through clever interplay and exchange between bass and guitar, while the The Box (the band’s drummer and light technician) keeps things moving along with directness and power. Songs on the album tend to lure you into a false sense of bliss, however beneath their immediate structure lies an ominous tone that leaves you feeling slightly unnerved. A song like Street Trap forces you to take a detour from your usual listening route through a series of sonically threatening twists and turns.

This air of threat is exactly what Civil Civic strive for in their sound and delivery. Ben explains that their songs are “kind of like going to a party, a fun party, but there’s this dark and nasty undercurrent to the whole thing. Something ugly might happen but, in the meantime, this is awesome and fun.”

The party that Civil Civic will bring to Australia is certainly not for the timid either. “Our whole mission statement is to rip people’s heads off. Go into the venue, soundcheck really well, get everything really tight and then just play like fucking monsters!” They certainly share the same mission statement with many of the bands with whom they will be sharing the stage with at ATP in Melbourne. Bands like Thee Oh Sees, Swans and My Bloody Valentine all want to rip peoples heads off, nearly all of the time, and Ben admits that he can’t wait to see them play and experience the same.

Fans can also get excited about new material, as Ben and Aaron are already “nipple deep about thinking about what comes next” and hoping to get another single prepared and released within a few months. “New material is something that is very much on the table now. We definitely can’t go out and play the same set in France that we played last year, and the year before because fans will start to complain, I think.”

I was interested in Civil Civic’s relationship with their fans and the general public, as they appear to have an intimate relationship with their listeners. You can find them regularly on their (hilarious) blog, Twitter and Facebook interacting with followers, they have several fan-made videos on YouTube and ran a competition to name their song, Lights On A Leash. None of these platforms for communication and exposure are uncommon anymore, however I wanted to know what it does for a band like Civil Civic’s mystique. Gone are the days where you might question whether David Bowie is actually from Mars, most bands have now become so accessible and banal. Ben agrees that “creating mystique was definitely always one of the things that bands paid attention to and now you can know what your favorite band ate for breakfast this morning”. Despite all these intimate insights and demystifying of their image through social media, Civil Civic have admittedly made a name for themselves through their “nuts and bolts, DIY” punk ethos. Their image is exposed for all to hear and see on stage and on record. Forget image, forget the pomp and go check Civil Civic out, they might make your ears bleed, but it will be worthwhile.

The band is on tour in Australian this month at the following venues:

Thursday 7 February – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
With special guests to be announced. Tickets $18+BF – on sale now from

Friday 8 February – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
With special guests to be announced. Tickets $18+BF – on sale now from GoBookEm

Saturday 16 February – ATP, I’ll Be Your Mirror, Altona
With special guests to be announced. Limited tickets still available from

Tuesday 19 February – The Tote, Melbourne
With special guests to be announced. Tickets $18+BF – on sale now from



Interview by Dominique Legrand