There aren’t that many great instrumental rock duos in the history of rock and roll. I’ve thought about this for about 20 seconds or so and I’m bored already. To arrive at that musical decision, and to arrive at that musical decision when your bandmate doesn’t even live in the same country, is as perverse as it is stupid. Being as they are Australian, perverse stupidity is our calling, and it’s why Civil Civic succeed where others have just gone “Dude, we need another member”. With the title still up for grabs (or until some smart-ass avant-garde freak shoots me down), Civil Civic could turn out to be the greatest instrumental duo in the history of rock and roll. Wouldn’t that be just dandy?
Instrumental acts do allow a certain amount of room for thought in their music, without lyrics, or any kind of vocal, or somebody verbally emoting something, you’re often left with your own thoughts fighting for control over their music. Like, “Is that really the outro from Pixies “Alec Eiffel” distilled and then beaten like sheet metal on their own “Run Overdrive”? With the steely glare guitar Aaron Cupples fixes his tremolo bar as if guiding it through an unseen maze and the contorted but oddly amusing facial expressions of bassist Ben Green, the real X-Factor of the band lies in their drum machine triggered light-show affectionally called “the box” that sits between on stage. Who needs a front-person when you can just follow the pretty lights?
01. Who are you?
We are Civil Civic, featuring Aaron Von Cupples on electric guitar and synth and Ben Green on electric bass and synth. We are both from Melbourne in Australia but the band was formed in Europe (Ben lives in Spain, Aaron in England).
We played our first show in July last year, so it’s still a puppy.
The name? It’s rumoured to be a homage to the great Snowy River hydro-electric scheme. Which we deny.
02. What do you sound like?
We sometimes sound like Dick Dale in a futuristic blender/juicer. Sometimes it can also sound like a meteor made of shit and trouble smacking into the sun.
03. What do friends say you sound like?
Sonic Youth (really, that’s what they say).
04. Full-time musicians or wage slaves?
Aaron is a highly paid management consultant to the arms industry. I work at a donut stand at Sants Estacio and sell weed.
05. Current band highlight?
This band is just one, huge, blinding highlight. My eyes hurt.
06. Favourite decade for music?
The twenties had some pretty awesome shit going on. We are heavily influenced by the sound of rag.
07. Should music be free?
Music IS free. Deal with it. (but if you want us to play at your sons bar mitzvah, we charge 700 euros plus expenses).
08. Which 3 musicians would you invite round for dinner?
I would invite Aaron, because I like watching him eat, and Strauss, because a good waltz is great for the digestion. I’d also dig up G G Allins’ corpse, and maybe that could be dinner.
09. Preferred tour reading?
Judy Blume, Proust, a bit of soft porn, you know, the usual.
10. Best mood for songwriting?
11. Last record you bought?
Like, in a shop, with money? Shit. I think it was Apocalypse Dudes, in like 2003 or something. I like the fact that the last band I spent real money on was Turbo Negro. They need cash. Norway is a really expensive place to live.
12. Five favourite albums?
There’s no way in hell I can whittle down my vast love of music to 5 records. If I have to go live on a desert island I’ll just take a guitar and some bongos.
13. Your biggest rock and roll fantasy?
To play bass in an awesome 2 piece band with Aaron Von Cupples (The Red Baaron). That would be awesome.
14. Goals for the next 12 months?
Get huge, sell out, suck, break-up, get a drug habit, go to rehab, re-form, get huge again, sell out, suck, break up. It’s going to be a tight year, but if we can just release an L.P and get on some festival side-stages that would do it for me.
15. First time listeners, where should they start?
We don’t exactly have a huge back catalogue. There’s only six or seven songs up on-line at the moment, and they all have good qualities. But if you want to know why anyone in the world cares about us at-all, listen to “Less Unless“. That’s why.