CIVIC Take Nothing For Granted
Tucked away in Zone One of Brooklyn’s Elsewhere, the warm glow of dim red lights illuminated the stage as Australian garage punks CIVIC made their New York City debut. Only a week into their first ever U.S tour, the group take the stage with a fiery gusto that ignited the crowd inside the packed room.
Earlier this year, CIVIC released their sophomore album Taken by Force, a fiery blend of hardcore, garage and punk with post-apocalyptic undertones sprinkled throughout. Before the band made a pit stop in New York City, Northern Transmissions caught up with singer Jim McCullough to chat through their new music, this tour and their approach to live shows.
Northern Transmissions : Firstly, welcome to the states. This is your first U.S tour – what’s that been like so far?
Jim McCullough: I can’t believe it’s been a week already – yeah, it’s been really good.
We played Durham (North Carolina) last night. The shows have been good; they’ve been pretty consistent. We’ve been selling heaps of records, merchandise, t-shirts and stuff – which is always good for us. It helps us come back, you know?
Northern Transmissions: For sure, yeah.
JM: And also just meeting people – like last night I met this guy and he was like “you’re my favorite band,” and he was just so stoked to see us. And I was just like “that’s enough for me.” It doesn’t even need to be a sold out room, just meeting someone on the other side of the world who’s that stoked to even just watch us. That’s so sick, you know?
Northern Transmissions: I can imagine it must be thrilling. I wanted to ask, since your 2018 debut EP New Vietnam, how have you seen your songwriting as a group evolve and develop?
JM: When we originally started we had intentions for it to sound a specific way, leaning towards 70’s Australian bands. That was the intention. And then, I guess, that has naturally just progressed and then we’ve kind of formed our own sound out of that. It’s hard to say it from where we’re sitting, you know, because they all sort of sound like CIVIC songs to us. But I know that there’s been an evolution.
Northern Transmissions: So much like yourselves, it seems that so many of today’s most exciting garage and punk acts are coming from Australia. How has the music community in Melbourne shaped your approach to being in a band and your live shows?
JM: Well, we’ve all been in Melbourne for ages but we’re not all from Melbourne like that. Some members are from Brisbane and other cities, but we’ve all known each either through punk – and I think that’s the beautiful thing about punk and especially Australian stuff. Like, even though you’re in a different city or different town, like we all kind of know each other through the scene. So the scene’s really good down in Melbourne – and yeah, the crowds! We always get a really good response.
Northern Transmissions: Well – what’s your relationship like to the crowds here?
JM: So last night this guy said “Sorry the crowd wasn’t really going off,” and I was kinda just like “well… I don’t have that expectation and I don’t think it’s really a gauge of a show.” But also I think also, when we play places for the first time, sometimes it’s a bit of a shock. People don’t know what to do, which is what we found. But the crowds will still sing along and stuff.
Northern Transmissions: You’re up for “BEST ROCK OR PUNK WORK” at the Music Victoria Awards! Tell me what that experience is like for you?
JM: We actually won it like two years ago, so it was kind of funny that we got nominated again. None of us ever thought that we’d be kind of getting nominated for awards doing a punk band. I think it goes back to what you were saying before about there being a lot of eyes on Australian punk and garage at the moment; now it’s getting its time in the sun.Sometimes you don’t know how to feel about it. But having said that, it’s still sick. You’ve got to just accept it; you’ve just got to go with the flow.
Order Tickets for CIVIC HERE
Looking for something new to listen to?
Sign up to our all-new newsletter for top-notch reviews, news, videos and playlists.