INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
From South Yorkshire, Civic Green are an emerging four-piece – comprising of vocalist/guitarist Dan Hall, guitarist Matty Walker, bassist/vocalist Andy Lowman, and drummer Gav Darley – who play a sound that they personally describe as “loud as fuck indie rock n’ roll“.
So far, the band have mainly performed live shows around their local area, including a set at iconic Sheffield venue The Leadmill to full capacity, and having recently unveiled a new single – entitled ‘Sunlit Shore‘ – the quartet chatted to me about all of this and more, giving out some humorous answers along the way.
How did the band first get together?
It started back in 2016, when Dan and Andy (who have been mates since they were around four years old) finally found a drummer for the band they had been looking to form for years.
Three years, and numerous line-up changes, later, Gav responded to an advert online, and brought Matty in (who he has also been mates with for a number of years), and the line-up finally feels complete.
How did the name Civic Green come about?
Civic Green came from our first drummer, who used to get pissed as a 14-year old on the grass (green) outside the Civic in Barnsley, hence the name. We never got around to changing it when we left as a) We couldn’t think of anything better, and b) Quite frankly, we couldn’t be arsed.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
We’ve got a wide range of influences from different genres, ranging from 1950’s music to the present, and everything in between. We feel that gives us the ability to create tunes that are original, yet feel familiar. (Basically, we rip everybody off/people are too obscure to notice – we don’t wanna make it too obvious and get sued, although if they want to sue us for our earnings, then they’re fucking welcome to the £7 each we made in gig earnings)
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
There are a few ways of coming up with ideas, but it always starts with the music and a melody, then progresses from there. It either starts at practice where someone comes up with a bit of a riff or a chord progression that turns into something more, or Dan will bring something in to work on, then we will slowly build on the idea.
The lyrics come last, and take the longest. Dan will go away to finish them, then do an acoustic demo for everyone when they’re finally done to use as a reference.
What inspires the band lyrically?
Various things inspire the lyrics, sometimes we’re not sure what they mean, but they make sense in a strange way, but the main theme of a lot of our songs seems to be escapism and looking towards better things, the prime example being our song ‘Better Days‘.
Some of the lyrics are based on real things, and some of them are stories and things that just sound good when put together.
Recently, you unveiled a new single – entitled ‘Sunlit Shore’. How was the recording process for that?
The recording process for ‘Sunlit Shore‘ was a really quick one. We recorded it with Alan Smyth at 2Fly Studios (the genius behind the first Arctic Monkeys album), and we did it in two takes, the first one we think we ended up using. It was mixed and mastered pretty much in one day, then came out within a week or so. Laughing.
And how has the response been to the track so far?
The reaction so far has been superb. In the feedback we’ve had, people have compared us to quite a few bands from a few different genres, so it’s encouraging to know that we’re appealing to audiences across the musical spectrum (Also, no-one has told us yet that we are shit, and to pack the band in). So far, so good.
The band have mainly performed live in Sheffield. How is the experience – for you all – of playing on stage?
Playing live can be quite a tumultuous experience, as one week, you’re playing to a packed out Leadmill, the next, you’re playing to three people (one of them being the sound engineer) in Barnsley, because the fourth person has been kicked out for throwing a chair through a window.
As for the actual playing on stage, it can be one of the best feelings in the world, when everything is just going right, and people are getting in to it, but equally, it can be one of the worst experiences and make you want to never pick a guitar up again, or wrap it around your bandmate’s head when you play a bad gig.
What are your plans for the near future?
Our plans for the future just involve playing as many gigs as we can possibly fit in, and to keep getting better as a band. Also, we want to record and release a new single with a snazzy little video to accompany it.
And lastly, what is the band’s long-term aim?
The long-term aim is to take the band as far as it can go, whether that is playing stadiums, or lingering about in boozers with the windows missing, because a quarter of the crowd has put them through.
Ideally for Dan, said stadiums would involve Oakwell [Barnsley], whereas the rest of the band would prefer Elland Road [Leeds United].
‘SUNLIT SHORE’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM CIVIC GREEN – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: