Civic Green are an indie rock band from Barnsley (UK) who formed in 2015. The band comprises of Danny Hall (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Matty Walker (lead guitar), Andy Lowman (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Gav Darley (drums). The band recently released their debut EP ‘Sailing The River’. For an in-depth look of the album, please check out this interview by our friend Sara from the Bucket Playlist.
I spoke to lead singer Danny about what gets their creative juices flowing and the importance of artwork.
What dynamics do the members bring to the band?
“We’ve got quite a range of tastes in music so I think we’ve got a good mixture of things going off. Gav’s drumming is definitely influenced by Foo Fighters which mixed with mine and Andy’s more British musical style makes for a interesting combination. Matty is also just a really creative lead guitarist and can come up great sounding melodies.”
What musicians have really been inspiring you all since you first started making music?
“It’s always been about great songwriting for me personally. People like Frank Turner have been one of the big influences, and Jamie T who has a great unique sound and style but without forsaking the most important part – the songs. It was initially 90’s indie rock that got me into music but it has branched out a bit over the years. I love a bit of Bruce Springsteen, they don’t call him The Boss for nothing.”
How do you go about writing songs and what gets your creative juices flowing?
“I usually just sit on an acoustic guitar and sometimes it won’t work or it’ll feel very uninspired and monotonous, so I’ll just try and get into a better headspace and come back to it. I’ve noticed a lot more lately that being able to write well is a lot to do with how I’m feeling mentally and how present I am. Sometimes you can get stuck in your thought patterns and nothing sounds very fresh. Once I start strumming on a guitar, I’ll get the melody of the song and then slowly piece together the lyrics from that. Listening to some new tunes is a good way to get things started sometimes and can get you in the mood to sit down and write something.”
‘The Writing’s On The Wall’ is currently in our chart. What can you tell me about this song?
“‘The Writing’s On The Wall’ is one that came out of a jam between me and Gav one weekend. It’s very Beatles-y in the intro, and I think the chord progression owes a bit of something to Champagne Supernova (by Oasis), but we’ve added our own style to it and made it into something of our own. We also hadn’t a string section play on it, which really added to the sound of the track! Matty’s guitar solo in this is also brilliant, he came up with that on the spot, it’s almost sing-able.”
You released your debut EP ‘Sailing The River’ in June. Are you happy with the reception of the EP?
“Yeah, absolutely. People have loved the new songs and we’ve nearly sold out of our initial batch of CD’s! You can still buy them by them!”
Let’s talk about your artwork. It has a striking style with certain recurring elements like celestial bodies. Who makes your artwork? Is there a story behind the artwork and the use of celestial bodies?
“All of our artwork is done by Liam Moxon, he has his own artist pages under the name of Distorted North which you can find across social media. Coincidentally, Liam is our old drummer! There’s no specific meaning for us, it’s just Liam’s really cool surrealist style.”
With streaming of music being more popular than ever, what are your thoughts about the degrees to which artists should be investing time (and money) in imagery that might help their products stand out?
“We live in a generation where casual listeners will decide whether they want to listen to you or not, largely based on the artwork. People typically spend 0.7 seconds deciding from that artwork if they want to give you a listen and therefore it’s imperative that it’s eye catching, easy to digest and immediately conveys the emotion in the tracks that it represents. Because at the end of the day emotion is what music is all about.”
Many bands I’ve met say that the album is dead and it’s better to release EP’s and singles just to remind people more often about your existence. What are your thoughts about this topic?
“I think a lot of people have lost the ability to listen to a full album anymore. Let alone a new artist they are taking a chance on, which is sad. Peoples attention spans just seem to have been fragmented by modern technology and the sensory bombardment of social media, in my opinion. There is still hope for the album, I think artists who have established themselves with their early singles and EP’s will have the fan base that are willing to invest that time into listening to an album. Bands such The Lathums and The Snuts have had success with their albums – which are both great may I add.”
Which do you prefer, studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience?
“Both are great. Both can have their good and bad points. Personally for me being in the studio and seeing a song come to life and build is just really exciting and is such a buzz. Live shows can be just as good when you have a great audience though.”
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would that be?
“Streaming royalites, not really sustainable earning a fraction of a pence for a stream is it? Oh, and the whole ‘pay your way to success’ thing that some bands seem to be doing these days. There’s also a lot of ****heads involved in the music industry and chancers looking to make money out of you.”
Can you recommend some up and coming artists in your local area that you want to give a shout out to?
“Manchester is fairly local to us and has some great bands coming through at the minute such as The Shed Project, Spangled, Rosellas.”
Any plans for the rest of the year?
“Just to gig and promote our EP as much as possible really. To sell as many vinyls, CD’s and T-shirts as humanly possible!”
What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?
“Lee Ford – ‘Push Bikes’. I love the guitar intro and the rawness to it. Great lyrics also.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?
“Spangled – ‘Good Life Better’. It’s the best song I’ve heard this year so far. Incredible tune.”
The EP is available to buy via bandcamp on vinyl, CD and digital download. The link can be found on the band’s linktree.
(All photos by Abi Salt.)