An Interview with Circa Waves for Spindle Magazine's 'Dreams' Issue
Who are the main artists that you’re listening to at the moment?
Kieran: I listened to a lot of the new Cage the Elephant stuff randomly, because that’s got a really cool blues-y, grunge-y, Pixies kind of vibe, which definitely rubbed off on me. And then loads of old stuff. We produced with Alan Moulder so I went back to all of Smashing Pumpkins’ stuff, and listening to bands like The Queens of the Stone Age, but it’s quite varied and a lot heavier than before.
Do you ever look elsewhere for inspiration to your sound and where?
Kieran: I think we’ve wanted to move away from the ‘small sound’ of the first record. I think the first record is the opposite of it. Just adding layers and making it as grand and as cinematic as possible really, so we just kind of inspired ourselves to not be like ourselves, if that makes sense?
What were your dreams of the future while growing up?
Joe: I think that when I was younger, there felt like there was going to be opportunities for our generation in particular. You feel like as technology improves and as time progresses, people can learn from their mistakes and then the future should therefore be optimistic, and I feel like perhaps that was sold a little short to our generation. But then I feel like there’s a general mood going around at the moment that that’s going on, and maybe it takes a bit of antagonism for things to change and get better. But then again, don’t people just get more cynical as they get older?
Kieran: I guess I got into music the same way that all musicians do, just by discovering that you like music more than most people, and you sort of obsess over one or two particular albums when you’re growing up and realise that’s a bit different to your other friends. Then gradually, a lot of things I was into as a young kid fell by the wayside and music took over, and I knew at that point I should just concentrate on that, because that was obviously what I was infatuated with.
Talk me through the upcoming album ‘Different Creatures’, how would you package it up and sell it to me?
Joe: So, the idea is that it is a development of what came before. If people have an expectation of what they thought the band was in the past, then I think it is a challenge to those expectations. Everyone grows up and becomes a lot more aware of what they’re about and has more ambition, and I think that this record is a musical format of that idea.
Kieran: And I suppose the first record was kind of based in a daytime, summery vibe whereas this one has moved into nighttime - more personal and more sinister.
I read that you feel a disenchantment with the world you see and this has really had an impact on the songwriting in the new album?
Kieran: I suppose watching years and years of shit TV like X-Factor and Made in Chelsea, and watching kids follow that and want to emulate it made me feel a bit sick. So I sort of wrote a bit about it, not in any majorly thought-out way. Watching things like the Syrian crisis happening and there’s all the sort of border control thing going on, you see from a purely humanist standpoint how bizarre and fucked up it was. Even though I’m not political, I could see that something was incredibly wrong with what was happening, and it accidentally came out in a track called ‘Different Creatures’ which was about how if you were born in that place, you would be doing exactly the same as those people. Everyone’s connected in that weird way really.
And in terms of comparing ‘Different Creatures’ to your debut album ‘Young Chasers’, how would you say the music has changed or developed since then?
Kieran: I think it’s more thought-out. I think it’s a lot more expansive, I think we didn’t restrain ourselves in any way.
Joe: There’s a lot more detail in the new songs I think. While it still has that same catchy elements that people identity with the band, I think if you delve into it and break it down, there’s a lot more going on in every sort of moment. It is a lot more conceived as an idea.
What was it like working with producer Alan Moulder on the album?
Kieran: Yeah he was brilliant, he had this kind of incredible patience which with young musicians who don’t really know what they want all the time, is kind of important. Especially with me, because I don’t necessarily know what is inside my head but I can hear it. So it takes
a while for me to communicate that sometimes, and his experience really helped me figure out what it was I wanted to achieve. And then, if you ask “can you make the snare drum to sound like this Foo Fighters record?” or “can you make this pedal sound like this Smashing Pumpkins record?”, he’s either mixed it or recorded it, so he’s got the direct knowledge to achieve it. We’ve never had that before, so it’s fucking really cool.
What advice would you give to yourselves as a band when you first started out?
Joe: I think it was much better off making our own mistakes. I don’t think I wanted to take anyone else’s advice, it would have been helpful but...
Sam: Weren’t you saying the other day that you wish you had partied more? We were out for a few pints and on the way home, and said “God! I wish we just partied more?!” That was the only complaint we ever had, so I would just advise myself to do that. He says, drinking a lime and soda.
Kieran: You never remember the hangovers, you only remember the good times. I think I’d tell myself not to listen to anyone else. All of my other bands just pretty much struggled for years and years, but the people who keep going and keep going are the ones that tend to prevail. So just be blind and as naive as possible, and just fucking believe that you’re going to do it.