MUSIC INTERVIEW: Circa Survive
Circa Survive are currently touring as many places as humanly possible to share their latest creative outlet, Descensus, with the world. Hot off the heels of a successful appearance at the annual Coachella festival, we sat down with guitarist Brendan Ekstromto discuss their UK touring plans, as well as their recent full length release.
First of all, how does it feel to be on course for your first UK shows in a long time?
It feels awesome. when we are somewhere over the middle of the ocean in a metal death box it will feel decidedly more like a panic attack. But then when we land it will feel awesome again. Basically it’s a real roller coaster of emotion. We can’t wait to be back and we hope not to die before we get to play some shows there.
Are you familiar with your touring partners or is the lineup going to be a journey of discovery for yourself also?
We know the Bandits but this is the first real tour we’ll get to do with them. We’re really looking forward to getting to hang with those guys. Watching them play is always inspiring for me so I can’t wait. I actually met From Indian Lakes because they were playing at Siren Records in my small town a while back. And yeah I hang out there way too much. So we’ll be getting to know those guys better too. It’s going to be awesome.
Has the experience of touring, especially overseas, altered as the band venture into new life experiences such as starting families?
Absolutely. I can’t speak first hand for Anthony’s experience but I know that his entire perspective on life changed when he had children. Everything means something different when you’re responsible for others and not just yourself. When we started doing this ten years ago everything we did was based around our own experiences and accomplishments. Now everything we do is supporting other people. It’s an interesting dynamic. Touring is at times much more difficult because we are missing family and not just girlfriends, but kids and wives and our parents who are getting older. But at the same time touring now has more meaning because we can directly see the work we put in each day transformed into the income that feeds our families and keeps a roof over their heads.
And how was partnering with Sumerian Records for the release of Descensus? Was releasing Violent Waves independently always intended to be an experiment or do you find that working with a label suits Circa Survive more?
Honestly, everything we’ve done label wise just seemed to line up for us. The self release was something we always wanted to try. It was awesome and we learned a lot but it was also a lot for us to take on while trying to be creative at the same time. Sumerian came along and wanted to partner with us in a way that made sense for both parties. They’ve been extremely supportive in helping us accomplish some things we would’ve had trouble doing if we’d done a second consecutive self release. Traveling internationally for instance is much less complicated with label backing. So UK and Europe fans please send Sumerian a thank you note.
Staying on Descensus, it’s a record that has a playful energy to it – whilst Violent Waves seemed more abrasive – is that indicative of the band’s current state of mind?
That’s an interesting way to put it. For me parts of Descensus are actually the most abrasive moments Circa has recorded. That tends to be the thing that stands out in my mind when I think of the tone of the record. We explored some aggression that had been building in our personal lives and didn’t censor anything that may not have “fit” with our past albums dynamics. That being said I do think we always challenge ourselves to express different types of mood within an album. You can see that difference in going from schema to nesting dolls or a song like Phantom.
Are there any new tracks that are instant set highlights for both the crowds you’ve played to as well as yourselves?
So far I think child of the desert has really left its mark on crowds and Nesting Dolls feels amazing for us to play. I think the crowds are feeling it too but I don’t usually see them during that song cause I’m tripping the balls of music so hard.
You like to keep your fans updated whilst on tour with short form video tour pieces, do you think you’d ever embark on a full length documentary that charts a landmark in the band’s career?
I really hope so. We’ve had the chance to work with some amazing videographers. Jamie Tanner and now Andy Swartz both have a great eye for capturing the reality of tour and life behind the scenes. We have a lot of material recorded so it’ll happen one day. Hopefully our fans aren’t all old and dead when we get it together.
And finally, following on from last year’s top notch Nirvana cover – are there any other tracks you’d like to sink your teeth in to in homage to a shared idol?
We did a second nirvana cover for Robotic Empire this year which comes out on a Nevermind tribute April 18. You can find our cover of “drain you” online. There are a few other things I want to do when we have some time off, a Kinks song and a Patsy Cline song among others. That stuff is always in the back of my mind but I spend most of my off time trying to write for Circa so it gets pushed to the back.
Brendan Ekstrom . 04.2015 . Bring The Noise UK Interview
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