Saturday, January 07, 2023

Circa Waves share thoughts ahead of their upcoming album release, ‘Never Going Under’, in exclusive interview with MITB

After two postponements – due to train delays and winter flu (turns out legendary indie trailblazers are just as human as we are!) – Music Is To Blame journalist Isobel Reeves caught up with Circa Waves Joe Falconer to chat all things to do with their fast-approaching album release and subsequent tour.

First off…talk to us a bit about the upcoming new album, ‘Never Going Under’. What’s the message behind it, and do you see any key overarching themes linking the tracks together?


It’s kind of like a comeback record, I guess. As the title suggests, it’s an album of resilience, which is something I feel like we all feel after the things that have happened over the last few years. Kieran [Shudall], the singer, also recently had a child, and so there’s some things about fatherhood, and particularly him thinking about the world that’s going to be left behind. There’s a song about mental health on there too, ‘Living in the Grey’, which is a really interesting track. But while there’s some quite heavy stuff, I think there’s a sort of latent optimism that goes across the whole record, which I think it referenced in the title.


Definitely. There’s a real relevance to the content on this record, and that’s striking just from a first listen. Am I right in saying the album was written over the course of the pandemic?


Yeah, so our last album, ‘Sad Happy’, literally charted the day that the first ever lockdown happened; we were recording that record and then were supposed to go out on tour, and then suddenly, like, nothing. So we basically went straight into the writing process. We’ve had some of these songs for quite a while, I think the first ideas came about eighteen months ago, but we had to have a new approach to the way that we made the record. Kieran was writing these songs and sending them over, and we were all on email talking it through, sending parts back and forth. When the first lockdown eased, we went up to Liverpool and sat and worked on some demos to try and figure out the record. And then…yeah, then we recorded it. So it was all a long process because we didn’t know when we’d be able to get back together to make it, but it was an interesting way of working, for sure.


Oh wow! Aside from obviously this new way of writing and recording, how do you see this album compared to some of your past releases?


We always like to do something different as a band, and I think if you listen across all of our records there’s a different thread that we follow, and we always try and push ourselves, but every time we go in a new direction, I think it helps us understand what it is that Circa Waves as a band is at its core. There’s always something quintessentially Circa Waves about every record that we make. I think in this record, the identity of the band is actually at its strongest, even though we’ve still pushed ourselves: it is the most ‘Circa Waves’ record that we’ve made.


Do you have any funny stories you can share with us from writing and recording ‘Never Going Under?’


Actually I do [laughs]. We were recording in RAK in London, and Muse and Green Day were in there at the same time. I’d left the studio like ten minutes before and they were packing up, and Kieran and the engineer, Caesar, and Caesar’s dog were going down, and they saw Billie Joe. But as they were talking to him Caesar’s dog started shitting, like right on the floor of the studio in front of him


[Laughs] Yep, definitely a funny story! And what would you say your favourite track is from the album?


Ooh, good question. For me, I always love the deep cuts, and I love ‘Living in the Grey’. I just think it’s sonically really beautiful, I think the lyrics are really poignant. Yeah, I think that’s my favourite, and I’m really glad we got to release it in December because sometimes those types of tracks just stay sitting on the album. It was like a little pre-Christmas release which was really good.


That was actually my favourite too when I listened to the album before this interview! So I was very happy when you released it early.


Yeah, it’s one of those things…people’s expectations of you as a band are one thing, but I think sometimes it’s really nice to go against those expectations.


What can we expect from you guys in the near future, other than, of course, the album release itself next week?


We’re going on tour: we’re doing a few small gigs to promote the record and then we’ve got our big tour at the end of January through to the start of February, then we’re off to Europe and the US and maybe some other parts of the world…and then festival season! And then hopefully we’ll go and make another record. I think after two years spent living a life of what it would be like if we were no longer doing the band, it’s been really great to be back, and we’ve got a new lease of life.


And finally…you just mentioned touring – what do you like to do to de-stress when you’re on tour? Do you have any go-to methods of relaxation?


Yeah definitely, I think we’d all have a different answer, but when we’re on tour and have days off, we love an activity, especially with the entire touring party. We often find the local Laser Quest or we go bowling – basically the sort of things you’d do for like a twelve-year-old’s birthday party.


Circa Waves’ new album, ‘Never Going Under’, out January 13th 2023. For more information about tour dates, and to buy tickets, visit the band’s Official Website.


Isobel Reeves


Image: Press

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