INTERVIEW: Circa Waves Is Ready For World Domination
  • THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017

  • Posted by: Mandi Dudek

"I need something that gets the heart going", frontman Kieran Shudall said when I asked what music has influenced his UK rock band, Circa Waves. And that;s exactly what Circa Waves' music does when you hear it. It gives you all the heart-racing, bounce-inducing feels.

Shudall met his three other bandmates - Sam Rourke, Colin Jones, and Joe Falconer - at a music festival in Liverpool back in 2013. The same year, Circa Waves released their debut single, "Get Away/Good For Me", but when Zane Lowe premiered the band's second single, "Stuck in My Teeth", and dubbed it his Hottest Record in the World, Circa Waves became the UK's next big thing.

Circa Waves' popularity grew so quickly that their gigs were so buzzy that they were forced to secretly perform under pseudonyms such as Malkovich Malkovich and Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet. They were selling out shows, performing at music festivals and supporting The 1975 on tour, all before they dropped a debut album. In March of 2015, Circa Waves released their first album, Young Chasers and last month - almost exactly two years later - the band came back with their newest album, Different Creatures.

Circa Waves' sound is influenced by big names like Foo Fighters, The Maccabees, The Killers, Smashing Pumpkins and Arcade Fire. Different Creatures was actually co-produced by Alan Moulder, who has worked with a lot of Circa Waves' influences. I was able to chat with Circa Waves' frontman, Kieran Shudall, on the phone while the band was at their Amsterdam stop of the tour. We talked all about Different Creatures, what's next for Circa Waves and what it was like working with Alan Moulder.



Mandi Dudek: How's the tour going so far?

Kieran Shudall: It's awesome. We've only done three shows so it's just started really. The shows have gotten bigger over here so it's nice.

MD: How do you think the fans are reacting to the new album?

KS: Amazing, really. I was worried that it would be too heavy for some of them but they all seemed to have embraced it and made it their own so it's been really good. I love it.

MD: With the new sound, and how Circa Waves has grown so much - musically and lyrically - it's almost like the band is reborn. Is that where you got the name Different Creatures for the record?

KS: Yeah, kind of! It certainly was an evolution of our sound and we obviously made it harder and tougher and heavier - it's a bit more meaningful. I did feel like, over the last three years, we've all changed quite a lot so it felt like a very fitting title.

MD: Were you nervous to change your sound up a little? Especially with the solid fan base you developed from your debut album?

KS: Yeah, I mean, it's always a bit of a risk but I feel like you have to take risks to progress. And I think as long as your songs as good, your fans will always follow you. Heavy music is sort of something some people may be scared of. But that may be because you heard the wrong kind of heavy music and we're the right kind of heavy music - if that makes sense [laughs.]

MD: Yeah, totally! I also feel like Different Creatures is more raw and personal than Young Chasers - some even get a little political. Did one specific event inspire the writing for Different Creatures?

KS: There's a few things, I suppose. The media and my own depression and anxiety. I was certainly at a low point when I was writing this song called "Out On My Own." It was just a song about that feeling when you're surrounded by people but really feeling a bit isolated. Then our song "Different Creatures" was about the Syrian refugee crisis that was ongoing at the time of writing it. I felt like I wanted to write something about that, really. Just how people were getting angry at other people trying to survive by coming to our countries to live. I was annoyed at by how bleak certain people were by that so I wanted to write about it.

MD: And do you think the anger and frustration of it all influenced the heavier sound of this album?

KS: I've always written heavier music and it just happened when I wrote Young Chasers, for the three months or so of that record, I was into that sort of garage-y surfer rock, whereas naturally, Different Creatures is more the type of stuff I write. It's more natural.

MD: Did the writing process differ from Young Chasers to Different Creatures?

KS: In no way. It's exactly the same. I write everything at home and then demo everything and try to get the song to the exact same place as it will be when we record it so that way, it's easy to know whether a song is good or not. I think it's dangerous to be in a rehearsal room and just playing a song wild and heavy - everything sounds good that way. You need to demo it and see if its actually any good. I like to do that a lot and lock myself away for a bit and indulge myself in my music.

MD: I heard the album is co-produced by Alan Moulder (Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys) and is it right Alan heard you guys on the radio and called you up to work on Different Creatures?

KS: It came through the engineer that was working with us and he happened to be working with Alan Moulder. Apparently, Alan heard us on the radio and said, "Why the fuck aren't I doing this record?" And so [our engineer] got in touch with us and said, "You know Alan wants to do this?" and I was like, "we had no idea." So, we had our management call his management and did the whole "our people will speak to your people" thing. And Alan was like "Yeah, I want to do it." It was a no-brainer, in the end.

MD:That's incredible. What was it like working with someone like Alan Moulder?

KS: He's incredible. He's the most patient man Ive ever met. He has so much time for trying ideas out and trying new things. He has a really good ear for what a song deserves and what a song needs. If the chorus needs a low-frequency or more of a high-frequency or a touch a guitar here or a touch of bass there. He brings all the better parts out of the bad, really.

MD: Where did the idea for the album artwork come from? I love how it's two eyeballs that look like little plants.

KS: When we thought about the title Different Creatures, we wanted two things to combine like the eyes and the stem was like two creatures coming together. We had a few ideas of what it could be and we tried a different things like a dog's head on a bicycle [laughs] so we had terrible ideas for it. But I think it was Colin who came up with the idea for an eye and we thought an eye coming out of a flower would be really interesting. A guy created it graphically for us because we're all really terrible at art so yeah, it came out really good. I'm really happy with it.

MD: I really like the way it came out - it's super rad. I just finished watching your music video that was released last week for "Goodbye." Which show was that video filmed at?

KS: Oh, that was during our UK tour so we were in Manchester. We always wanted to do a live video because we've always liked those types of videos. We wanted to capture what our gigs are like for everyone, really. Because in the US and abroad, we're not as big as we are in the UK so it was cool to show everyone what we're all about.



MD: It turned out great. It looked like a lot of fun. Where are you guys headed to next? Do you come to the US also?

KS: Yeah, we're hoping to sort out a US tour, hopefully this June, but it's still in the works. Which I'm hoping we get word about soon - still trying to workout visas and all that kind of stuff. But yeah, we're in Europe for the next couple of weeks and a couple of UK festivals then hopefully America. And then more UK festivals, European festivals and hopefully, American festivals as well.

MD: Are there any bands that you're really into right now?

KS: I think the main band we've been listening to is called Inheaven. They're from the UK and have this bounce, spongy, kind of poppy vibe - it's incredible.

MD: What's next for Circa Waves?

KS: The next thing is touring, then to push this second record out into the world and then commence world domination, I guess. [laughs] We want to become the biggest band we can possibly be and that's what it's about. We want to show people our music and play bigger venues.



PHOTO CREDIT: JOOST VANDEBRUG
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