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Music |

Interview: Circa Waves

Thursday 05 March 2015

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Words Ailis Mara

In a downstairs bar somewhere around London, Spindle were offered a tater tot from the boys of Circa Waves, which is pretty much the way every interview should start. Although it perhaps shouldn’t end with the questionable ‘would you rathers’ that we finished on.

We had a saucy chat, literally, Joe tried some hot sauce and we uncovered that Colin is pretty much scared of all open condiments. We chat about Circa Waves‘ three-day bender recording the video for ‘Fossils’, their new album and what they do for fun in the sun.

We’ll start with the boring stuff. How did you guys meet?

Joe: Wikipedia.
Kieran: Football.
Sam: Liverpool.
Kieran: It’s not really that interesting. Go on Colin, how did we meet?
Colin: We all met at Liverpool Sound City festival.
Kieran: Where were you?
Colin: I was not there. It’s where Kieran, Sam and Joe met, as Kieran was stage manager of the festival.
Kieran: Well remembered.
Colin: And Joe was… playing, and Sam was just a punter.
Sam: Although I met Kieran the week before at a five aside game.
Kieran: You’re convoluting it.
Sam: I want the truth to come out that I met you at a football game.
Colin: Were you playing against each other?
Sam: We were playing against each other. He impressed me.
Kieran: I did a wild kick.

I did see you guys on Soccer AM, you got the football in Kieran, no one ever gets it in.

Colin: We were all told we shouldn’t so Kieran could get it.
Kieran: And we picked him (Colin) up on the way. He was living in a small town in Alaska when we played a gig through there, he said “would you like to buy some monkfish” and we said “we would, you don’t sound like you’re from Alaska” and he said “no, I am trying to find home”. So we picked him up. And we discovered that he had fantastic forearms which actually were perfect for drumming.
Colin: And they’ve been teaching me this Essex accent.
Kieran: Yeah and we taught him drumming and he’s just picked it up fantastically.

And how much of that is the truth.

Sam: That his name is Colin.
Kieran: He’s alright at drumming. But it’s all pretty much true, you can write all that down.

You were nominated for Best New Band in NME Awards, what is your award winning speech? (Soz, it went to Royal Blood).

Kieran: Not being like the modest “I don’t think we’ll win that”, I’m pretty sure we won’t win just because I know how it sort of works.
Joe: There’s literally no chance.
Kieran: We haven’t planned anything.
Joe: I’d give my award to Beyoncé I think. I’d say “This is for Beyoncé, she had the greatest music video of all time”. And then we’d have a fistfight. That’s the plan.
Sam: When I was unemployed…
Kieran: What a way to start a story.
Sam: My job advisor said “what job do you want?” and I said, “well I’m a trained musician so I’m looking for music jobs”, I explained for a length of time about how I was qualified and she said “okay, I’ll put Argos stockroom, how’s that?”. But I’d give her a massive “fuck you Eileen”.
Joe: To be fair though, you would’ve been good at the Argos stockroom because you’re quite tall and you would’ve been able to reach all the shelves. Because I imagine there’d be a lot of shelves.
Kieran: Missed a chance there mate.


The debut album is out in March, what was the whole writing process like for that?

Kieran: I wrote it.
Colin: Said Kieran.
Kieran: Said Kieran… I wrote most of them quite close to each other, a few of them sort of varied into slightly earlier territory, but they were all written in about a six months time frame. I’d write a few songs then bring them in and talk about what we thought, what to do with them. Whichever sounded the best live we kept. When we did the record we went in with 18 tracks and narrowed it down from there really.

Nice. And the new track ‘T-Shirt Weather’ was out recently. But most importantly, what is your favourite thing to do when it is t-shirt weather?

Unanimous: Oooh.
Joe: Do you know what I haven’t had in a while, a water fight. I remember water fights used to be planned.
Sam: When you get older, when someone get’s out a watergun it’s like for fuck sake.
Colin: I’ve got my nice clothes on!
Sam: Yeah. I’ve got my new clobber on, this t-shirt cost me twenty quid you bellend.
Joe: If someone says “how do you know you’re an adult?”, it’s when someone squirts you with a water pistol and you don’t find it funny.
Sam: My favourite t-shirt weather thing is afternoon drinking. Sitting around in the sun drinking.
Colin: Playing Frisbee.
Sam: If someone could’ve said to me when I was 15 that “I know schools shit and all that stuff but when you’re a bit older you’ll do this”, then I would’ve just put up with it.
Kieran: I love afternoon football. Like 2-3 hours when you’re a kid, not even a kid, when you’re 16. You get so unbelievably sweaty playing football and then maybe one of your mates opens a beer.


Colin: 16?!
Kieran: Tell me about it.
Colin: Gosh, this is my first (referring to the fourth pint the boys’ are on).
Kieran: I love playing footy when it’s really hot. That’s my t-shirt weather.

Where was the video for ‘Fossils’ recorded? Were you touring?

Joe: Yeah, it was when we were on tour with The Libertines. The director, he’s an English guy but he’s based in LA, we just did the Ally Pally with The 1975. We had our first ever tour bus, we haven’t had one since, and it was just for three days. We did Amsterdam, Berlin, and Düsseldorf. So this guy came over from LA and he jumped on the bus with us. It was half tour, half stag weekend feeling. On our day off we were like “we need to film this music video now”. So we went into town and we had some cocktails didn’t we?
Kieran: The idea was that we started with a champagne breakfast.
Colin: And cigars.
Joe: I ended up like 6o’clock in the morning lying in the carpark of an arena listening to music with the director going “this was really fun, I love you man”.
Sam: I remember getting to about 3 and feeling I gotta go. I didn’t say a word to anyone I just walked off.
Joe: He did a Captain Oates. We should call Sam Captain Oates.
Sam: I do that a lot, I just go “nope”.
Joe: He oates out.
Kieran: You have to wonder what your brain was thinking because you wake up the next day and everyone’s like “you didn’t say anything last night, you just went off” and you go “really? That’s not like me”. What it must’ve thought is “HOME”.
Joe: Most of it was shot in Berlin, but we had that day off, it was so sunny but it was the 3rd October. It was t-shirt weather. We did loads of fun stuff, we had Mexican food and champagne, cocktails, we played mini golf.
Sam: Do you know what’s funny though, because everyday on that tour we drank so much and because we drank on that day it didn’t feel like a day off. That’s what a day off feels like, it felt like being at work.
Joe: We were so excited to have a tour bus we just got so rowdy the entire time.
Kieran: Me and Colin just got naked one night. We got fully naked one night and just ran into their room. They were just like “what are you doing?”. They were so unimpressed.
Sam: It was funny though.
Joe: The other support band who were on the tour as well, they shared the bus with us, I just remember them going “you guys just drink a lot, don’t you?”
Kieran: They were very gentle Scotsmen.
Joe: We took it a bit far I think.
Sam: They were lovely blokes.
Kieran: They were very good to bring you back down after a night of drinking and then in the morning, “you alright lads? How’s it going?” and you’d just [insert coiling away from hangover] “stop. Stop being so Scottish it’s scaring me”.

And didn’t you just record another video, was that for T-Shirt Weather?

Kieran: Yes.

Did you have to pretend it was t-shirt weather and freeze your bum off?

Joe: It was actually shot in the pitch black in a warehouse.
Sam: We filmed a three-minute metaphor.
Joe: I dunno, I suppose we could have shot it outside but it wouldn’t of worked.
Kieran: We didn’t have the budget to go to Spain.
Joe: So we went to Bow instead.
Kieran: It’s based around the idea that like, well the song is really based around nostalgia and all that kind of stuff, the past and rose tinted glasses, so there’s a carousel and we played on it and a film reel type of thing played.

Is it weird that it sounds quite creepy, playing in a dark warehouse on a carousel?

Kieran: And then a man attacked us.
Joe: It’s all the meta-narrative.
Kieran: He keeps on saying meta…
Joe: It’s basically inspired by U2.
Kieran: Don’t say that, that’s on record now. Look what you’ve done. She’s gonna use that guaranteed.
Joe: We really like how adventurous they are.

You were recently touring with The 1975 and went to Japan and Australia, how was that?

Kieran: It’s funny when you say that because I go “really?!”.
Joe: It was really fun actually.
Sam: It was the easiest tour schedule we’ve ever done. It was gig, day off, gig, two days off, gig, three days off. It was a massive holiday. You never get an easy as schedule as that. Even they were saying I don’t know why it’s happened. We had three days off in Melbourne.
Joe: We just went to the same cocktail bar everyday.
Sam: We found this awesome building where it was a Thai restaurant, then a cocktail bar, then another bar and a rooftop bar. We were just there everyday.
Joe: We went to the top and worked our way down slowly.
Kieran: I think the top one closed first so you’d work your way down like that. But we’re not just alcoholics. The gigs… I remember the last gig in Brisbane, it was like 40 degrees. It was so hot that this guy almost took his top off and he never takes his top off.
Sam: I nearly did the gig shirtless and I’ve never done that, it’s too cliché. I was so hot I was like I’m going to have to but I don’t want to.
Colin: We did have a long day walking.
Kieran: We got lost. We got lost on the way to the venue, we all turned up sunburnt.
Joe: I was so excited about the prospect of having sun in January that I was like “let’s walk to the venue from the hotel, it’s only like half an hour”. But half an hour in that heat is the worst.
Sam: And you (Kieran) complained the whole way there.
Kieran: Well it was about an hour.
Colin: Yeah it was.
Sam: Five minutes in, as soon as it became apparent that we were nowhere near where we were going, all I could hear was “are we not there yet?”.
Colin: I do blame the taxi driver as we went over the bridge, “it’s an easy five minute walk”.

It was probably an easy five-minute drive.

Sam: He said it was a five-minute walk, and ten minutes later, driving, we still weren’t there.
Kieran: We probably should’ve known.
Joe: But the gigs were mental. Those crowds were insane and they were always full by the time we started playing. Their audience is young and they just love everything. Our show in Sydney got stopped after twenty minutes because the crowd was just pushing and crushing. They’ve all been waiting in the sun from 5o’clock.
Sam: You could see people crying in the front and trying to get the attention of the security to pull them out.
Kieran: I just sing to misery. It was difficult though, we’ve never experienced anything like that. At the end of one of the songs I was like “can you step back”. During one song it got really bad and someone said “the police are stopping it, you need to get off”. We rocked that hard…
Joe: For all the twenty minutes we were out, it was perfect.
Sam: That was the best we were playing on that tour. Obviously we were smashing it but it was one of those gigs where everyone seemed to be on really good form and it got pulled.
Kieran: We ended on a high.

Your headline tour is in April, where’s going to be the hotspot for you?

Sam: Shephards Bush Empire.
Joe: I’m not gonna lie, the biggest one in the capital city of the country is probably the one. I guess for you Liverpool.
Kieran: Well Shephards Bush yeah, but Manchester Ritz. When we first started, our first ever tour was with Twin Peaks and they played The Ritz. Another thing is it’s one of the coolest venues I’ve ever been to and the floor bounces. It’s spring loaded.
I remember saying to the singer, “you must be made up that you’ve nearly sold this out”. And he was like “yeah, whatever”. And I thought imagine coming back here and selling it out, and we nearly have and by March we definitely would have. So to go back to there, with it sold out, and to play that. It’s a real landmark of how far we’ve come in a short space of time.
Sam: But Shephards Bush Empire has always been one of them, I have a few friends that are in bands and we’ve always talked about Shephards Bush Empire.

Are you getting to it first?

Sam: Yeah, I get the bragging rights, which is pretty awesome.
Kieran: I’ve never been there and I’m not going to look at any pictures, I just want to arrive and go “woah”.
Colin: I’ve seen so many of my favourite bands play there.


Would you rather eat a spoonful of ketchup or mayonnaise?

Sam: Mayo.
Joe: Mayo.
Colin: I hate sauce.
Kieran: Mayo.

(Proceed to take the mick out of Colin’s strongly Essex hate for sauce).

Joe: Technically it’s a harder question for him then because we all have opinions. You have to choose…
Colin: I’d throw up. Someone once got a bit of tissue with ketchup on and wiped it on my arm, and I was sick.

Are the sauces on the table making you feel uneasy?

Colin: No, no.
Sam: (Moves sauces closer) how about now?
Joe: So when I touched the hot sauce earlier?
Colin: Yeah it did make me go. Ketchup.
Kieran: You’ve had a McDonald’s hamburger before though haven’t you?
Colin: Yeah but I don’t have sauce in it.
Kieran: Colin has the diet of a fussy seven year old. 

Would you rather have no knees or no elbows?

Sam: No knees.
Joe: No knees.
Colin: If you had no elbows, would it just be straight. How could I play drums?
Joe: You literally couldn’t even touch your face. You’d have to toss food into your mouth.
Kieran: Yeah, no knees.
Joe: Wait, no knees implies you can’t even walk. Is it stiff or is it floppy?

I’m assuming stiff.

Joe: Okay, if it’s stiff no knees, but if it’s floppy… No elbows. (Proceeds to wave arms around like those inflatables).

Would you rather be two foot taller or two foot shorter?

Kieran: Taller.
Colin: Shorter.
Sam: Two foot?
Joe: You want to be like three foot?
Sam: I’d be 8ft 3.
Joe: Taller because then I can play in the NBA, you could dunk as well, that would be enough.
Colin: But then you’ve got to watch out where you’re walking, you (Sam) already have problems with that now.
Sam: I have to duck down in photos.

You can’t really tell when you’re all sat down that you’re that tall.

Sam: I’m all leg.