Circa Waves interview: "these shows are going to be historical."

We spoke to lead singer of Circa Waves, Kieran Shudall about the release of their brand new album, what they love about playing live, and their upcoming tour which includes Sheffield's O2 Academy 2.

Lorna Gray

Last updated: 15th Mar 2017.
Originally published: 6th Mar 2017

Image: Circa Waves

Having only released their debut, Young Chasers two years ago, Liverpool based four piece Circa Waves have shown no signs of stopping. Hype has started building for the release of their next musical endeavour, Different Creatures, which has been meticulously created with eager fans await its reveal. 

Snippets and teases have been divulged to their anticipating fanbase, with singles such as 'Fire That Burns' giving a taste of what's to come. Tthe video has also attracted attention as it contains a B-movie narrative and stars Game of Thrones actor Isaac Hempstead.

We spoke to lead singer and guitarist Kieran Shudall ahead of their upcoming UK tour, about their new album and what it is that the band like about being on the road. 

Your new album Different Creatures is out pretty soon, how does it differ from your debut? 

It doesn't differ that much, it's still us. It's definitely a bit darker and a bit grittier, a bit more guitar focused. 

You seem to have gone away from the pop-y sound, was this a natural progression?

Yeah, it wasn't a conscious thing, I think the last album was just an expression of a place I was at and this is the same, and I'm at a different place. It just felt right to take our music in this direction. 

Do you feel like it's important to stick with what feels right rather than selling out? 

I obviously want our band to get bigger, I'm not trying to be commercial, although I guess this new album is still sort of commercial. 

I wanted the band to change, I don't like bands that do the same thing over and over again. If you stand still as a musician then you begin to sink, we were really keen to move forward and to push our songs in a new direction. If people don't like this record then, well, they'll just have to get over it. 

The good thing is that you've kept your integrity and stuck to your guns in terms of what you felt was right, which is rare for a band these days. 

Yeah, we feel that way as a band. We never want to become something we're not, like, I don't know, Ed Sheeran, who writes songs for the sake of it and they're very marketed songs.

The concept for your 'Fire That Burns' video is interesting, how did that concept come about? 

We as a band just didn't want to do another video where we play and dance around, so we spoke to our producer about it. He came back and asked if we'd like to be in this sort of B-movie, serial killer style video. We just thought "why not?" because we hadn't seen anything like that in a while. We did it, and then I tweeted Isaac, the Game of Thrones dude, just saying like, "do you fancy being in a music video?" I didn't even think he'd respond, but then within ten minutes he's said, "yeah, that'd be awesome!" 

We did it, and then I tweeted Isaac, the Game of Thrones dude, just saying like, "do you fancy being in a music video?" I didn't even think he'd respond, but then within ten minutes he's said, "yeah, that'd be awesome!" 

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It's as simple as that!

I know right? I'm just thinking of who else I can tweet! If it's that easy then I'm just going to start tweeting Bill Murray and Woody Harrelson and people like that!

You might as well, no harm in asking and you never know who could star in your next music video!

Exactly, it's the perfect example of "don't ask don't get" isn't it?!

It's quite a dark concept, does that pair with the sound of this new album?

I don't think our album itself is quite as dark as murderers and police and that, but the album is about a bunch of different things. It's heavier but it covers all bases of social anxiety, male depression, love, loss - a bit of everything. It's a very present record and a very personal record. It's not necessarily linked with that video concept, no. 

You're headed out on tour soon, what do you look forward to the most about being on the road?

There's something really quite incredible about a group of people going out and going to a city to play to a few thousand people and then moving on to the next city. You just feel like a gang going around from city to city, it feels sort of very animalistic and it's great. There's just something magical about it in a way. The hour that we get to play every day is the best moment of every day by far. You've always got that to look forward to. 

Are there any dates you're looking forward to in particular? You're playing a big show at the Liverpool Guild of Students in your hometown? 

The biggest venue we've ever played in Liverpool is the O2 Academy, so it's another thousand people on top of that. I've seen a couple of bits in there when I was growing up. It's mad to think that we'll be doing that, especially since it's almost sold out - I literally can't wait for it. 

Is it a bit overwhelming to be selling out a gig in your hometown? 

Yeah definitely, I mean when I've been in other bands, we've played the likes of the Zanzibar for about two years, which is about 200 capacity. We haven't played Liverpool in about a year either, so being able to come back and sell out that room, it's just amazing. It's starting to feel like people are wanting to take a bit of ownership of us as a band and wanting to be a part of it. Even though it's only me from Liverpool and the other lads are from various places, it still feels like Liverpool have embraced the whole band, really.  

How do you think Circa Waves stand out from previous bands you've been in as well as other guitar bands on the circuit?

Honestly, I just think the songs are fucking boss! I honestly, do, I think our songs stand head and shoulders above other bands that are about at the moment. I don't think any other bands are writing songs as good as our's. That might sound arrogant but I just have so much belief in this record.  

You don't sound arrogant at all, just passionate. If you have confidence in something you've done creatively then it should, by all means, be celebrated.

Yeah, it's just something that I've worked on massively. In the first few months of last year I wrote about 150 songs, about four or five songs every day. Just because I wanted this record to be the greatest record it could possibly be. I owe that to the fans, and that's why when they buy to record, that's what they're going to hear. It's eleven tunes that are really considered and they're all really good songs. There are 

I owe that to the fans, and that's why when they buy to record, that's what they're going to hear. It's eleven tunes that are really considered and they're all really good songs. There are all these albums that you buy, and there's four good tunes and then eight shit tunes.

So the songs are all hand picked off of this album? It sounds like a lot of hard work has gone into it.

Yeah exactly, it's a bespoke record. We spent a long long time writing it as a band, we all spent a long time getting down and getting it as big as possible, we hope that when people listen to it, that it comes across. 

What can fans expect from these lives shows?

I think these shows are going to be historical, people are going to remember these shows for the rest of their lives. It'll be one of those shows where kids will come to see us and they'll want to start bands afterwards. I think it's going to prove to people that we are a big part of this guitar music scene. We're going to prove to other bands that we're the future of festivals.

There's only so many times that certain bands can headline. The Killers can't keep headlining Reading and Leeds - well, they probably could because they've got enough tunes but there needs to be someone moving up and that's what we're trying to do. People will see us at these live shows and they'll see us as the next headliners. I think, anyway. My main thing is that I hope young boys and girls come to see us and feel so moved that they have to start a band. that's my dream. 

You're doing a lot of the festival circuit already, is there a festival you love returning to? 

Reading and Leeds, for sure. I went to Leeds twice when I was about eighteen, it's just always got a really nice feel to it. The crowds are always really into it, and I want to see my younger self in the crowd and inspire them to pick up a guitar. 

Leeds and Reading definitely seem to be coming of age festivals. 

Yeah, exactly!

You can see Circa Waves at Sheffield's O2 Academy 2 on Saturday 18th March

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