An Interview with Circa Waves
Ahead of the release of the band’s sophomore album Different Creatures, we caught up with Circa Waves frontman Kieran Shudall to talk about the new record, Liverpool, and what kind of pudding he’d be.
Cecily for Ellipsis: So the new album, Different Creatures, is out tomorrow – how are you feeling about that?
Kieran from Circa Waves: I don’t know; I’m nervous but it’s more excited nervous, like if you were waiting for your 18th birthday party. I’m giddy. Giddy is the right word I think!
C: Your debut album Young Chasers was released in 2015 – how would you say the new record compares?
K: It’s kind of an evolution really. The Young Chasers record was very summery and carefree; this record feels more personal. To me, the first record seems like a daytime record, and this one is more like a nighttime record almost. It’s kind of the darker brother of Young Chasers. But for me it’s also a huge leap in songwriting from what we’re used to playing; the production’s gone up, everything’s got better I think.
C: Excellent, so where do you get your inspiration from and is there anywhere specific you go to feel inspired?
K: I always feel inspired in Liverpool, to be honest. I write everything in my home in Liverpool so when I have time off I just sort of wake up, chill out, go and make a cup of tea, and if the guitar looks like it wants to write songs that day then I’ll pick it up. It’s weird to write songs because they really do come out of thin air and you just have to be around to catch them! So I try to just be available to let my mind run free, and go for jogs listening to other music to inspire them. You hear the start of a song, that chord progression, and you wonder what you would have done next, and that can create a whole new song idea sometimes. So there’s loads of different ways of doing it, but I predominantly feel most comfortable in my underpants in my living room in Liverpool.
C: The three tracks you’ve released from Different Creatures so far (Fire That Burns, Wake Up & Stuck) sound like they’ll lend themselves to a live show really well – are you excited to take the record on tour?
K: We’ve played those tracks live around three times now and it just feels completely different to the first record. The first one you feel a sort of carefree abundance of people bouncing around, but with this record it’s like a release for the people in the crowd, like they need to get out all of this energy. Some of it’s aggression, some of it’s just pure youthfulness trying to burst out. So I think it’ll create some of the biggest shows we’ve done by far, this record.
C: And in couple of weeks (24th March) you’ll be headlining Mountford Hall in Liverpool Guild – how are you feeling about that?
K: Yeah it’s awesome! Every time we play Liverpool, we’ve stepped up a venue so it’s a good progression and playing to a home crowd’s always interesting because all the songs are about people from Liverpool and things in Liverpool, and my family always come so it’s always a bit more nerve-wracking. You want to impress a home crowd more than any crowd so it’s always a scary one, but ultimately they’re the most rewarding.
C: It all comes a bit full circle, doesn’t it?
K: Yeah, it feels good!
C: Leading on from that, what’s been your favourite Liverpool gig to date and are there any venues you haven’t played but would like to?
K: Ooh, I think on our last headline tour we played the O2 Academy, and that was incredible. To see that many Liverpudlians all out for us was a very proud moment for me. The second question, well I’m sad that the Kazimier’s gone. I think that the council should feel disgraced that one of the greatest venues in the whole of Britain, in my mind, has been knocked down for more shitty flats. So I’m sad the Kazimier’s gone, otherwise I’d play that again. And I think the Olympia, is that the one that Foals played?
C: Yeah the Olympia!
K: I’d like to play there; I’ve seen a few pictures of that and it looks really cool. I quite like anything that used to be something like an old theatre, or an old cinema. I feel like something with a bit of history is always better than just a hollow shell.
C: Yeah that definitely gives it a nice vibe for sure! If you bumped into your younger self in the street today, what advice would you give yourself?
K: Just to keep on doing what you’re doing. I wouldn’t want to give him any wrong advice because I might not end up where I am now if I do that. But I think for any musician and any songwriter working in the industry, just having anyone who gives you belief is always good. Someone who says, “what you’re doing is good.” That’s the reason I carried on, because I had people around me, like my parents, and my girlfriend, and my brother, all saying “ah, the music that you’re making’s really good!” That’s why I was in bands for ten years before this band was successful. So I think just giving people belief in themselves is sometimes the most important thing.
C: I’ve heard from speaking to some other bands that the Liverpool music scene is really supportive; would you agree that’s the case?
K: It’s very close knit. There’s not loads of venues you can play, there’s not loads of promoters; it’s not like Manchester or London where there’s an absolute abundance of venues everywhere. I guess we’re not really in that scene because we don’t just play Liverpool anymore, we play all over, so I miss a little bit of that comradery that you get from a small city like Liverpool. But I think it’s always been good for that because there’s great promoters. There’s Revo, who puts on the Evol nights and is always putting new bands on with touring bands, and then there’s Tony at the Zanzibar who’s always putting young band nights on and supporting them. There’s a really good scene and I hope it just continues. As long as we don’t knock down any more venues we can flourish and become a great city of music again.
C: And if you could swap with another member of Circa Waves for the day, who would you swap with and why?
K: What a weird question! Who would I swap with? I quite like playing drums so I’d probably swap with Colin for the day. I started playing drums at the same time as guitar so I’ve always had a massive love for them, so it’d be good to beat the shit out of some drums for a little while!
C: So what does the rest of 2017 have in store for Circa Waves?
K: World domination. Basically, that’s what we’re going for. We want to be the biggest band in Britain so we’re just going to tour and play festival slots and get bigger and better, and people will eventually realise that we are a big band.
C: And finally, if you were a type of pudding, what would you be and why?
K: If I was a Christmas pudding?
C: No just a type of pudding – any type of pudding!
K: Ooh any type of pudding! I’d be an apple pie, I think. My nan used to make the best apple pies. So in sort of homage to her, I would have to go with the classic apple pie.
Circa Waves‘ new album Different Creatures is released on 10th March and you can get tickets for their show at Liverpool Guild of Students here.