Exclusive: interview with Circles, EP details announced
After their signing to Basick Records, got-djent.com was able to interview Australian Circles to get some exclusive news from them about their upcoming EP: «The Compass» will be released on May 16th, via Basick Records, both physical and digital.
1. The Frontline
2. Clouds Are Gathering
3. ACT III
4. Eye Embedded
5. The Design
We had a chat with vocalist Perry Kakridas, guitarist Ted Furuhashi and drummer Dave Hunter. Read the full exclusive interview below!
Circles. From left to right: Drew (bass), Dave (drums), Perry (vocals), Matty (guitar) and Ted (guitar).
got-djent.com: Circles from Australia, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. For the people who haven’t heard much of you, could you just quickly tell us the story of the band?
Ted: I started when I was twelve. Ever since I've been playing guitar I've been writing music, and I've been deep into recording from the moment I bought my little tape recorder. I've been writing riffs here and there, been in and out of bands, and in the meantime I've always been writing my music and always wanting something sounded good to me, because all these other bands I've played in were always kind of watered down versions of what I wanted my music to sound like. So as time went by I met up with some cool musicians, and also with a friend of mine, Dave, whom I've known since primary school and who happens to have the same taste in music as I do.
So we got together and started writing heaps of songs, we always had the same kind of direction in what we wanted it to sound like, and down the track we ended up having about ten songs that sounded really good. We wanted to make this a real band. So we found a bass player from another band that we knew, Drew. Then we started looking for a second guitarist, and after six or seven auditions we just didn't find the right kind of guy.
Then, Matty stumbled upon our Myspace, and we took him right away, as he had a similar taste and the same vision as us, and we got along really well. Matty actually found Perry from another band and showed us a recording of him. 10 seconds into the song, we knew we had to have this singer. He had an amazing range and really good low tones, and that's exactly what we were looking for. We ended up stealing him from a band, with not much pressure hopefully, but... Perry can tell you his side of the story...
Perry: Oh, yeah. Immense pressure.
Ted: You finally joined us mid 2009. And then a week after that we had our first gig and ended up forcing Perry to sing and record. That's it.
got-djent.com: What about the band name «Circles». Does that have any specific meaning to you?
Dave: I don't know, that sort of came out of many band meetings. We always wanted it to be a metal band, but we didn't want anything about it to be too cliché metal. We wanted to walk down the melodic path with clean vocals and that sort of things, and with the name we really wanted a generic format type of name that could be interpreted in a few different ways. So that’s the reason. In a sense it'd be cool to have a big story behind it, but it was just how we wanted to portray the band.
Ted: For me the name could mean anything. I think that's one of the reasons why we went with it.
Everything you come into contact with in life - there are circles everywhere. It's just a universal thing, references to geometry, and other concepts that are universal in nature. I don't know, it's just a name.
Perry: That's my philosophy. The band makes the name. You can call the band anything you want, but if it's a good band, people will say the name.
Ted: Apart from «Steaming Pile of Shit», I don't think that would sell.
Perry: If it's an awesome band, it could!
Ted: Actually, yeah. «Steaming Pile of Shit», that was our second choice.
got-djent.com: I've read the promotional text from Basick Records and Hold Tight! PR, and there you get compared to both Periphery and Incubus. That’s quite a gap!
Ted: Yeah, it puts a bit of pressure on us. (laughter) But I think Barley used those bands to try and show what we're about. We didn't actually come up with those bands as reference, it's what Barley took from us, and it’s of course cool and very humbling to be put alongside these bands. For us, we're just another band trying to make cool music.
got-djent.com: Do you think it is accurate then?
Ted: In some ways, yeah. Like Barley said in the press release («the production of Periphery and the vocal lines of Incubus»), we do take influences from both those bands. I do a lot of the production side of things and record and mix our music. Of course Periphery’s debut is the benchmark and would be a big influence for this EP, but I’ve been writing the music over a few years, so there’s many influences. But it's great for us to be quoted alongside that.
Perry: I'll let you in on a little secret, I never really got into Incubus. I've heard them and they sound good, but I just never got around to buying their CDs or anything. That being said, I can understand the vibe that Barley gets from our music, and that's cool. A lot of people like that band and it's quite a compliment. We're talking about some of the best vocalists in the world, so when they talk about me like that, I start getting nervous.
got-djent.com: In another interview I read that when you're in the writing stage, Perry and Ted technically live together and write the new material. Is this a thing that is repeatedly happening for a few days or do you camp together for two or three weeks?
Perry: We do this camping thing, where we... (laughter) Ah well. We basically just try and lock ourselves away from the outside world, and have a lockdown session where we're really trying to write something, especially vocal-wise. I'm a very jittery and dysfunctional person, I get distracted very easily. The only way you can get anything out of me is if you lock me away in the middle of nowhere.
Ted: No internet access, that's the key right there.
Dave: No stimulants, no internet access, minimal food, some alcohol. And a couple of the other bandmates just cook for us, that's about it.
got-djent.com: So one of the results of these writings is the upcoming EP «The Compass» which is coming out on May 16th. I was just wondering, for how long have the contents of this release been locked down in some drawer?
Ted: There's actually a riff in the middle section of «Ruins» that I wrote seven years ago, and that’s probably as far back as it goes. There's some more riffs that I wrote around that time that we've actually recycled and altered a little. I've got at least two or three hard drives full of old riffs and songs that we pull up every now and then when we get stuck for ideas – then we just throw them on and see what happens. But that's when the rest of the band members come in handy, because they help getting that into a neat structure. Without that the song wouldn't be complete, it'd just be a bunch of riffs. So without their help, the EP wouldn't have been created. Everyone has their input, it's not just me and Perry or me and Dave or anything like that. But there’s a lot of new stuff as well. It's a combination of all the years.
Perry: We’re also trying to use a really old school song writing approach when it comes to song structures. We listen to lots and lots of different music, so it's great to do big 15-minute songs (and we're actually hoping to write one these days), but at the same time we work to write decent songs, regardless of length. We don’t want just epic riffs and insanity. We want to write great songs, especially structure-wise.
Ted: And together as a band: The whole band is at the camp. But I mainly man the computer - I'm the guy pressing «record» all the time. Sometimes when I do lose my mind I get Matty or Dave to just press «record» for me while I have a little lie-down. But everyone else is there throwing in their ideas. So every member has a part in every aspect of the songwriting. Even vocal-wise, Dave contributes a lot of vocal lines, and so does Matty. Drew contributes a lot of melodic ideas. Even if I have a riff idea, it ends up being a Circles riff, not just a Ted riff.
got-djent.com: I read somewhere that your full-length debut album might still be released this year. Are you taking a similar approach with this? Old stuff and new stuff?
Ted: Well, the formula so far has worked and it’s been a good process, so we’ll stick to that. But the writing process will probably change a bit. The content, who knows. I’ve started writing some stuff and so has Matty. We’ll probably experiment a bit more with different sounds rather than add more guitar stuff, but in the end it’s gonna be heavy riffs and killer melodic vocals, we are certainly not going to stray from that. We’ve never actually sat down and decided on what we do, we just write. And whatever comes out: if we like it, we keep it and if we don’t, we can it.
got-djent.com: Can you put a percentage on how much of the album is done?
Ted: Not really. We’ve got about 4 songs in our backhand but I don’t know if these are going to work. But they could definitely make it on the album and we’ve got big ideas on Perry’s 15 minutes epic song. But well… We are on our way. Probably will do couple more of these camps and see what happens from there.
Perry: Get really drunk and see what we’ll remember in the morning.
got-djent.com: Yeah, that sounds like a good approach. Speaking about beer, is there any other beer in Australia than Fosters?
Perry: Oh my God. Dude. No one drinks Fosters here. It’s a joke! People think Australians are really nice friendly people who drink Fosters but I don’t know. No one drinks it! We laugh at people drinking Fosters – it’s such a joke. We keep the good stuff for ourselves.
Ted: Actually when I was in Europe last time I drank Coopers Pale which is from Adelaide. And it tasted fucking atrocious. They brew it here and then ship it to Europe – something must happen on the ship, it tasted like shit. But you should try James Boag’s Premium Lager.
Perry: Or Melbourne Bitter. People consider it goat’s piss but we love it. I don’t know why. Probably because it’s rough - but in all the right ways.
got-djent.com: Going back to the EP, do you know in what format the EP will be released? Will it be a digital release or will there be hardcopies as well?
Perry: From what I understand we will be releasing it digitally, as well as the actual physical product. Personally if I really like a band, I want to buy their CD - and if it means I have to chase them down on their Bandcamp page or buy it from their merch store, I want to get it. So it’s great that we’ll have physical copies as well. Now with Basick Records and their partnership with Century Media etc. it makes it a lot easier. Our CD is going to be digitally and physically available in places I’ve never dreamt of, which is amazing.
got-djent.com: What do you think about me throwing the names of the «The Compass» tracks at you and you try to describe these tracks in one sentence?
got-djent.com: Ok, the first track is called «The Frontline».
Ted: I’d say… Big electronic robot versus Godzilla.
got-djent.com: Second track: «Clouds are Gathering».
Perry: For me it’s a very brutal song. The chorus that I wrote is basically saying “I’m going to kill you. I’m gonna find a way to kill you and I’m gonna kill you”.
Ted: Yeah, it’s pretty brutal.
got-djent.com: «Act three».
Dave: Kangabangers. It is a kangaroo sausage. (big laughter)
Ted: It’s a sausage made of kangaroo meat, but not its penis or something. So when we were running out of songs we had this big barbecue and had these kangabangers. So, ‘Act three’ equals kangabangers.
got-djent.com: What about track 4: «Eye Embedded».
Perry: There’s this concept in the Mediterranean: The evil eye. The song has to do with jealousy. When others look at you, jealous of your relationship or your successes in life. That’s it.
Dave: I was going to say «ex-girlfriend» but yeah, that works.
got-djent.com: Track 5: «The Design».
Dave: That is my favourite track on the EP. It’s gonna be killer. I can’t wait for people to hear it.
got-djent.com: And the last one, «Ruins».
Ted: I’d say «pretty daisy being stepped on by a foot soldier». Think about it. (laughter)
Cover art for the upcoming EP.
got-djent.com: These six tracks will be released via Basick Records, as already mentioned. Have you been in touch with them for longer or did they approach you more or less by surprise out of the British fog?
Dave: Yeah, it was quite surprising. They noticed us here on the other side of the world and approached us. We’re just really excited to get the music out through Basick and to be working with them. They’ve got the same vision as us and the future looks very exciting.
Perry: When you’re first starting as a band, you have this idea. Either «Oh we’re going to go independent» or «Oh we’re going to be signed to a label». But you don’t really know what you are going to do until someone actually opens up a dialog with you. And Basick did. Naturally, Australia being a colony for Great Britain, we were very suspicious at first but we are very happy to be reunited with our overlords, if you will.
Dave: Yeah, they got in touch some time before Christmas.
Ted: A true early Christmas present.
got-djent.com: Australia is one of the countries which obviously deserves more attention music-wise – the country has brought up AC/DC and Midnight Oil, but also such great contemporary bands such as Karnivool. How buzzing is the music scene down under?
Perry: Well, I’ll tell you this much. Part of me wants to say there is no scene here because I don’t want you to find out about Australian music. Because then we won’t be at the business. (laughter) No, but seriously, we have a very vibrant scene, especially in Melbourne, which is where we are from. It’s commonly called the live music capital of Australia. It has all sorts of music going on, and metal has a big representation here. But it’s hard being isolated from the rest of the world, you know, sometimes you get stuck in this little world and you don’t realize that there’s a world out there sometimes. Oh, and trends are big here. Many bands react to the trends and play what’s hip.
Dave: There are plenty of awesome bands, but because we’re so small and there are so many bands it is hard to get noticed within Australia, so you have to watch out that it doesn’t become a competition. It’s very hard to get out there when you are in such a small country with so many bands.
Perry: We have a good example: AC/DC: «Long Way To The Top», that’s still true to this day. It’s pretty much the code, we still listen to that shit and it’s so true.
Ted: Well, because it’s such a small population you’ll find that if you try to book gigs, you end up playing with the same bands in the same month in the same town. There’s a big camaraderie between the bands, we’re like a big family just because we play together so much. We get to know each other and we are really good friends. It’s just that for the crowds that come to our shows or the shows of other bands, it seems like «Oh this band plays again at the same venue. And I could see them next week as well». So it’ll be great for us to pop out to another country. But for that we have to fly. That shouldn’t hinder us, though. We can’t wait to get over to Europe and I’m sure bands in Europe can’t wait to go to Australia.
got-djent.com: So have you played in all major Australian cities or is it restricted to your South-East coast?
Ted: We are starting to play away from here. We are going to play in Brisbane next week and it will actually be our first interstate show, and hopefully there will be lot more to come once «The Compass» is released. I’m hoping we can do a tour supporting it. Up until now all the shows, club shows and many festivals have really just been in our hometown.
Dave: It’s hard to get over. It’s such a long way away, and most of the tours end up being East-coast tours, from Queensland to Sydney or from Brisbane to Sydney or Melbourne to Adelaide. It’s really hard to get to Perth and the likes for us.
Perry: It’s 2000 kilometers, isn’t it.
Dave: Yeah it’s something crazy.
Australia - it's pretty big.
got-djent.com: Who are the bands you’ve shared the stage with so far?
Dave: There’s been a few, we probably have to give a really big plug to a band called «12 Foot Ninja», they’re fantastic and we have done quite a few shows with them.
Ted: And «Deadly Circus» from Brisbane, they’re doing quite well now – and we played a sold-out show with them at their release show. Of course it was sold out because of them and not because of us, but it was still a great show.
Perry: And they clapped! They actually enjoyed it. That was our relief.
got-djent.com: I’m sure you have heard about the djent scene. Are there any other djenty bands down under, besides you guys?
Ted: Yeah, there’s plenty coming up now. The whole movement is kind of getting bigger here. Bands surfacing now are «The Schoenberg Automaton», «X3N» and «The Helix Nebula»… There’s a lot of these bands coming out now that I’m noticing. But what I get from it is… Well… I don’t want to be sour on the scene, but a lot of bands or artists can create this sound quite easily these days. As long as they’ve got a guitar and a computer they can sequence a drum beat, match guitars with the kick drum and it sounds djent. But it all sounds very much the same. I really don’t want to put them down and there’s great artists out there, but there’s a big influx of that kind of music floating around now. You’ve got to stay heard and not really write music to compete but write music that you like to listen to that’s not necessarily like the music from other people.
Phil Anselmo from Pantera put it this way: «A lot of bands in their day found like 12 bands they loved and created something new with it, whereas these days, this happens with only 2 bands. It doesn’t end up being something new. It’s just a repetition». That’s what I took from it and that’s what I constantly try to do when I write. I want to grab different genres and different sounds and create something that sounds coherent and still within the genre, but something that is completely different. That’s my philosophy.
But yeah, there’s awesome bands coming up so we have to be sure to keep up. There’s this bedroom musician Ted Nickley and he’s great – and he, together with others, destroyed my guitar self-esteem. I can watch these guys on YouTube and they play this crazy shit on guitar which would take me practicing for 10 hours a day for a hundred years to maybe get close to it. So I put a big emphasis on writing and constructing a song rather than playing 100mph or stretching ten frets with my little fingers. It’s hard to keep up, at the same time we don’t want to be competing with other bands. We just wanna be Circles.
Circles on stage.
got-djent.com: Do you have a general route map for the time after the EP now?
Perry: We’re going to jump straight into our first album. So yeah, definitely play a lot of shows within Australia at this stage to support «The Compass».
Dave: And juggle that with the album, with a big priority to get overseas. But obviously time will tell for that one. It’s definitely something we’re aiming to do, though.
Ted: And in the short term we plan to do a single and a video clip, I guess.
Dave: There’s lots of things on the horizon. Lots of things to do. No time to waste. And we can’t wait to get this going.
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