Circa Waves: ‘We Just Try to Be a Good Rock and Roll Band’
Things are shaping up for Circa Waves to be the breakout stars of 2015. Coming off a huge run at this year's edition of SXSW, the Liverpool rockers have a knack for not getting distracted by outside forces, focusing solely on creating fun and energetic rock and roll.
While hanging out at SXSW, we had the chance to grab a drink with bassist Sam Rourke and guitarist Joe Falconer. Aside from several laughs, we chatted about their new album, Young Chasers, and what it's like performing in the states. Check out our exclusive interview below:
This is your first time at SXSW. How's it going?
Sam Rourke: Yeah, it’s amazing. We’ve been so busy, though. People keep asking us if we’ve seen any bands. No! Nobody sees bands anymore at SXSW.
Joe Falconer: I saw 20 minutes of Best Coast and that was basically all I had time for.
Sam: I saw Madlib walk onstage and then I had to leave to do a gig. It was the f---ing worst moment of my life.
But you're enjoying your time here?
Sam: Yeah, definitely. Our shows have been really cool and meeting people outside afterwards has been awesome.
Joe: There are so many people here and so many bands, everyone is in the same boat. You know, we’re all spread so thin. It’s nice to meet with other people and go like, “Oh yeah, we’ve done three shows today, too.”
Have you ever done anything like this before?
Joe: We’ve done a couple of festivals in the U.K. and they don’t come anywhere near to this. The whole concept of doing three shows in one day doesn’t exist outside of this.
Sam: The equivalent of this in the U.K. is doing one show and then leaving. It’s cool, but it doesn’t prepare you to do six shows in two days.
Do you notice a difference in your fans here compared to back home?
Joe: You know, we’re still in our early days in the U.S. We just did a headlining tour in the U.K. where it was our first proper tour. We’ve kind of established ourselves there a little bit. So playing here, we have to do a little better because people don’t know us. Back home, it’s easy to get complacent and put in a little less effort. Here, we’re working really hard.
Sam: It’s going down pretty well.
How old are Circa Waves?
Sam: We’re almost two.
Joe: We haven’t really known each other that long. We met just before we started the band really.
Sam: Me and Joe were at university together. We never spoke.
Joe: We were on nodding terms. We should’ve spoken, but we never did. Maybe I was threatened by how tall he was. He is very tall.
Yeah, when you stretch yourself out, Sam, you’re pretty intimidating. So if you weren't talking to each other, how did you decide, "Let's do this."
Sam: We all met at a festival in Liverpool called Sound City.
[Joe drops his drink and within seconds has another one in his hand.]
Joe: I had to learn how to do this, when I drop a drink. Now it’s just like [snaps fingers].
Sam: Anyway, that festival, that was 2013? We just kind of bumped into each other and were looking to get a band together. We locked ourselves in a practice room for three months.
Joe: It was so intense. We rehearsed like three or four days a week and once a week we’d get really s---faced and that’s how we got to know each other. We needed to be a band and we needed to be best friends. Thursday nights, we’d get ourselves involved in rounds and that would always be a bad idea. We’d be out until 3AM and then go home and feel terrible. It was magic.
Sam: And that’s how you be a band.
Do you still like that lifestyle or staying out until 3AM and feeling terrible, in a magical sort of way?
Sam: Oh yeah. Especially on tour. Now we tend to get s---faced when we’re away from home. We’re not home that often, but when you’re on tour, everyday a f---ing boatload of drinks just turn up and we have to drink them.
Joe: We did an Australian tour to start this year and that was really intense. And then we didn’t have anything going on for like an entire month. I didn’t see anyone in the band for a month. I was sober, I was eating healthy. And then we got together ...
Sam: I was worried about getting started again because I didn’t think I could hack it anymore! It turns out, I was fine. [Laughs]
Joe: Yes, my skin was amazing. Now, it’s all this f---ing barbecue and alcohol.
Have you spent time in the states as tourists?
Sam: I’ve been once just as a tourist. Then last year we came as a band and did a couple of shows at CMJ in New York. We did L.A. and San Francisco, too. This is like our second time here as a band. We were just talking about how we can make it happen, you know, to get here for a long time. We need visas, man.
Joe: We’re looking for American girlfriends.
Sam: I actually have one, so I’m going to wed her, then bed her, then get a f---ing passport. [Laughs]
Joe: If you print this and we ever go for a visa meeting with U.S. Immigration, they’re going to read this and be like, “This was the plan all along!” So let me be clear, we are not planning on staging a wedding with a U.S. citizen! It might happen in the future, but that would just be a coincidence. [Laughs]
Fair enough. I'll serve as a witness for you guys! The new album, Young Chasers, is coming out in the states soon.
Sam: Yeah, in the U.S., it comes out this summer. I don’t think we’ve set a date.
How does it feel to have it wrapped up?
Sam: Well we wrapped it up like a year ago, so it’s kind of old news to us. I’m actually bored with it.
Joe: It’s going to be nice to go play some gigs and everyone will know what we’re playing. It’s just the next step, it’s this chapter in our career that will be closed off and we can move on to conquering more stuff.
And when you say more stuff ...
Joe: I’ve already figured out what our next haircut is going to be. Obviously, indie bands, the second record has to have keyboards in it. That always happens, so that’s what we’ll do. We’re going to wear zoot suits, too. Basically, image change first ... and then music. I think Kieran [Shudall] will write some songs, but I haven’t really talked to him about it.
Sam: He’ll write the songs depending on how we’re dressing.
That makes perfect sense. The music should come second to how you look. [Laughs] You know, today, a lot of bands feel empowered to take political and social stances. Circa Waves haven't really delved into that world yet; what's the foundation of your music?
Sam: Our foundation? I’m not sure. The music we play is fun.
Joe: It’s upbeat. You just lose yourself to it. Guitar music has suffered a bit in the last 10 years. You know, I want to go to a show and drink some beers and hear something loud and I want to see the band killing it onstage. That is what live music is about. For us, we just try to be a good f---ing rock and roll band.
And how has that reception been in Austin?
Sam: So far, it’s been great.
Joe: It seems like the shows are getting busier and busier.
Sam: I definitely saw a couple of people down in front who we’ve seen at a few other shows. That’s awesome. We must’ve made a good impression.
Joe: That’s the thing about SXSW. It’s obviously an industry-led festival, but if you cut through and play a great show, that’s the only thing we can do to get ourselves out there. We play a good show and hope the audience tells their friends.
Circa Waves' Young Chasers is out now in the U.K. You can find details on the album at the band's official website. Stay tuned for the release date for the U.S. -- until then, keep an eye on Circa Wave's tour itinerary here.