Liverpool-based Circa Waves released their full-length album, ‘Young Chasers’, on 18 September via Virgin Records. The British indie-rockers’ debut includes the wonderfully blissful summer anthem, ‘T-Shirt Weather‘, and ‘Stuck in My Teeth‘, described by Apple Music’s award-winning DJ and producer Zane Lowe as his “Hottest Record in the World.”
Of the compliment, bassist Sam Rourke has said, “It’s great getting the thumbs up from someone like Zane Lowe, he’s been such an important figure in British music for so long. Now that he’s leaving [Radio 1], we’re working out a way to sweet talk Annie Mac — we’re sending her a basket of kittens every day this week.”
Read on as Sam and frontman Kieran Shudall answer my questions about musical influences, the touring experience, and what songs they are jamming to these days.
In a DIY interview, you mention Joni Mitchell, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Arcade Fire as favorites out of your own vinyl collection. Could you throw us a couple more gems from your record arsenal? What have you been listening to lately?
Kieran: I have a little old record player by my kitchen and love to cook ‘n listen to old records. Sgt. Pepper’s [Lonely Hearts Club Band] get a lot of use (cliche, me being from Liverpool, I know.) Graceland gets a lot of attention also. I’ve been listening to Michael Head and the Magical World of the Strands vinyl reissue. It’s underrated and totally beautiful songwriting. It must be heard by more people.
You say you write “loads of mediocre material” for every hit you write. I am quite sure this is the case for most bands. The hits you do have have really taken off. Are there any personal favorite songs you think could have been singles, but weren’t?
Kieran: I wrote a lot for the first record, including a lot more laidback songs which got pushed to the side to make a more explosive first album. There is a track called “Lost It” on the album which Is one of my favourites lyrically and has a chorus that competes with any of the singles we released.
Sam — You mention being fired, just before the band took off, from a job at a cathedral’s visitor center café and described it as “fucking terrible.” Intrigued and being nosy — why were you fired?
Sam: To be honest, I was a terrible employee. I was late all the time, left early, and was rude to customers. I’m surprised I lasted as long as I did.
You came from humble indie beginnings and blew up as a fairly young band with a lot of buzz. How has this experience changed you?
Kieran: Coming from playing in bands for 8 years previous to Circa, you get knocked down over that time and don’t believe it’s ever going to happen to you. When the band started taking off it was surreal and an almost outer body experience, like I was watching someone else do well. Over recent months I’ve started to really feel like we have earned everything that has come to us. The experience has showed me that we give any band out there a run for their money.
You have toured with some pretty big names, such as Phoenix and The Libertines. How has it been working with such legendary bands?
Kieran: Much like listening to music is good homework for writing songs, I think touring with great bands is amazing for learning from them and their performance. Every successful band has something you can learn from them, be it the energy they put into the show or just how they treat their crew. You need to have your eyes open as a young band and take it all in.
You once mentioned wanting to meet Noel Gallagher, expecting to be called “shit” by him, as he is a well-known sourpuss. You seem to see this as kind of a rock ‘n roll christening. Have you met him since?
Kieran: Ha. I’ve not yet had the pleasure. He has a very similar outlook to writing songs as me and talks about how some songs mean nothing and are just great pop songs and how some tracks mean a lot. I love that way and think it encourages great songs to pour out of you. I’m sure our paths will cross one day.
How has it been touring/meeting bands you admire? (e.g., Arctic Monkeys, to whom you are often compared).
Kieran: [Have] not met the Arctics yet. I hear they are lovely. People say don’t meet your heroes, but that is utter bullshit. The Libertines were so warm and welcoming. They bought Joe a birthday cake! Phoenix invited us for beers and talked about pop music with us. I played ping pong with Interpol. They are just normal people that you meet. The only difference being that you’ve been listening to their records for years and maybe been air-guitaring to their tracks in your bedroom as a kid.
To what extent has the press played a role in your success?
Kieran: We’ve only recently started getting some. We have had bits since the start, but never a lot. Radio 1 and constant touring has been our foundation for building a fanbase in the UK.
What is something you’ve struggled with as a musician. Is it something you’ve overcome?
Kieran: I miss home. Family and my girlfriend are a huge part of my life and I see them a few weeks a year now due to touring. It’s a big sacrifice but luckily I have huge support from them.
You get to kick back, relax, and have a beer with anyone in the world (past or present). Who is it and why?
Kieran: Dave Grohl. He’s someone I’ve been so inspired by since my brother brought home Nirvana Unplugged. I later bought every Foo Fighters record and studied his songwriting. He’s a man who has become so well-known but still maintains this approachable vibe. He seems like someone who would actually have a beer with me one day as well! I’d just have to try and not sweat so much as to drop my pint.
Many thanks to Kieran and Sam, and congrats on Circa Waves’ new album!
Listen to Circa Waves’ latest track on Soundcloud below!
Want more? Check ’em out on Coco!
Young Chasers was released 18 September and is now available on iTunes. For more info about Circa Waves, visit their official website. View upcoming tour dates or stream their music through Spotify. Many thanks to Circa Waves and Virgin EMI Records!
Sounds like: Catfish & The Bottlemen, Superfood, Wolf Alice, Peace, Palma Violets