‘We’ve just taken some Pro Plus and we’re ready to rock it!’: An interview with Circa Waves

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The Edge caught up with Liverpool based indie band Circa Waves before their gig at the Hippodrome in Kingston. The band have just released their debut album Young Chasers, much to the delight of their dedicated fan base, which has grown rapidly in just two short years. The boys spoke to us about the new album, their influences, finding inspiration, and life on the road.

Hey guys how are you?

We’re good, only had three hours sleep last night, so kind of running on empty. Good, but trying to reserve our energy for the gig you know?

 How has the tour been going so far?

Well this has been our album week, so we’ve mostly been in stores like HMV and stuff. It’s been good, but next week is when the proper tour kicks off and we start to play real venues, which is what we’re all about.

How are you feeling about the next leg?

Yeah really excited, we’re doing venues we never expected to play this early on in our musical careers. To be playing sold-out venues like Shepherd’s Bush is amazing really, we can’t believe it.

You released a few singles in 2013, an EP last year and now you’ve got an album out. Has it all felt a little non-stop?

It’s been pretty non-stop since the end of 2013 really and it has only gotten more intense as we’ve gone along, but that’s what we want really. We enjoy being on the road and being busy because as a musician you just want to keep on playing gigs and making new music.

 Last summer you did a few festivals including Glastonbury and T in the Park. How did it feel to perform at such massive events so early on?

Amazing. We went to gigs like Reading and Leeds as teenagers and watched bands in the tents that we played. I remember seeing kids in the crowd of about seventeen or eighteen and thinking ‘oh my god, that was me!’ It all felt very cyclical, considering I was once stood there watching the Arctic Monkeys thinking, “this is phenomenal, I want to do that.”

 I’ve seen you compared to the Arctic Monkeys on a few occasions. How does it feel to be compared to such a big band?

It’s good! We’re not as good as the Arctic Monkeys, we know that for a fact, but it’s nice when people say things like that. The problem with being compared with bands like the Arctic Monkeys or the Strokes is that people build up an idea in their head that that’s what they’re going to see, then they come to a show and think “oh they weren’t as good as the Arctic Monkeys” or whoever. We’ve never said we’re as good as those kinds of bands, but it’s always flattering to hear those kinds of comparisons.

Would you consider the Artics to be one of your influences? Who would you consider to be your biggest influence?

It’s all over really, we do listen to a lot of that sort of era of noughties indie music, but ultimately we’re just massive fans of song writing really. You know, Joni Mitchell, Carole King and all of those sort of seventies troubadour era people. Really anything that is a good song, we’re not scared to say if we like some Taylor Swift songs or we like some Ellie Goulding songs, if it’s a good song it’s a good song.

 I saw you on live lounge the other day doing an Ellie Goulding cover, what was that like?

It was good, it was quite scary because so many people listen to it and if you f*** up it’s quite bad, so it’s quite an intense moment. Everyone there was really cool and Fearne Cotton was dead normal. We loved it and it went really well, we’d practiced twice beforehand and f****d up both times but the actual live run through went much better so it was a big relief! It seems to have gone down really well and it’s great to see so many positive comments online!

 You supported the Libertines at Alexandra Palace and a few European dates last year, what was that like?

It was amazing; the German shows were the best because the pressure was really on for them to perform for the home crowd in London. Whereas in Europe we got to hang out with them a lot more and everyone was a little more relaxed. We got to watch them every night from side stage and they got better every time. It sounds stupid a bit to say but it was magical! There’s something going on between Carl and Pete, we don’t know what it is but it’s great! We definitely learned a lot from the organised chaos that is the Libertines.

 The Libertines are pretty renowned for hedonism, what was it like spending time with them off stage? Was it ever hard to keep up?

You know, they’re actually relatively tame now. Well not that tame, we still got drunk with them a couple of times and, well, we can’t tell you everything that happened! But in all seriousness they’re very cool guys and right from when we first met them they were really friendly. They were always buying us drinks and champagne and we felt really cool for that period of time. Carl and Pete get a bit poetic at times but really they’re just normal down to earth guys at the end of the day.

 You’ve released your debut album, Young Chasers, recently and it has been received pretty well. Four stars in NME, how did that feel?

Eight out of ten! Or four out of five, we prefer eight out of ten it sounds better. Either way it doesn’t matter too much, it’s just somebody’s opinion. It’s nice to be told you’ve released a good album but you can’t take too much on board otherwise when somebody tells you that what you’ve released is f*****g s***, you feel like s***! We try not to think about it too much, we’re happy with what we’ve done and if other people like it to then that’s just a bonus.

 How would you describe your creative process?

We love listening to all different types of music. It’s a good technique to listen to the start of random weird songs and then imagine what the first line might be. You can then sort of take that first line and try to turn it into something of your own. We try to draw our inspiration from all different genres and we find the more you listen to music in your free time the easier it is to find some inspiration for your own work.

 Kieran you’re from Liverpool, a city with quite a musical history. Do you feel that has influenced you and your career choice in any way?

I think that it’s quite easy to be a musician in Liverpool; everyone seems to have friends and family members who sing or play an instrument. Plus it’s very cheap to live there so you can afford to be in a band without having to work too much. It’s definitely a melting pot of interesting people and it’s a very convenient place to practice for lazy musicians. Being such a hub for musical people, it’s ridiculously easy to start a band.

 How exactly did you guys get started?

Kieran put the demo out onto Soundcloud and Zane Lowe played it twice on his show in one night. Then it was like “s***, better get a band together!” Kieran was working at SoundCity in Liverpool and we all met there. It all came together really quickly, we rented a room in Liverpool for three months and practiced as much as we could until we got the courage to start gigging and here we are today!

 What have you got planned after the tour, any time off?

No time off! We’ve got a load of festivals in the summer and then we’re going to see the world: America, Australia, Europe Japan, just non-stop touring really. We love it, we get to tour the world, most of the time it’s from the back of a van but aside from that it’s fantastic!

 It sounds like things can get quite hectic, how do you unwind in your downtime?

We just listen to s*** loads of music really, put our headphones on and zone out, sleep when we can, read, chill out and whatever really. We try to eat healthy but that can be easier said than done when you’re on the road.

 A lot of our readers may have seen you at the Joiners in Southampton last year. What was it like playing such an intimate venue and what do you prefer: big venues or intimate gigs?

They both have their benefits, both can be really cool and we enjoy them both. That Joiners gig was really cool, it was the first time some of us crowd surfed, which we were quite proud of. A very rock and roll moment!

 That sounds awesome! Thanks for your time guys and good luck with tonight’s gig!

Thanks, we’ve all just taken some pro plus so we’re ready to rock it!

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