Circa Waves have certainly made their way up in the music scene in recent years, starting from BBC Introducing Merseyside to now selling out large venues and playing the main stages of major festivals. Their second record, Different Creatures had its release recently and we caught up with frontman, Kieran Shudall to discuss the record and their excitement for their headline Liverpool show…
Good Morning Kieran, hope you’re alright. What you guys up to today? Rehearsing for the tour I imagine…
K: I’m being really cliche and currently hungover in a cloakroom, got a lot of press to do today including Radio 1 and then heading back to Liverpool.
Your tour starts next week, from Sheffield, Manchester and then the big homeshow at our very own LGOS, is this a show in particular you’re looking forward to the most?
K: Yeah definitely, it’s one of them. It’s quite nerve wracking as all your friends and family see you play, you always wanna play well for them. Liverpool is always cool, all the songs I write are about being or people in Liverpool. Those gigs are very personal.
Do you feel there’s a different energy from the homecrowd compared to the rest of the tour?
K: Northern crowds in general are always more rowdy. The inhibition is never lost and playing Liverpool is always great for us, particularly for myself.
I first saw you guys play the beloved Kazimier in 2014 (RIP) and to see you guys now play to a sell out crowd at LGOS, it’s like I’ve followed you guys on a journey through the entirety of my uni experience. Saying that has the past 3 years been a blur for you guys in terms of your huge success?
K: I try to always stay on top of it all, being proud of what we’ve done. It is hard to keep track when you’re in the middle of it, in your own little bubble with touring, not sleeping and forgetting what day it is. It’s a double edged sword because you’re having the best time ever but then again you’re missing it most of the time. I never take it for granted and I try to remember every show…if that’s possible like I remember that Kazimier show like it was yesterday, and the O2 Academy show too from the bigger room to now an even bigger room! It’s a different life being on the road, it’s not a natural life that we’re leading…
It’s not your typical 9-5 clocking off office job…
K: Oh no, not quite…
Your new record, Different Creatures is out this week which is VERY exciting! You must be so ready and excited for it to come out now?
K: Yeah I am but you still get that feeling of sending your kid off for their first day at school like it’s gonna be wild and the other kids will take him apart but it’s been mine for so long so I suppose you have to let it go at some point…tomorrow’s the day. I hope people sort of realise how much effort has gone into it. They buy it and see the solid work which has gone into these eleven tunes, it’s not just been thrown out there. It’s been very considered and well worked. I hope people see that in it.
Tell me a little a bit about the solid work which went into creating the record, the production in particular…
K: We recorded the record in London with Adam Moulder, in a studio with incredible albums on the walls from Smashing Pumpkins to The Killers. It was just a really inspiring place to be in and random people just turned up, like one day Nile Rodgers turned up and I was like “what the f**k that’s Nile Rodgers!…
K: Yeah he was amazing, just so cool. However in the past yeah we have recorded in Parr St Studios, we recorded our 360 degrees Stuck video in the studio but when Adam Moulder tells you to go to his studio, you go to his studio.
Completely understandable and I imagine it was Moulder who helped shape the album being much darker compared to Young Chasers. There’s definitely a higher calibre of rock influences in the album, can you tell us any influences and experiences in particular which helped create these Different Creatures?
K: Definitely, I wanted to go back to my rock roots as I grew up listening to Foo Fighters, Nirvana and you know all these much heavier and louder bands. Young Chasers was songs I wrote in 3 months, a stage in my life where I was into that sort of garage/summery pop, not to discount it or to make it any less creditable but the rock sound is what I’m more drawn to naturally and I wanted to create a record which could be this generation’s shape of a Foo Fighters record. I wanted a record that kids would listen to, and make them want to start bands, something inspiring and for guitar music to come back at the forefront. I hope this record will do just that.
You speak about wanting to create something for this generation and the rock sound, are you wanting for this record to speak individually and move away from the likes of chart success of today. It is brilliant to get that success but are you wanting something different, if you say so a core, personality and emotion to the album?
K: I don’t really look at the charts, I don’t see anything up there that I like at the moment and it’s not music that will stick around forever like the iconic works of Smashing Pumpkins and Foo Fighters. Yeah the likes of James Arthur might be currently number one in the charts but in ten years time is anybody going to still know who he is? But you’ll never forget Everlong by the Foo Fighters that wasn’t ‘chart’ in the UK and I feel the same way, chart success doesn’t mean anything to me.
That’s refreshing to hear from a band like yourselves who have had that success as it seems these days that some bands and artists are only in it for the chart success and not behind the true meaning and passion of making music…
K: Well don’t get me wrong it would be great for the album to get chart success if it was genuine appreciation of people buying our music and loving the music that we’ve made. I think at the moment people are obsessed with the sentimental syrupy pop and I don’t personally understand it but it is what it is. At long as I can keep playing big venues and playing to over 30,000 people at festivals then I’m gonna be happy.
Well no, we can’t be complaining at that and I’m sure that will continue to be the case for you lads.
K: Definitely no complaints.
So let’s move onto Liverpool and the sound of the city, is there any bands from the city that have influenced your music? Is there any bands that are currently on the indie scene that you rate from Merseyside?
K: I mean, it’s cliche to say but my favourite band are The Beatles. I’ve been listening to them all through my life giving me a sense of melody and there’s harmony throughout Circa Waves that definitely has their influence. It’s just their calibre of songs that John Lennon and George Harrison wrote that were so unbelievably high that I try to set my bar that high when writing songs. I always say I’m tryna find my Imagine, I really wanna write a song for me that is as good as that which let’s be honest is probably the greatest song ever written so I’ve set the bar very high for myself, but at least I’m aiming for something and having that ambition.
In terms of Liverpool indie bands, I listened to a lot of The Coral when I was growing up, I thought they were great. Liverpool has definitely given me a wealth of inspiration.
Speaking of inspiration and the city itself, I feel when you played Sound City, it definitely gave you a crowd and boosted the band. Do you feel that the festival benefited you guys?
K: Maybe, I definitely feel like it benefited us in a way and we always adore the Liverpool crowds. It’s always hard for us because we can’t define ourselves as a Liverpool band in terms of sound and you know the other lads aren’t from Liverpool so it’s just me. It’s more of a complicated story in that sense however I feel like Liverpool embraces us and even the other lads. Most of the time many people don’t even know they’re not from Liverpool, which is quite funny when they start talking like Colin he’s got an Essex accent but yeah Sound City opened us up to sort of new Liverpool people.
On this tour you’re bringing along support from INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, two bands who this year are certainly making themselves in the scene. Do you see your earlier selves in these two bands and are there any other new artists that you’re loving at the moment that deserve a shoutout?
K: Yeah, me and James from INHEAVEN speak a lot and we’ve got similar ideas and we sort of got successful at the same age. We have this sort of kindred spirit I guess. They’re both really cool bands.
There’s a band called Dead Pretties who I’m really intrigued by, they’ve only got one song out but that one song has got me really excited, see where they go and hopefully they’ll be releasing more tunes.
New bands are particularly explored most at festivals, is that something you’re all ready for now, festival season? Excited to get the record out to the summer crowd?
K: I love festivals. I don’t feel like there’s as much pressure as to your own shows because there’s lot of other great bands around you. It’s a really good proving ground to prove to yourself and to prove to other people that you know you deserve to be there and you wanna be higher up on the bill the year after. We’ve managed the main stages this year and it’s sort of like Sound City like you said, people turned up and you persuaded people to like you and your sound. We play these big festivals and we’ve got the opportunity to impress thousands of people, we get the chance to stretch ourselves and show to people that we are future headliners.
That is great to hear because you guys have certainly worked hard and deserving for where you are today. It definitely will be the case in the future and certainly proven when this new record is released tomorrow.
K: Yeah, thank you we hope so and we think it’s gonna be a really cool summer.
I can’t wait for Different Creatures to be out tomorrow, can’t wait for the headline Liverpool show next week and it’s all going to be absolutely top notch.
K: Amazing, and yeah thank you so much for coming to all the gigs even from the Kazimier!
No worries, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking to you and I wish for all the best.
K: You too!
Different Creatures is now available on all streaming services. Available for digital purchase and physical purchase via the official Circa Waves store