‘I think our ambition to be a bigger band has pushed our sound more commercial. We couldn’t keep making garage indie forever,’ says Circa Waves frontman Kieran Shudall.
Kieran is talking about the indie rocker’s latest album, What’s It Like Over There, which will drop in April via Prolifica Inc.
Since their 2015 debut Chasers the Liverpudlian four-piece have largely stayed true to their indie origins, albeit evolving the chipper sound of that first record into darker territory for 2016’s Different Creatures.
What’s It Like Over There promises their biggest progression yet, as the band’s ambition pushes them beyond the comfort zone of a familiar genre.
The recording of Circa Waves latest record took a different shape than their previous efforts opening up fresh avenues for the band.
Ahead of the release of the record and a UK tour, which kicks off in Oxford 15 April, Kieran gives some insight into the band’s new adventures…
It’s not long until What’s It Like Over There? will be out in the world, what was the thinking behind the album?
We wanted to make bigger songs than we ever have, to push ourselves into a more cinematic place. We wanted to add more pop elements into our ‘rock’ sound.
Can you explain the process of writing and recording the new record?
Me and Alan Moulder produced it. Locking ourselves away in a studio for a month we delved into instruments we never usually play. There was a grand piano in the studio so that became a big part of the album.
You’ve mentioned there was a less defined approach to this album with band members regularly swapping instruments.
The rule is ‘always serve the song’. So if Sam was playing piano, Joe may move to bass or whatever. What the song needed it got. We’ve become less precious about our roles over the years. Apart from me. I’m the singer, so back off.
What inspired this shift?
Three albums in there is no point in keeping with the same old tactics. We love bands who change and develop and that’s what we strive to do.
The album was recorded in just a month, how did this shape the sound of the songs?
I do months of work at home demoing before we go into the studio so there was a very clear outline of what needs to be done. I like to get to working hard straight away once we are in the studio, so it’s good to have a plan of action.
How has your sound evolved over your three albums?
I think our ambition to be a bigger band has pushed our sound to be more commercial. That seems to be what happens to lots of bands. We couldn’t keep making garage indie forever.
What are the band’s primary collective influences?
It’s so varied its hard to say. A lot of it is production references. For the latest record, I love stuff like Gorillaz, Drake, and Arctic Monkeys, which inspired the sounds.
You have a headline show coming up at the Roundhouse, how are you preparing for the tour?
80 sit ups and five gin and tonics a day.
Do you enjoy touring?
I enjoy being on stage. To hear people singing your songs back to you is the greatest feeling ever. I don’t like being away from home though, I miss my family and Liverpool. Get the bloody violins out!
What does the band have lined up for the rest of 2019?
Touring around the world as much as we are allowed to. Festivals and playing bigger venues. Generally getting much better as a band. There’s always room for improvement.
What’s currently on repeat at the moment?
Another Sky – Chillers.
What advice would you give to new bands just starting out?
Write more songs than everyone else. Treat it like a muscle you must train. Great songs will win over all the other bullshit in the end.
What’s It Like Over There? is out 5 April via Prolifica Inc.
Forthcoming UK tour dates
Apr 15 O2 Academy Oxford, Oxford
Apr 16 Rock City, Nottingham
Apr 18 Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow
Apr 19 O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
Apr 20 Foundry, Sheffield University, Sheffield
Apr 23 O2 Institute, Birmingham
Apr 25 O2 Academy, Bristol
Apr 26 Roundhouse, London
Sat 27 April Uni, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Jul 19 – 21 Tramlines 2019, Sheffield
Aug 23 – 24 Reading Festival 2019, Reading