THERE are bands who have had meteoric rises, and then are English indie-rock quartet Circa Waves, who are set to play Splendour In The Grass and four sideshows.
When they wrote, recorded and uploaded their single ‘Young Chasers’ to Soundcloud in a single day, they didn’t expect much to happen. That very night it was picked up and played on the biggest radio station in the UK, and the young band haven’t looked back since.
“It was definitely a freak occurrence,” says drummer Sian Plummer. “That’s not the norm for us by any means. I think it was just knowing the right person at the right time at Radio 1 that helped it get played that evening. It really helped that Radio 1 was so keen to help champion young, new music, and they were quite eager to give us a push. But [getting it played on] the first day was quite an achievement [laughs].”
Sudden national exposure led to a flurry of song-writing and touring for the band, before a deal was inked with Dew Process.
“We all met at a festival in Liverpool called Sound City,” Plummer says. “We were all there, and we were all bored with our respective bands and whatever. So we decided we’ll start a band with the aim of playing Sound City next year, and instead of doing that we ended up getting signed and touring the world. To celebrate we just went out and had massive steak dinners in this really posh restaurant. We basically gorged ourselves on quality meat.”
They’ve existed for barely a year, in which they’ve toured incessantly, so it’s understandable that not all the members of the band have had a chance to reflect and plan for the gigs ahead. When asked how much he knows about Splendour In The Grass, Plummer laughs.
“We’re a bit sketchy on the details – can you fill me in?” he says. “Australia: the idea that people are listening to our music on the other side of the world is an unreal scenario to think about. I don’t even know what’s happening over there. I can’t quite process the idea that people are hearing our music and are sort of down with it, so we’re looking forward to coming over and seeing first-hand. It’s really exciting. To be honest, we’re just pretty stoked to be going to Australia, so we haven’t thought far enough ahead to be considering festivals and club shows. I guess I’m excited to see what an Australian club show is like; how you guys react and whether it goes off. Festivals are amazing as well; there’s this whole other side of playing to a crowd in a tent that is just a unique feeling, so we’re looking forward to both.”
The band have just released their debut, self-titled EP in time for an airing at Splendour and a run of shows supporting Metronomy.
“We’re just about there right now,” Plummer says. “We’ve got enough material for at least a 45-minute set now. We’re sort of still perfecting our set and have been over the past six months, so I think we’ve got a good set-list together now and we can fill that time. Then obviously Kieran [Shudall, guitar/vocals] does loads of stand-up comedy between each song, so that takes about ten minutes between each song in the set [laughs].”
Despite being praised by British music press and hailed as a “buzz” band and ones-to-watch, Circa Waves are keen on winning fans the old-fashioned way, Plummer insists.
“We did the NME tour, and that was a strange one,” he says. “It didn’t sell as well as it could have done, but they’ve been really supportive and we really appreciate having anyone like that championing us and getting our name out there. In terms of getting us out there, it’s invaluable. Being played on Radio 1 is the best place to get heard. But from our point of view, it’s all about the live shows; going to people’s towns and playing is the important thing. That’s the way we’ve always got out there and got known. If people haven’t seen us play and don’t know what we’re about live, they’re not going to know what it is we’re about. We’re keen to spread that message.”
While their touring schedule appears unending, a band that does things as quickly as Circa Waves isn’t going to wait years to put out an album.
“We’ve just finished recording our album a couple of weeks ago,” Plummer says. “We went into a studio for about five weeks and laid down quite a lot of tracks. Bit by bit we’re going to start mixing them in and showcasing them live. We’ve amassed quite a bit of material in the last six months. Ideally we’re looking at an early next year release, and before then play live in as many places as we can. It’s a pretty raw sounding album in many ways. It’s not an overly-produced record; we’ve tried to keep post-production to a minimum, and it’s got quite a live feel to it in places as well, as some of the takes were done completely live. It’s about capturing and conveying a lot of the energy of us live. I think we’ve managed to get something that sounds pretty cool as well. We get a lot of comparisons to the Strokes and that’s a great comparison to have, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. We’re influenced by the Strokes, but I don’t think we sound like the Strokes, and what we’ve tried to do on this record is to convey who Circa Waves are and how we sound, and I think that’s massively important. We’re looking forward to getting it out there and showing everybody what we’re about.”
When & Where:
Friday 25th July Forum Theatre, Melbourne (supporting Metronomy)
Saturday 26th July Splendour In The Grass, Byron Parklands
CIRCA WAVES’ DEBUT EP IS OUT NOW.