Somojo Magazine

Circle of Reason

Hi how are you?
We are good thanks.

Would you mind introducing yourselves and telling us what instruments you play?Hi I’m Gary I play guitar and occasionally sing. Hi I’m Simon I am the main vocalist and I play guitar, Hi I’m Justin and I play drums and occasionally sing, Hi I’m Jack and I play bass and am the 2nd main singer.

How long has the current band line up been together?
The current lineup has been together for about 5 months now, Jack is our newest member.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard you?
As alternative rock, mixed with some prog, we have catchy vocal lines, catchy choruses and guitar lines, we have layered vocal harmonies and layered guitars, our soft sound is beautiful and our heavy sound is powerful, thick and punchy.

What have you been up to recently?
We have been busy recording rough demos at home and putting the finishing touches to some songs, we’ve been rehearsing to make sure we are as tight as can be and  we have also done a couple of interviews for radio, one in Milton Keynes and one in Wales. We are also in the process of booking gigs.

What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
The next 12 months should be really busy for us if all goes well, we expect to be gigging a lot and doing some touring too, also we want to record more songs eventually, whether it be another single or ep or even an album we want to release more for people to hear and just really want to cover as much gigging ground as possible.

How did you meet each other?
Gary, Justin and I (Simon) met through working at a small music school as teachers and then after we decided to get together and start to form a band we recruited Jack through an online musician finder website.

How did you come up with the name for the band?
The band name was an absolute nightmare, we were trying to think of a name for a long time, even when we recorded our first demo we still hadn’t got a name, Simon and I (Gary) would talk for hours each night just trying to think of something we both liked, In the end we came up with circle fits the square, which we soon realized is very similar to an already existing band, so we quickly had a re think and came up with Circle Of Reason. We didn’t think it would ever be that hard, our problem probably was that we were trying too hard; we should have really just let a name pick us instead of picking one. But it’s done now thankfully and we are happy with it.

Did you always want to be in a band?
Gary, yes I always wanted to be in a band and not much else really.
Simon, yeh, well since a very young age
Jack, Yes I did, I wanted to learn an instrument then as I got better I wanted to be in a band.
Justin, yes, as far back as I can remember. I spent many many hours air drumming when I was little and just listening to music incessantly; nothing’s changed since then with the exception of air drumming lol

What music did you listen to while growing up?
Gary, I listened to whatever my parents would play, so it was bands like Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent, AC/DC etc, so I always liked guitar based music and when I started getting into it more, I listened to The Smashing Pumpkins,  Nirvana, Green Day, Metallica etc.
Simon, alot of Mettalica, Pantera, Megadeth, Ozzy, Children of Bodom. The sort of stuff I was learning on guitar but also in me, AFI, Placebo, blink, Radiohead and the odd bit of industrial. Lots of stuff!
Jack, I listened to classic rock bands, such as Queen, Aerosmith, Metallica etc
Justin, all kinds, I literally listened to anything I could, except pop

How long have you played your instruments?
Gary, I’ve played guitar for about 15 years I’d say.
Jack, I’ve been playing for about 9 years.
Justin, I’ve been drumming for 20 years
Simon, 6/7 years

What were your first music making experiences?
Jack, my first band, we would just jam covers and make up silly songs.
Gary, as soon as I could play I would make up riffs and chord sequences at home and also play covers in a band when I was at school.
Simon, my first proper experience was making and creating during G.C.S.E music. Which could have gone better!
Justin, my first proper music making experience was when I was 17, round a friend’s house. He played piano, and our other friend played bass. His parents were on holiday at the time so he decided to spend over £10,000 on his dad’s credit card buying a mixer, microphones etc etc lol we recorded a song with everything he bought, good time’s lol

Are you self taught or did you have lessons?
Gary, I had one 20 minute lesson a week at school for a year or so, also my dad showed me a few things on the way, as he plays too.  Apart from that I picked things up as I went along.
Justin, I had lessons through school, although I already knew how to play basics before starting lessons. Since leaving school everything is self taught. Being in a band really makes you learn how to play
Simon, Lessons
Jack, I started off with guitar lessons for a 1 hour a week for about 3 years then I just pretty much started playing in bands and learnt more that way.

Circle of Reason

What is your current equipment?
Gary, I use schecter guitars, a peavey 5150 ii head and a Randall cab, A few different foot pedals like Boss and tonecore etc.
Simon, Schecter hellraiser, Fender aerodyne telecaster, LAG winter acoustic, Randall Rh150 G3 head and cab, Boss tuner, sonic maximiser.
Justin, I use a Mapex M Series 6 piece kit, with Sabien cymbals and DW hardware
Jack, Fender American p bass, Warwick streamer standard, Marshall Head and cab,

If you had unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
Simon, You haven’t got a big enough piece of paper
Gary, one of every guitar in the world perhaps, also I’d custom a lot more things too.
Justin, Ha! I couldn’t even begin to list. Let’s just say it would involve me going to Poole Percussion (local drum shop) telling them to close the store and make me a coffee cos im gonna be doing some shopping
Jack, A lot of things, maybe more custom instruments and that sort of thing. 

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Yes and no, When we have recorded before we have been lucky enough to use studio equipment, such as mesa boogie amps, peavey, Marshall, engl cabs etc which we don’t own, but were able to use in the studio, also there are some effects pedals that we use in the studio but don’t and won’t use live, Of course we use our own gear in the studio as well but we also like to use extra things too to get different sounds and what not.

Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
No set routine really but things normally happen in a certain way, We write as much as we can then record when we feel like the song is nearly complete, then we add extra parts, overdubs, harmonies etc until we are happy with what we’ve got. We give it a listen and see how it sounds.

Which software/recording process do you use?
For home recordings we use a Zoom mrs digital multitrack (16 track) also we have used adobe audition, audacity and a couple of other programs.

Would you sign to a major record company?
Jack, yes in a heartbeat
Gary, yes for sure.
Justin, Yes I would
Simon, Damn straight

Do you have any new recordings planned?
Not professional recordings no, Studio recording is not one of our main priorities at the moment but we do hope to record again when the time is right.  We are always recording at home demoing new songs and redoing parts of others etc so we do record often anyway. 

How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
So far we have had a lot to do with both production and arranging, we’ve been fortunate to work with people who are on the same page as us and understand what we are trying to achieve, we have ideas on how we want it to sound and the more we record the closer we get to what we want it to sound like. Of course we are open to suggestions from producers, engineers etc when we have recorded, as input from anyone is important, they might hear something that we don’t and everyone involved has the same goal to make the recordings the best they can be so we welcome input.

Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
Yes that is something that we all would love to get involved with, we would really enjoy recording other bands and producing one day.

Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
Being recorded by someone else is always easier than recording ourselves, when in a studio environment you don’t have to keep pressing buttons and turning knobs; someone else does that for you so that part is easier. Also being in a studio, they have lots of effects that can be added afterwards etc (effects we don’t own) and the quality is always much better than what we can produce at home. It is enjoyable but can be quite tense if you’ve only got a few days to record, there’s always the added pressure of getting it all done in a set time. But the finished product makes it all worth it. We think it does get easier as you become more familiar with how things work, when you work with an engineer/producer who is on the same page as you, then things are a lot easier.

Do you try and capture your live sound on recordings or do you think that live sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
We don’t try and capture our live sound on recordings as it is nice to have some differences, the differences are subtle but still a different experience for everyone involved and anyone listening. 

Who are the main songwriters for the band?
Gary and Simon

Do you have a method for writing songs? (Lyrics first, music first etc)
Most of the time the music comes first  at least a riff or two, then the song builds around that,  we then play around with the arrangement and  start writing lyrics, then write any overdubs or other parts, we roughly record it and add the bass, vocals and drums. That’s pretty much how things go. We try the song out when we practice and sometimes things change and we just keep playing it and tweaking it until we are happy with it.

Do you write songs only about personal experiences? – We write about whatever feels natural, sometimes it can be a personal experience or more of a general one; it’s wherever the music or mood takes us really. And what we think sounds good. Sometimes we just start writing and it will take us in a certain direction and we just go with it.

Do you find songwriting easy or difficult?
Some songs come a lot quicker and easier than others, for example in our current set we have Chasing the sun, which came together very easily and quickly, whereas we have another song called Sea of voices that took a while for us to get happy with, we changed the tuning 3 times, we took a long time to write lyrics and melody line etc. But the end result of each song is great (in our minds haha) it’s something we really enjoy doing, you can write a song in 10 minutes or 6 months, sometimes that’s just how it goes for us. But the outcome is always a good one.

Who are your favorite songwriters?
Simon, Mark Kozelek, Jesse Lacey, Ben Gibbard, Thom york, Alexi Lahio, Simon Neil.
Jack, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammet (Metallica)
Gary, Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins also Daniel Johns from Silverchair.
Justin, Not sure, more of a favourite musician man

Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Jack, definitely Japan as it’s always been a place I’ve wanted to visit,
Justin, USA, Japan, Australia, Switzerland
Simon, JAPAN
Gary, UK, USA, Japan anywhere that will have us.

Who would you like to tour with?
Gary, Biffy Clyro, Muse, Smashing Pumpkins would be at the top of my list, but touring with any band would be great.
Simon, Biffy Clyro, Placebo, Smashing pumkins. theres loads!
Jack, Biffy Clyro, Muse etc just anyone really.
Justin, tough question, too many bands to choose from. Alter Bridge, Sevendust, Skindred and Godsmack would be quite high up on my list at the moment

How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
We use myspace religiously, it’s how we have made all our contacts, and how we got management, a music video director, photographers, industry interest, (magazine interviews) radio shows and of course how we now have quite a few friends and fans. Myspace has been amazing for us and is an absolute asset to any band out there. You can reach such a wide audience and music is taken seriously on myspace.

Do you use websites like Reverbnation or Soundclick?
Not as yet, but that is something we are looking into actually.

Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
Most definitely, without the internet, it would be so much harder than it already is to get noticed. There are a lot of sites and guides for bands on the net that are very useful. The more sites you can showcase your music on, the better it is. Myspace and last fm are great for that. The internet is excellent for generating a buzz, news travels a lot faster online which is brilliant.

With all the various websites out there for independent and unsigned artists, is there still something that is missing from them that you think would benefit the lesser-known artists?
I’m sure there are things missing from them but they are always getting updated and new things are added to them. At the end of the day, most of the sites are free to join and free to upload your songs, so you can’t really grumble.

How do you relax?
Simon, I get my game on. Or read.
Jack, I relax by playing an instrument and listening to music
Justin, watching movies and playing on the PS3 lol Not all the time though, I do like to go out on days out to different places to
Gary, I like writing and playing the guitar, listening to music, watching films and sleeping.

What are your day jobs if you have them? Would you like to be full time working musicians or are you happy with things as they are?
Jack, I am a laborer and part time bar man and would give anything to be a full time musician.
Justin, I currently work full time in IT for a medical insurance broker. Though I would give anything to be a musician full time, it’s my dream, my talent in life
Gary, I occasionally do some laboring work and teach guitar lessons. I want to be a full time musician, it’s all I’ve ever wanted.
Simon, I am a guitar Tutor. I’ve always wanted to be a full time musician and nothing else.

Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Not yet, but we are hopeful

Is it something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Yes definitely, it’s something we thought of even before we had a full line up, we would love to have one of our songs on a soundtrack, and we eventually would like to write music for film scores etc, instrumental music, incidental music, that sort of thing.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
Just like to say thanks for this opportunity and we really enjoyed it. Also that we have a single out on itunes called Chasing The Sun and its available for download and the music video for the song can be viewed on youtube, myspace, scuzz tv and hopefully soon to be on more.

Thanks from all of us.
Best wishes

Circle Of Reason.

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