Escape (single to be released on iTunes in December 2011)
Final Straw (single released on iTunes, 16th May 2011)
Little Girl (single released on iTunes, 19th August 2010)
Hi guys, how are you?
Good thanks. We are very excited about releasing our new single
‘Escape’ in December.
Would you mind introducing us to your band members?
We have Mayumi on bass, Tris on drums and me (Dan) on guitar and vocals.
How long has the current band line up been together?
The band has been going for just over 2 years, 1 year with this line-up.
How did you meet each other?
I bumped into Mayumi at a mate’s gig in Kent. I wanted to start a rock band and Mayumi was looking to join something new. We got chatting and later met up for a jam. It went from there really. Tris was recommended by a friend and he joined us last summer when we were releasing our debut release Little Girl.
How did you come up with the band name?
I had an idea for a song with the title - Black Circles. For some reason I never got around to finishing the idea and it just sat in the song vault gathering dust. Later, when we were trying to think of a band name, it just popped into my head. The rest was history.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Queens of The Stone Age meets Foo Fighters meets Blink 182 I guess.
What music did you listen to while growing up?
Lots of stuff. My dad got me into the Beatles, Deep Purple, Peter Green and other 60s & 70s heavy rock bands. Later I discovered Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Kyuss and Soundgarden.
Which artist or track inspired you to want to make music yourself?
Jimi Hendrix. He da man.
When was the ‘I want to do that!’ moment?
The first time I saw the video for No one Knows (QOTSA) I thought, ‘I wanna do that!'
What was the last music you put on your ipod or mp3 player?
Karnivool’s last album ‘Sound Awake.’ Me and guys went to see them live recently and they just blew us away. Lots of good rock bands from Oz at the moment.
What have you been up to recently?
Over the summer we played a series of festivals, including the Great Escape Festival in Brighton, Indie Week Ireland in Dublin, Farm
Festival and the Big Bike Festival. All great fun! We’re also just putting the finishes touches to our new single ‘Escape’ which we hope to release in December.
What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
Over the next few months we’ll be concentrating on the release, building our fan base online and writing new material. There is a talk of doing an EP in the autumn next year - keep you posted on that!
What is your current equipment?
A black Gibson Les Paul studio (nickname: Gibby) and an Orange Rockerverb combo amp.
Do you have a favourite piece of musical kit that you couldn’t live without?
I know I couldn’t last a gig without Pickboy plectrums. They have a special grip on them so you don’t drop them. Really does help if you have sweaty hands like me.
If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
A stack of Orange amps and every bit of equipment to build my own studio. That’s every musician’s dream right?
Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
We love using raw sounds and so tend to just use our live gear to record with. For now, we are focusing on the sound and energy we can produce as a three-piece rather than adding tracking more instruments.
Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
Black Circles is very much a live band, so to capture the energy and feel of our performance is really important when recording. We find just tracking the main parts (only what’s needed) and mixing them well is enough to get sound we’re after.
How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
Up until now we have arranged, recorded and produced all our own songs with the help of a friend. It’s always nice to get an outside
opinion, especially at the mixing stage.
Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
I guess I could see myself producing bands in the future – only when I have my stack of Orange amps and enough equipment to build my own studio of course.
Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
Yes I enjoy it and I suppose it gets easier the more you record, but sometimes it’s good to shake things up and try something new. Often musical accidents create the best sounds.
Do you have any new recordings planned?
We are stocking up as many songs as we can. Mayumi and I often jam and record ideas between rehearsals. As a DIY band, we have freedom to record anytime we want and as much as we want.
Which are your favourite original tracks?
My personal favourite is ‘Good Thing Is Gone.’ It's one of the first Black Circles songs I wrote and I love playing the crazy instrumental section live.
Who are your favourite songwriters?
Bowie, Cobain, Lennon.
Who are the main songwriters for the band?
Me and Mayumi.
Would you sign with a major record company?
If the right label came along, we would definitely consider it.
Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
There isn’t a set routine; we just try to enjoy the writing process and record ideas as they come. You can’t really plan it, sometimes a little guitar riff can grow into a monster song! You just have to let it happen and have fun with it.
Do you have a method for writing songs?
It varies. Sometimes I’ll have verse/chorus idea, other times we jam a song from Mayumi’s bass line. Sometime it will even start with a lyric and then we build the song around it. No hard and fast rules really.
Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Writing music has always been easier but I used to struggle with lyrics when I was younger. For me, words were needed for the ‘singing bit’ to make an idea a proper song. As I’ve gone on, I’ve realised how good lyrics can totally set the mood and tone of a song. Lyrics now play a massive part in my writing in Black Circles.
Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
Supporting Foo Fighters and/or QOTSA would be amazing! Having a few beers after the show with them would be cool too.
Which countries have you gigged in?
So far, Black Circles has concentrated on the UK but are looking to tour abroad in the near future. Our music is getting picked up on radio shows in the USA and Canada, so if we were invited over to play there, we’d definitely be up for it.
Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
USA, Canada, Japan, Australia.
Who would you like to tour with?
Karnivool, Biffy Clyro, QOTSA, our list never ends…. but it would be cool to tour with a totally different band, much heavier band like
Parkway Drive. They can give us tips on how to scream.
How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
Other than gigs we use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with our fans as well as attracting new ones. It’s the way the industry is
going. The internet is the number one source for the younger generation to discover new music. Every up and coming band must utilise this!
Which music promotion websites do you use and do you have a favourite?
In addition to our social network sites, we promote our music on Soundcloud, Tourdates.co.uk, Lemonrock, Rock 24/7, anywhere we can really.
Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
Yeh very useful. It allows us and other unsigned to build up our fanbase in a more personal way.
With such a variety of similar websites that exist now for independent artist to promote music, is there something missing from them that you would like to see?
There are so many similar sites that it can be confusing for artists as well as fans. As long as our fans have easy access to our music, we are happy, but it would be cool if there was a website that organised events involving live music to allow us to communicate with our fans face to face - that would be fantastic.
What is your opinion on ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
If all bands member are up for it, I say why not.
Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
I don’t usually get nervous before gigs. We love playing live, that’s where we feel most at home.
What’s your best/worst experience at a gig?
We’ve played lots of wicked gigs, there are too many to choose from. When we get a great reaction from the crowds we play to, they usually chat with us afterwards. Nothing better than getting instant feedback after a gig!
Worst gig? It was a charity event held in outside Bristol. The stage was in the middle of a field and it started to rain heavily. Water started to leak from the stage roof and Mayumi and I thought we’d get electrocuted before we finished our set…..luckily, it held up, but we quickly ran from the stage when we finished with nervous smile on our faces…
Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Not yet but it would be fantastic.
Is composing for film or TV something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Of course, it would be cool to sit in the cinema and a film started with your song…I would be smiling all day.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Our current single, Final Straw is available to download from iTunes. Also, keep an eye on our Facebook for gigs. Would be great to see you guys at a show soon!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.