In Conversation with…CIRCA WAVES

Circa Waves are arguably one of the most hyped about bands of today, being tipped by such prestigious media outlets as NME and Radio 1 as ones to watch. With the recent unveiling of their new single, Stuck In My Teeth, a furious, energetic blast of guitar led melodies, their passion comes through tenfold and with strong lyricism at the forefront of everything they do, they have the talent and ambition to go far. The emphasis that the band has on creating songs that are radio ready singles, not only cements them as power houses and they do it so well but it shows exactly why such media outlets are praising them, just off the back of their début single and as bands like The Strokes and The Vaccines have done before them. It’s only a matter of time before word spreads about Circa Waves and lands them in indie’s hall of fame.

I caught up with Sam Rourke (bass) and Sian Plummer (drums) from the band last night before they took to the stage for their sold out headlining gig at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen. We talked about everything from what’s next for the band, their headline tour and their upcoming slot on the NME Awards show tour, plus much, much more.

I first saw you supporting Swim Deep last year and at that time there was an air of mystery surrounding you because you hadn’t officially released anything at that point and you had virtually no online presence. Was that intentional?

Sian: Yeah, kind of.

Sam: Yeah well we didn’t feel like we had that much that we wanted to put out at the time, so I thought if you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say it. Yeah, we were in the process of building the songs and getting everything ready and they were really early days. I mean, those gigs weren’t even announced, it was kind of supposed to be a bit of a secret.

I know yeah, I was only expecting Wolf Alice as support.

Sam: Yeah, yeah.

Sian: No one knew who we were and as the gigs went on people started to work out what was happening.

After I reviewed that show it seemed like everyone wanted to find out more about you, I mean it went quite crazy, everyone was searching for you.

Sam: Yeah that was kind of intentional as well, like the less you know, the more the people want to know about you as well. It was kind of a little bit like that I think, so it worked in our favour I guess.

Sian: Yeah I think so.

Sam: Because now everyone wants to know who we are.

Why Circa Waves?

Both: It’s a secret.

Sian: It actually is, it’s closely guarded.

It’s just that I found sometimes on stage it can be hard to tell what you’re saying, it can come across as Circle Waves sometimes.

Sam: Yeah for a long time everyone thought we were Circle Waves. I wanted to be Circle Waves, but no one else was having it.

Sian: We almost had two twitter accounts just to catch all these people.

Sam: People catch on eventually.

Do you feel that a band’s image is as important these days as it used to be?

Sam: I think it is, but in a different way maybe.

Sian: Yeah, I dunno. I think, me personally, if a band’s got a really contrived image and they are all wearing a uniform, we’re both wearing denim, that’s not intentional [laughs]. But for me, that’s a bit of a put-off sometimes because you feel like you can see the strings behind the band or whatever. But I think as long as your cool, your image comes through anyway, like I think it’s just about being yourself.

Sam: As long as you’re cool. [laughs]

When you released Get Away/Good For Me did you ever expect it would do as well as it has done?

Both: No

Sam: I don’t think you ever do. Anyone that does is kidding themselves because you never know what’s going to happen and if it goes well then you’re over the moon.

Sian: Yeah definitely and I think as well managing your own expectations, it’s always good to expect less and be pleasantly surprised.

What comes first the melody or lyrics?

Sam: Melody.

Sian: Melody, always.

You’ve been championed by NME, Radio 1 and Xfm as one’s to watch in 2014 that must feel good to get that kind of support so early on?

Sian: Yeah that’s really encouraging, it’s nice to know that someone’s got your back and wants to sort of push you that way and people listen to them and take note of what they say.

Sam: The thing is it makes you think, ‘Oh, we must be alright’ because they say it.

Sian: Yeah, it’s self affirming. It’s cool.

How’s the tour been going so far? Any highlights yet or backstage shenanigans?


Sian: You certainly can’t print them.

Sam: There’s been a lot of banana incidents, we always have bananas on the rider and something always happens with them. The tours been amazing so far, we’ve had good crowds. Sheffield and Newcastle, with the English dates so far, they’ve been amazing. Glasgow was really good.

Sian: Glasgow was amazing.

Sam: Aberdeen was really good. Just coming out to places like Glasgow that are so far away and there being a crowd and people there that want to see you is just amazing.

Sian: It’s quite touching really as well. Who was it that you were talking to in Sheffield yesterday? [to Sam] Apparently there were people last night who had driven 2 hours to come and see us, and we’ve only got a half hour set at the minute as well, so for people to be doing that at this stage is really humbling and nice.

How do you fill your time while you’re on the road?

Sam: Fill the time, in the van?


Sian: Silly Voices.

Sam: Yeah, we do a lot of impressions, a lot of silly voices, a lot of accents, a lot of music. We listen to a lot of cd’s, we got a good system in there.

Who’s on the playlist right now?

Sam: Surfer Blood and a band called, PAWS. Just been listening to them today, that’s a great album.

Sian: Yeah, they’re really good.

You’re going on tour next month with Interpol, Temples and Royal Blood, as part of the NME Awards tour. Understandably an amazing line up, how was it when you got that call?

Sian: Ahh, sick.

Sam: Unbelievable.

Sian: Yeah it was amazing.

Sam: Because it’s the kind of thing that growing up you watch all the time on TV and you follow it in the magazines. I remember just thinking how amazing it would be to be on that and now I’m doing it. I still haven’t got my head around it to be honest, it’s still a bit unbelievable. Can’t wait.

Sian: Gonna have to up for game for that one.

You’ve already got a heap of festivals booked for the summer, any of them that you’re particularly looking forward to and how do you approach playing festivals is it different to playing headline gigs?

Sam: Well, we haven’t done one yet.

Sian: We haven’t done any, so we really don’t know. We’ll have to let you know on that one. I guess preparation wise it’ll just be an hour’s mediation. I don’t know, we approach every show the same I think, as long as we go on and give it loads of energy, connect with the crowd, that’s the most important thing for our shows. All festivals for me, I’d just like to play any of them, it’s just like ‘Okay, wicked, I’m happy with that’.

Liverpool is known for its rich musical history and being from Liverpool yourselves, I wanted to ask you. What’s the music scene like there at the moment?

Sam: Amazing. It’s really good.

Sian: There’s a lot going on.

Sam: It’s a proper community there which is what’s so good about it. Everyone knows each other, everyone helps each other, everyone goes to each other’s gigs, it’s just great.

Sian: Yeah it’s really close knit, really intimate. It’s awesome, really good to be involved in.

We’re big supporters of new music here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies. Having said that, are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?

Sam: Mac DeMarco, I always say that in this situation, he’s new for me so yeah I’m really digging that.

Sian: Mac DeMarco is like a breath of fresh air. We both really dig Jungle at the minute as well. We’re looking forward to seeing loads more of them.

Yeah their new single just came out.

Sam: I haven’t had a chance to hear it yet, hopefully tomorrow.

What do you hope to achieve in 2014?

Sam: Gigs, gigs, gigs.

Sian: We just really want to increase our fanbase and just reach people that’s the most important thing.

Just build on everything.

Sian: Basically yeah. Just keep going in the right direction, keep having fun and I’m happy with that really, that’d be great.


A special thanks to Circa Waves for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.

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Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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