PunkTV.ca exclusive interview by Dixon Christie with Colin and Nick of Circa Survive in support of On Letting Go.
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Dixon: Please introduce yourselves and say hello.
Colin: Hi, my name is Colin.
Nick: Nick. What's up?
Thanks for coming down and thanks for talking to PunkTV. How has the tour been going for you guys and how many shows do you have in front of you?
C: It has been actually amazing so far.
N: Pretty smooth. I was actually completely dreading the heat and the exhaustion and loud noises and everything but we have met, like, hundreds of people in two days and it has been the most fun thing ever.
What do you think of Canada? Have you been able to get outside of the shows in Vancouver and Calgary?
C: Not as much as we'd like, but we've been to Canada a few times and it's always good when we're here...as long as we get through the border.
So tell us about the album.
C: Well it's called On Letting Go and it came out in the end of May; we are super excited about it. It's our second full length and it's on Equal Vision records.
Is there a philosophy behind the band? Is there any kind of theme that you put into this one?
N: Not that I really know of...just letting everything flow naturally and doing what we do when we play together.
Sometimes they say that the sophomore release is kind of like the "tell all" for a band. Do you believe that your whole life if built up for that one album?
C: I think it's all about our 4th or 5th; we are probably always going to be looking forward to the next record we write. This one felt better and more natural than the first one, and I'm sure it will just keep going in that progression. Otherwise, we won't be doing it.
Does Circa Survive write on the road or are you a studio writing band?
N: This is really probably the first time that we might actually be able to utilize the road for recording just because there is so much downtime; you play for an hour and then you are here. We wrote a lot of stuff through each of us just writing things alone and then later combining our ideas, but now we actually have the ability to sit down together and put things together on the bus.
You guys would just write out your individual parts together and get together and try to create something? Do you think you guys have evolved as a song writing team?
C: Definitely, but I think its always going to be a little bit of both writing as a group and writing on our own time. There is stuff that will just come up even when you do a sound check; you will do a little thing, and it's coo, and you will remember it, and then you bust it out in practice. We bring acoustics with us everywhere now so you never really know when the time is going to happen and something will just kind of flow out of you.
Do you guys ever get motivated to do acoustic sets or go out and do an acoustic show?
C: Yeah, we actually just got to do a couple acoustic shows when we had our record released. We did some in stores where it was better to play all acoustic instead of having it be awkwardly loud in a little record store. It was actually great and something I think we will probably definitely try to do more of because it was a very unique vibe and very cool.
N: We got to basically rewrite all the songs and play them with a different energy.
It's like doing a cover song of your own song. Speaking of which, when you guys are recording are you like a live-off-the-floor band or are you like a drum, then bass, then guitar, then vocals, then go back and do those parts type of band? Do you like to get it as much live-off-the-floor as you can?
C: It's a little bit of both. The one thing that we kind of focus on heavily, at least with our producer the last couple times, was pre-production; that's all basically live, where we are just mashing out all the different things that we want to change here and there. It's just all of us playing the songs together a lot. Then when we actually get down to tracking it its mostly individual tracking, but I think we are all pretty anxious to try some live tracking next.
To capture that energy?
N: I often feel that the very first take that we do we like. We just did some TV performances recently and they are like, "we're going to run through it once," and we just nail it that time, but then the next time we are like "ugh". I feel like there is a really cool energy in the first take of everything.
It's the truest representation of your art. That actually reminds me of Jack Kerouac, or one of the great beat writers, who said "if it comes out the first time it's gold and every time that you try to edit that it's a bastardization of the purity of that creative vision."
C: The pre production demos have a bunch of little flubs in it, like mistakes that are actually kind of cool in a way, and even though they are obviously mistakes it's neat and it would be cool to have stuff like that.
C: Also, I busted out like a wah solo that I could never repeat again so we just have this pre production track that I listen to all the time because it's like, "how the hell did I do that?"
We got two questions that we ask everybody, and the first is which of the following experiences have you had: have you seen the face of God, have you had an alien encounter, or have you seen a ghost?
C: I'd say I might have had numbers two and three and possibly half of number one.
N: I'm searching, and I feel like I have been for a long time; we don't have the answers.
Alright, the last question is what would surprise kids most to learn about Circa Survive?
C: We normally answer this with by just saying that we're not as serious and artsy as people think we are. We are kind of nerdy.
You're not as good looking and cool as you look.
C: That is cool.
N: I got nothing.
Well it's been wonderful and you have really filled my life with some sense of meaning and purpose, and I want to thank you for that.
N: We actually do have answers, but we can't just give them to anybody.
Interview by: Dixon Christie, PunkTV.ca