Looking to broaden your musical horizons and branch out? Well, last month we headed down to Takedown Festival at Southampton University – one of the first bands of the day were local Alt. Rock/Metal band Circle of Reason. After the event we caught up with them to find our more about the band, their music and experiences. Below are some of the genuinely interesting and insightful conversations, where you can really get to know them – spliced in with some of the photos from their set.
Who ARE Circle of Reason?
Sam – I’m Sam I play bass and sing. I joined late through a website, but the small world that it is it turned out I went to school with Simon.
Simon – Guitar and vocals, I live in Chandler’s Ford, I knew Sam from school, I met Gary and Andy through work!
Andy – Drums, Southampton Town! I joined after helping out for a tad.
Gary – I play guitar, I live near Southampton, started the band with Simon, we met through work.
What kind of music do you play?
The loose genre would be Rock, it can vary from song to song though but, Alternative Rock sums us up pretty well as we do have different elements of Rock, Prog, Melodic, Grunge, Metal etc which places us under the Alt Rock umbrella, and we’re fine with that.
As for feel and tempo again each song varies, we’ve got some faster songs like Themes Amongst Thieves and Sea Of Voices, then some mid range paced tracks like Chasing The Sun and Silver Scene, then nice and slow ones like Sleep and Annie May (basically anything from our online release only EP Yesterday Already). With the new material, the majority of songs are leaning towards the faster end of the spectrum, but that is a conscious effort from us, the new material is geared heavily around playing live and we do enjoy playing the faster songs live.
Who or what are your influences?
Simon – Biffy, Mastodon, Muse, Pumpkins, City and Colour.
Sam – My influences as a bass player are Geddy Lee from Rush, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and the classic rock bassists like Geezer Butler and John Entwistle even though my playing is nothing like theirs.
Gary – Riffs and a good melody mainly for me, bands that have lots of riffs and singing, Mastodon, Coheed and Cambria, Baroness, Muse, Biffy those sorts of bands, I do like a bit of prog too and those bands kind of tick all boxes for me in their own different way.
Andy – Right old mix, here’s a few of mine, Between the Buried and Me, Weather Report, Taylor Swift.
We recently saw you at Takedown Festival, how was that experience for you?
Takedown was brilliant, we were really pleased to be playing it, it’s got such a good reputation as an awesome festival plus it’s local to us so makes it a HAVE TO PLAY for us, so to be asked to play amongst so many other bands was great. Being first up on the Southampton Music Stage was a little daunting, we were concerned with turnout, were people going to watch us when two other bands were playing at the same time as us? Were people going to get there in time to see us? But thankfully we had a really good turnout and the set went down really well. We had 25 minutes so we decided to just play our released singles which was a smart move for time and we enjoyed every second of it and hope to get asked back next year. It was also good to see a wide range of bands across different genres playing and there actually was something for everyone and people were spoilt for choice, in a way it was nice to be on first so we could then spend the day checking out loads of bands we don’t usually get the chance to see.
Do you have any more festivals and/or gigs planned for the rest of 2015?
We do have some shows planned but the main focus for us at the moment is the new material, but as it stands at the moment we’ve got:
May a 3 dayer
June 20th we’ve got Buckfest in Worthing
July 26th we’ve got xfest in London
Late August we’ve got Upton Festival & Rockwich Festival
But really we’re just trying to get the new material ready so we can play a brand new set and mix things up a little, so mainly just a few festivals and pure concentration of new songs.
What’s the best gig experience you’ve had as a band so far?
Sam – Best gig experience I have had is probably Takedown so far but other than that maybe supporting Feed The Rhino and Marmozets at the Joiners, that was such a great gig, Also playing Weyfest was good as well, we opened the main stage and UB40 headlined that night, it was pretty crazy but such a chilled out festival with good music and people.
Simon – We’ve had a fair few gigs that have stood out and stayed with us. Playing Weyfest on such a big stage and getting brilliantly received was brilliant, playing with feed the rhino, Marmozets and Steak number eight on the same night and getting a greater reaction than we could of ever imagined was awesome and our first show in Doncaster at Vintage Rock Bar that was just a great night and we loved every minute of it.
Andy – Monty’s Bar in Dunfermline was great, we were on tour in Scotland last year and were all so tired and a little beaten up then we headlined Monty’s Bar and the crowd were amazing, it was packed, people were dancing, it was just the perk we needed, Weyfest was great, Oh and always gotta love Bognor Festival. Also, we played a show in Nottingham at the Maze when we were on tour and Simon slipped up and stacked right into the corner of the fire exit, which was quite memorable and funny. (if anyone has a photo of this we’d love to see!)
Gary – Takedown is definitely up there for me, as is Weyfest, Vintage Rock Bar in Doncaster, Monty’s Bar Dunfermline, Club 85 in Hitchin where the crowds have been awesome, nothing crazy happened as such but just in general we love playing and have a blast whatever really.
Have you got anything in the works regarding new music?
New music is coming!!!! We are in the process at the moment of writing and demoing, it’s sounding really good. We’re all very excited about it and pleased with what we’ve got so far and working hard to get everything how we want it to be and not rushing the songs for the hell of it. We’re looking at 6-8 new songs to have completed and then recorded, the songs we are working on feel really good, it’s so nice to be able to start doing new material and we’re all looking forward to recording and touring them hard.
If so could you tell us more about that? What’s the theme/concept, how’s the process going? Etc.
We don’t really write with a theme or concept in mind, we just go with whatever comes to us and then build on that idea. Lyrically we have some inspiration at times and that gives us an idea of where It’s going to go and what it will be about once we start writing, but it’s nice to just let the music almost dictate what should be sung over it, sometimes things just work, or sometimes they don’t haha, but we try and get the best outcome for us as a band and what we actually like rather than just making do with something. We wouldn’t want to get bogged down by a certain concept/subject or theme and almost give ourselves boundaries in what we could write about, so just picking up a guitar and seeing what happens, then liking it and writing to it is really nice to do. Even if you’re not sure what the subject is at first, it soon becomes clear and then that leads to more ideas where you know which direction you’re heading. I’m sure each band is different but that’s what we do and enjoy it, so it suits us.
There is more of a focus on melody and riffs and what we actually prefer playing live, we’ve toured a lot and played live a lot so we are making a conscious effort to steer the new songs in a more ‘live in mind’ approach, more awareness with tunings and fluidity of set etc and pace of songs.
Describing the new material in a nutshell would probably be dirty and powerful. We have gone a bit heavier in terms of music but not overly heavy, just riffing a lot more with a ballsy presence but still keeping to our ‘sound’ with melodic singing, it looks like singing duties will be shared a bit more as well with the new material so that will give us a little more contrast which we’ve always wanted, We want to mix it up, It’s good to have power music and keep those vocals clean and soaring – for us anyway haha.
People will still know it’s us, the new material suits us more as a band and as individuals, it’s music that we ourselves would like to listen to – so really we’re just pleasing ourselves and hoping some other people like it! We feel it represents us more now on the whole.
Out of your existing catalogue, if there is one song that could sum up your sound or one song you’re most proud of what would that be and where can we find it?
Gary – I don’t think one song can sum up the sound of us, especially when you have mixed genres within your sound, maybe we will write that song one day and it will sum us up but I don’t think we have yet. As for being proud of songs it’s a toughie but probably the singles that have been featured on Kerrang and Scuzz TV, it’s a big moment when you see your band on the tv and having them on there makes me proud, Chasing The Sun, Sea Of Voices, Silver Scene and Themes Amongst Thieves I salute you.
Andy – Themes Amongst Thieves (below) for me, there’s something about it that I just love playing. It’s been in our set for a while but I just can’t help getting my foot stomp on to it! She’s available everywhere!
Sam – I am probably most proud of a song called Sleep which can be found on our EP These Hands And This Mind. This can be listened to on Spotify, I just love that song, we have never played it live and don’t intend to either. As far as our heavier songs I like Silver Scene or Themes Amongst Thieves as they are a little more upbeat, heavy and fun to play.
Simon – I think the song I’m most proud of is either Don’t Be Still or Sleep. They’re probably not our most popular songs but they’re the ones I love and that I’ve enjoyed and still do enjoy. It’s hard when you’re writing new material and you think it sounds a million miles from what you’ve already done. It doesn’t of course, but we still feel we’re in a different place musically now than we’ve ever been before.
Big thanks from us, cheers to Joe and the team at Fret Buzz, it’s a pleasure to be featured, thank you for the support.
To watch all of Circle of Reason‘s music videos, some live performances, tour videos etc you can catch all that on their youtube, don’t forget to subscribe as they’ve got a lot more to share soon:
Individual music videos:
Chasing The Sun – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MqtE0pfnP0
Sea Of Voices – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj0eNTrzu7A
Silver Scene – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCdR7AOG8s0
Don’t Be Still – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZKsKv7I7f4
Themes Amongst Thieves – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX82tM24wDE
For physical copies and merchandise please visit:
Download on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/circle-of-reason/id354721734 – Or any other online outlet such as Amazon, Deezer, Spotify, Sony etc.
For more Circle of Reason news and album updates be sure to check back on Fret-Buzz.net soon and like us on Facebook!
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