‘sort of edgy, but still really poppy’- Interview with Circa Waves

  Inge van Nimwegen    12 juli 2015

When Snoozecontrol first watched Circa Waves perform it was in front of an audience of no more than 50 people in a small tent at Paaspop. Soon after, single “Stuck in My Teeth” made its appearance on the radio waves, and at the moment it is impossible to escape from the catchy summery tunes of “T-Shirt Weather”.  In the period from Paaspop to Main Square Festival, a lot has changed for the enthusiastic fourpiece: in fact, the difference couldn’t be bigger. We meet up with part of the band as they are about to open the French festival's Main Stage. Capacity? No less than several thousands.

But it took them a while to even get here from their hometown Liverpool (UK) in the first place.

Kieran: ‘The tunnel was delayed because of the ferry strikes, so it took us like 14 hours to get here. In a van. But now that we’re here, it’s well worth it.’

Colin: ‘It makes up for it.’

For the band, there was no question of not showing up, was there?

Kieran: ‘We’ll never cancel shows, unless we break all our bones in our body.’

For those who might, somehow, have not heard of Circa Waves yet, we asked the guys to introduce themselves.

Kieran, apart from liking ‘long walks on the beach’, sings and plays guitar. Colin plays drums. Kieran: ‘We’re an indie rock ‘n roll band from Liverpool, and we’ve played rock ‘n roll for two years together now.’

Two years is not that long, to have achieved what Circa Waves have. Did they imagine they’d be doing this when they first started?

Kieran: ‘No, not at all. We’ve all been in bands for years before this, so it came as quite a shock to finally be doing well. But now that we’re in it I am always expecting more, always wanting bigger and better things.’ Having only recently joined the band, Colin is not so much on the same level: ‘Being the new dog, I think I’m still on that. On your level two years ago. I’m chasing you.’

Kieran: ‘I want to fucking headline it, this festival.’

Colin: ‘While I just want to open it!’ [both laugh]


Two years as a band. When do they think their career really took off?

Kieran: ‘I think when we got on the NME Awards Tour in March 2014. Colin wasn’t even in the band in those days, was he! That was with Royal Blood and Temples; that was when we started to get some press coverage, and people started to know the name Circa Waves. That’s when it felt like we took off a little bit, and it’s been great since then, really.’

Colin: ‘Any chance that was because you met me, around that time, was it?’

Kieran: ‘We met Colin. Around that time. Which was great. Ever since I met Colin, my life’s just been better.’ [laughs]


Which raises the question: how did the two guys meet?

Kieran: ‘Colin said, “Do you want me to re-string your guitar for ya?” He was actually our tech-guy, did all our guitars and drums on the NME Tour. Eventually we needed a new drummer, and Colin was fucking awesome on drums. So we said, “Alright mate, fancy come and play in a band?”. And he,  sillily, agreed.’

Colin: ‘Well, officially I still haven’t agreed yet, so..’

Kieran: ‘You better fucking agree!’ [both laugh]


At Paaspop, they amazed us with an inspiringly fresh cover of Phoenix’s “1901”. Is this a band they look up to?

Kieran: ‘Actually, I haven’t listened to Phoenix in a while. I bought a couple of their records, the Wolfgang Amadeus record and the one before that, and I think they’re fucking amazing. I always respect a band that can be sort of edgy, but still be really poppy, which is a thing that we try and do. Phoenix have sort of created that so well. So I really respect that about them.’

Are there more specific musical influences on the Circa Waves-sound?

Kieran: ‘There’s so many bands. Just any band that writes great hooks and plays great live shows I have a lot of respect for. That is absolutely something we aspire to be.’

Colin: ‘So, you still have a long way to go?’ [chuckles]

Kieran: ‘For you maybe, mate!’


Looking forward to the future, what is on top of their wishlist?

Kieran: ‘I’d like to headline a festival. Preferably a British one that we know, like Leeds and Reading.’

Colin, showing the two years’ difference, is thinking smaller: ‘I’d like to make it into 2016! Just to get there. [laughs] That’s a goal, isn’t it? No, Reading and Leeds is a big one, for any UK band. To be able to headline that..'

Kieran: 'Even if we headlined the Radio 1 tent, that’d be awesome. But in reality, I think just getting to play to more and more people really is our goal. And just become the biggest band that we can be.'

We’ll witness just how big this is: but one thing is certain. However much these guys may joke around, whenever it’s about the music, they are down to business and ready to take on the world.