Written and interviewed by Troy Burke
Kieran Shudall and Joe Falconer are members of the English pop band Circa Waves. Kieran is on vocals and rhythm guitar while Joe plays the lead. They are here in the United States supporting their debut album Young Chasers with a long list of venue shows throughout the country. Before opening for MS MR at Emo’s they took some time to sit down with me to talk about their album and how the US has been treating them.
Troy: Can y’all say y’alls names real fast?
Kieran: I’m Kieran.
Joe: And I’m Joe.
T: Alright, and you guys are a part of Circa Waves.
K: Yes, one half.
T: One half? Where’s the other half at?
K: In the cage that we keep with us.
J: Yeah, they’re only allowed out after dark.
T: Oh, okay.
K: The rhythm section comes out ten minutes before the show.
T: They’re like little gremlins and stuff.
K: You know they can’t be out for too long.
T: Alright, so you guys, y’all blew up in Europe. What was it like to play really big festivals like Reading and Glastonbury? How was that?
K: It was good man, there’s sort of things you grow up and see on TV when you’re younger. He went to Reading and I went to Leeds which are both like together when you’re young teenagers. So to experience that and to start playing to those kids who used to be us is like a really nice feeling. Sort of very, feels like you have achieved a lot. So yeah, I’m very proud of what we did this summer.
T: You guys sold out a couple of shows in New York City right?
J: We’ve definitely sold out one.
K: We sold out one.
J: I think the Brooklyn Knitting Factory sold out. It’s cool though, like, obviously you want New York and LA. It’s kind of like book ends of the country in terms of rock and roll. So to, we sold out Troubadour as well but you know if New York let us down then we would never forgive them. But yeah, Mercury Lounge is like one of those iconic venues that you hear a lot about for like you know, new bands so we’re looking forward to it.
K: It was also in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
J: Was it? I haven’t seen that movie.
T: It was, yeah wow I haven’t seen that in a while. How are y’all liking the US so far?
J: Good. It’s really nice, it’s really great that we can extend our summer. I think as well we didn’t really know what to expect. This is our fourth time we’ve ever come here and we’ve only really ever done festivals and flying visits. This is the first time we’ve got our teeth stuck into the nitty gritty of your country. But it’s good so far but it’s just flying by.
K: Everywhere’s got like cause it’s so huge, like everywhere has got its own little thing about it. Seattle has got its own thing Portland, San Fran, so you get to see it’s almost like traveling to a different country every day as opposed to just one place. It’s like really interesting there’s always something cool about it.
T: Do y’all have a favorite city or venue so far?
K: The Chapel was good.
J: I was going to say San Francisco, I really like San Francisco because we’ve been there twice now and both times we’ve left within eighteen hours. So it’s been teasing me. It’s just beautiful and then I have to leave so I’ve got this idea that it might be the coolest place in the world. But yeah the venue was great as well, really cool venue.
K: Yeah it was like this old church sort of converted it into a gig and it just sounded great.
T: I’m sure there’s a nice little reverb they’ve got going on.
K: Yeah, yeah that was awesome. Small little stuff like that, stuff that wasn’t made to be a gig venue. Stuff like they just were like oh let’s put some speakers here that’s what makes gigs interesting I think.
T: How was Conan? I know you guys did that.
J: It’s super stressful. Just because like, I don’t know. I’ve seen it on TV so many times before and also it’s massive. Late night TV in America is like one of those big things I wanted to get off of the checklist. So just to be there sort of didn’t, it was kind of sort of seeing behind the curtain so it was a bit strange but it was really fun. We had a good day and wandered around Warner Brothers a lot, saw the Batman scenery. Got loads of photos in front of that and then we played the show and it went well. I mean I had Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders just stood about ten feet away from me just arms folded just sort of staring me down.
K: Yeah I didn’t look right at her, I was too scared because after we came off we were all sick with relief just that it went well because you know that it’s like such a big deal if you [mess] up massively on TV then it’s quite obvious and it will be on the internet for the rest of your life. So you just want to get it right. I mean we had been there for seven hours, we completed it and we did really well and it was just like “oh thank God.”
J: And then we had to go straight to the Troubadour.
K: And then we went to the Troubadour and smashed the Troubadour.
J: Yeah the Troubadour was a great show.
T: Man, you guys are busy. Do y’all have a favorite song y’all like to play at y’alls live shows?
J: I’ve been enjoying “So Long” lately. I think it’s the third song we play. Third? Yeah. So like we’ve settled by that point and the intro is just like balls to the wall.
K: I like “So Long” yeah I’ll go with that.
T: Y’alls album it’s kind of light, it’s real easy to dance to like at a show I could definitely see people getting down to it. I kind of like y’alls surfy guitar you have going on in “Stuck In My Teeth” is there anybody in particular that influenced that surfy sound?
K: I think like, I’m trying to think of what I was listening to when we first started the record.
J: Didn’t you listen to Surfer Blood at that point?
K: Surfer Blood, Beach Boys, the Drums.
T: I definitely heard a little bit of the Drums in it.
K: Yeah there’s all sorts of stuff.
J: I think it’s kind of like the sound is like a nice sort of blend of sunny Americana which you don’t get in the UK but then with also sort of British tendencies.
K: I think the vocals are sort of British because you know, they’re quite harsh. They’re sort of quite distorted like quite loudly if that makes sense. But you’ve got this sort of soft surfy background and then the chorus comes in and it’s quite hard and heavy and stuff like that. Yeah I think I always wanted to get that balance right.
T: What have you guys been listening to lately since y’all have been on tour?
J: I listened to obviously the big new album the Ryan Adams Taylor Swift cover record because I’m a massive Ryan Adams fan, which I really enjoyed actually it’s really great. It does sound like it was recorded in two weeks but I think that’s the charm of it. I think it’s crazy that what is really a hobby record has got that much–
K: It’s insane what’s happened to that record.
J: It’s just, that shows you like what happens when like he basically posted it on social media and then it gets picked up by all the blogs that have a slow news day. It’s crazy, but it’s a good record. I’ve been enjoying that and the new Beirut record is good, the new Beach House record is really good. Gonna listen to the new Frog Eyes record soon. I’ve got that downloaded and ready to go. It’s been a good music month for me, I’m just getting back into it.
K: Yeah I haven’t listened to any of that. I’m sure it’s great though.
J: You should listen to the Beach House record, it’s really cool.
K: I don’t know if I like Beach House.
J: This one is a bit more different.
K: I imagine it’s good to fall asleep to on a plane.
J: Yeah, she’s got a really good voice it’s a bit like, how would I describe it? It’s like a sequel to Heaven or Las Vegas by the Cocteau Twins.
K: I don’t know that record.
J: It’s a really good record. It’s a bit more like 80’s Beach House doing like a version, that’s how I hear it. It’s good. Good record.
T: What’s next for you guys? Are y’all planning on coming back for South by Southwest or anything like that?
K: When is that? March?
T: March, yeah March of next year.
K: I don’t know if we’re doing that. We’re coming back in December doing a bunch of shows like radio shows and a few gigs with the Foals.
J: Maybe, I don’t know. February we might have something planned but I think in March we’ll be quite busy and the thing is about South By, it’s something you don’t commit to lightly. Our South By experience was insane.
T: What happened?
J: We did like nine shows in three or four days.
K: Three days. I don’t want to go again.
J: I’d like to go as one of those industry people that I met who seem to be constantly drunk and wandering around.
K: Yeah, I’ll just do what those guys do.
J: As a band it’s such hard work. It’s good though, we loved it, it was our first experience of Austin.
T: Oh wow.
J: I loved it. I love it here. It’s really cool.
K: I think as a band once you do South By you can sort of, you can do anything. It’s like you’ve got nothing left in your body and you’ve still got four more gigs to do that day you know like, “I’m gonna die.” By the end of one of the shows I think I was like sick I was on the phone with my girlfriend saying “I love you, if I don’t speak to you again I love you.” Just thinking I was gonna die afterward but you know you survive it and then you can do whatever you want so that’s good.
T: Thanks for talking to me. Thanks for taking time out of y’alls busy day.
K: Sure. We’re not very busy. We’re just waiting.
J: It’s a good day though because there’s like nothing to do.
T: It’s a nice day outside too.
K: Yeah, I think we’re going to get pints too.
T: Alright well y’all have a good show tonight.