The spirit behind classic rock isn't dead, and Circa Survive is out to prove it to listeners.
Since bursting onto the scene in 2005, the band has continued to push sonic and lyrical boundaries with each album, and their sixth release, The Amulet, is no exception to this pattern. Taking inspiration from their punk and alternative roots, they look to explore even more dense and complication subject matter with their new music, exploring the emotions behind some of the dark corners of the world we live in, the political messes all over place, and trying to locate some magic behind even the bleakest of places. Their latest work is personal, boundary pushing, and unlike anything else being released today. If you're looking for some tracks to make you think a little, Circa Survive has all the thoughts.
The band's guitarist, Colin Frangicetto, spoke with Popdust via email about the band's latest album and why he thinks it's their best work yet.
You've been a band for thirteen years. How did you come to start making music together and what have you learned about working together over the years?
All of us knew each other from previous bands, touring and mutual friends. I think we had a focus on doing things our own way and avoiding the mistakes we had made in previous creative endeavors. Over such a long career you learn things through osmosis in a way... A huge part of what makes us work is that we change our process as we go and evolve in order to keep the band something that is potent, pure in intent and as free from the trappings of greed & egos as possible. As far as writing music we have learned to worry less and to create more.
Your band has been described as a dichotomy of forces, both imaginative and accessible, with the comment that this is often difficult to be in today's world of music. Why do you think that is, and how have you guys overcome it?
This makes sense to me and to reference my answer to the first question I think it has a lot to do with resisting the trappings of ego and greed. We have never chased trends. We don't make decisions based on money alone and when money is a part of a decision it is always weighed against things that we value more : longevity, social responsibility, individual happiness/physical mental health, artistic integrity etc. With that said we also have learned to accept and recognize the value of a catchy melody/infectious rhythm/chord progression. We try not to toss things away just because they are easily accessible. We will try to take something that is perhaps too on the nose or something that may feel too generic or even too bombastic and try to inject some more intricate/delicate/abnormal aspects to it. The bottomline however is simply "how does it feel?" We create from feeling more than any other mode.
You're preparing to release your sixth studio album, The Amulet. Can you talk a little bit about the writing and recording process for it compared to other albums you've worked on?
This record was similar to how we made Descensus. We went in with zero complete songs only a handful of instrumentals that Brendan had made. The majority of the album was created from scratch in the studio by the band and our friend Will Yip who produced & engineered. The process was so enjoyable that it almost didn't feel like work at times. I don't think we've ever been so simultaneously satisfied as well as efficient.
Lyrically, the album tackles a lot of concepts regarding our current social and political climates. Why do you feel compelled to write about these things, and what role do you think music can play in commenting on our society?
Although I rarely write lyrics for Circa and didn't write any for this album. I think this to be Anthony's best work to date as a lyricist. He treats the reader/listener with so much respect. There is no attempt to dumb-down or to force-feed concepts like so many other lyricists tend to do. He is essentially making beautiful, expansive paintings with words and while he is synthesizing these ideas through his own social-political lens I find even his most obvious references to world events/conflicts/issues to come from a deeply personal, complicated, non partisan place. Anthony writes words that allow for individual interpretation while still undeniably coming from a specific point of view. That in itself feels like a Houdini-esque feat. Lyrics can often make the difference between art or entertainment. Recorded music can be seen as a product or it can be art or it can be both. I believe all artists and forms of art to be part of the engine of progress. Any music or art that seeks to exist solely to be consumed without thought and exclusively in an effort to profit should be seen simply as a product/commodity and not as a work of art. This is a concept I could talk about for many hours haha so i will stop now while I am only mildly dizzy.
Do you have any favorite tracks off of the album?
I absolutely love the album as a body of work but I think "At Night It Gets Worse" is one of the best songs we've ever written.
After The Amulet is released, what's up next for you guys?
We will spend the rest of 2017 and most of 2018 touring. 2019 we will reset and most likely do it all over again. Or... we won't. The beauty of our current situation is that we pretty much do whatever we want. That's the way we like it.
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