Circle of Reason is a four-piece alternative rock band from Southampton, UK and their new mini album Faith or Theory is out in just two days! The album will be released on May 27th, but I was lucky enough to have an early listen and these guys are some of the most innovative in the game right now. With complex, heavy instrumentals under clean, powerful vocals, the album is one of a kind. You can read my review of Faith or Theory here.
We got to interview the band and get some details about what they’ll be doing the rest of this year and what the process of creating this album was like. Check out that interview below!
Faith or Theory comes out in just two days! What’s going through your heads at the moment?
Excitement. Really looking forward to it coming out and sharing it to whoever wants to listen! We can’t wait.
What have the reviews been like so far?
Generally very positive. We’ve had some really great feedback so far. We feel that our music crosses over genres and we’re a bit hard to put in a specific category/style, so it’s nice to see that kind of thing reflected in the reviews and great to read that you are a bit different from the norm and that people like it. Of course we’re going to get slated as well but at the end of the day, its one person’s opinion and they have every right to voice it.
As I listened to the album, I definitely felt a lot of different influences, one of them being Muse. What are some bands and artists that have had an effect on the way you write music?
We like riffs, heavy guitars and clean vocals. So bands like Muse, Biffy Clyro, Mastodon, Coheed and Cambria, etc. are the stand out bands for us. Writing clean vocals and melodies over heavy, riffy, intricate music can be hard work at times, all those bands mentioned above really nail it and are great to listen to. We don’t ever set out to write a song like Muse or Biffy etc. but because of the nature of what we are doing it might lean in their direction at times. It’s a compliment if we get likened to any of them.
What was the writing process like for Faith or Theory? Do you each take part in it or is it designated to one or two of you?
For the Faith Or Theory songs it started like most material has done previously, with a guitar and some riffs, then a rough structure like usual, but there was more tweaking than previous material with regards to tempos and timings a lot more before we got settled and we edited and adapted certain parts, cut bits out, shortened, lengthened, played around with tunings etc. We wanted to make sure we were happy with layout and structure. In the meantime Simon and myself (Gary) would write lyrics together, each bring ideas to the table and see if they worked and if we liked them. Then it was a case of drilling, getting that right, then adding bass and extra guitar parts, harmonies etc. It’s a group effort as we’re a band. If one person isn’t there we can’t do this.
What is your recording process like, and does it evolve with each project you put out?
Each time we have recorded it’s been pretty similar actually, you are always on a deadline or timeframe and money dictates a lot as to how long you can record for and also depends on how busy the studio is etc. Sometimes a deadline is a good thing, otherwise we’d be forever adding/removing/tweaking and that’s not healthy for anyone. The normal way for us has been record guide tracks to a click, track drums, track guitar, add guitar, add more guitar, track bass, then do vocals last. Our music will keep on evolving so the recording process will also and it’s something to look forward to.
I noticed that you’re currently unsigned. Are you looking to get with a label anytime in the future or do you prefer to be unsigned?
Currently being unsigned suits us if we’re being totally honest. We were talking to some small labels and they seemed great but in the end we just decided for this release that it probably wasn’t the best move for us right now. Never say never of course as who knows what might present itself down the line, but it’s not a priority or ours. Ideally we would like a dedicated booking agent before anything else as booking tours takes up a lot of our time haha.
What’s the local scene like in Southampton? Did any part of where you’re from shape you as a band?
Southampton is decent, some gigs do better than others of course but that’s the same everywhere. There are a lot of different styles about which is good. We have some great venues and some really great bands. Being from Southampton didn’t really shape us as a band, but if it wasn’t for Southampton we wouldn’t have met! So maybe it did completely shape us? haha
Do you have any tours coming up to support Faith or Theory?
Yes we do, and we’re really excited to get out and play the new material. We have a small 5 date run in June after the album is released called The Faith Tour and then towards the end of July we have another tour being finalised at the moment which will be longer called The Theory Tour. We also have a couple of tasty festivals towards the end of summer to look forward to and loads more tours/mini tours in the pipeline with some really talented bands we know. It’s going to be so good just focusing on playing live and having a blast doing it.
Your instrumentals and vocals have a very grandiose feel. As I went through each track, I was more and more amazed at the complexity of your music. You don’t rely on a few chords to get you by and each song is so dynamic. No two sound the same. Do you go into the writing and recording process with certain goals like this, or does it just come naturally as the album progresses?
Firstly, thank you for that, what a compliment ☺ we don’t ever go into writing something with goals as such, once a song starts to take shape you kind of get an idea of where it’s headed. We don’t over complicate or try to be fancy, we just write and play what we think sounds good. We want to be excited about each song we write and play, so having them as individual standalone tracks is important, we didn’t want any filler tracks on the album and in our opinion, mission accomplished ☺
That’s definitely our opinion too! What are some of your favorite memories as a band so far?
Going on tour is always fun, we’re all good mates as well so getting to play each night for a week or two playing the songs we created together is amazing really. Also each time one of our videos gets played on a music channel and we manage to catch it, it’s always a bit surreal but brilliant, anytime a radio station play one of your songs, anytime we play a gig and people or someone comes up and says they enjoyed it. It’s all good when things like that happen.
What about something you’re really proud of?
We’re proud of keeping the band going, even with lineup changes, injuries to members, lack of money, bad luck at times and a number of other things. Just actually being in a band is something to be proud of as it’s not easy.
What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to face as a band?
Lineup changes and losing momentum, it takes time to build a bond with someone and when they leave it can be hard to replace them as you are so used to that other person being around and they know the songs inside out, then you have to go through the whole process again with someone else, plus it can take a while to get the right person involved and it is hard for them coming into an already formed band and fitting in. You lose momentum and precious time.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016? Anything exciting in the works?
Basically touring and playing live as much as we can to promote the new material, we have more singles/videos planned also and just want to stay busy. We’ll see how the rest of the year pans out but fingers crossed there will be a European tour at some point.
What are 5 or so songs or artists that you’ve been listening to lately?
What are your biggest dreams for the future of Circle of Reason?
Same as everyone else probably, to earn enough money from music to continue doing music, yes playing stadiums would be great but we’ll see how it goes ☺
Thanks to Gary from Circle of Reason for doing this interview with us. If you’re in the UK, you can check the guys out this summer on their tours at the dates below and if you’re not, be sure to buy their album on the 27th right here.
June 8th, Wednesday, Bath Moles
June 9th, Thursday, Portsmouth Edge of the Wedge
June 10th, Friday, Folkestone The Harp Restrung
June 11th, Saturday, Kettering The Prince Of Wales Kettering
June 12th, Sunday, Northampton The Black Prince