PropertyOfZack Interview : : Circa Survive
PropertyOfZack spoke with Anthony Green of Circa Survive two weeks ago at the final date of the band’s fall headlining tour and it turned into one of the best interviews we’ve had on the site in a long, long time. Anthony and I dug into the band’s new album, his view on record labels dying and not wanting to have to deal with them anymore, the release date of his new solo album and another one shortly after, The Sound Of Animals Fighting, and so much more. Don’t miss out on this one!
Tonight is the final date of the Circa Survive fall headlining tour. How were the month long set of dates?
The shows were awesome. They were so much fun. The last show we played was in a bar for like 800 people, and we’re going from a room like that to The Electric Factory. The whole tour has been like that. We’ve been playing tiny little markets that we never get to and places like this.
States, Maps And Atlases, and Sleeper Agent were the opening bands for this tour. How was it having them out every night?
Yeah, Maps And Atlases have been on the whole tour and Sleep Agent replaced States halfway through. Sleeper Agent is awesome, and States were great. Both bands managed to really open the show with a bang.
Are you guys treating this as part of the album cycle for Blue Sky Noise still, or has this just sort of been a tour for the fans?
This has been more for fans. We’re done with Blue Sky Noise. We’re 90% done writing the next album. Instead of disappearing for too long, we wanted to come and do a tour and hit places that we hadn’t gone to with Blue Sky Noise. It was partially because we missed a lot of cities and partially because we wanted to play before we hit the studio. We wanted to get that feeling of playing live before we hit the studio so when we go in there we have that energy still.
Is it nice to not be restricted to an album cycle on tour too?
Now we’re going to just stop doing the album cycle thing and just release as much music as possible. We’re not going to put any meaning into a cycle or album because we still come out and play tons of shit from our old records. I don’t like to look at it like working an album is online for free. It’s in-stores to buy and all that, but there’s no traditional way to fucking work a record cycle anymore. It’s like fuck it, you’re always on a record cycle. We’re going to do pre-production in a couple weeks with a buddy of ours. We’re going to go to California after to record.
You guys have played at least two new songs live. How have fans been reacting to them?
They’ve been going crazy for them, which is really weird. In the past when we play new songs people mostly just watched. The mood would go from a crazy crowd to just a crowd that watches. Now half the crowd watches and the other half dances. I think it’s because the songs are heavy and a little bit epic.
A year and a half later, are you happy with how the last record did?
Yeah, I’m really happy. I couldn’t be happier. It did what you want an album to do. You want to grow and you want to prove that you’re able to grow your fan base in an organic way that is all about being yourself. The band has a great aesthetic that we’re able to preserve and still grow. We’re more like the tortoise than the hair.
The first two records obviously did more than fine for the band, but was Blue Sky Noise the most positively received release yet?
It’s hard to say because we’ve never had backlash with a release. Maybe that’ll be this one.
It’s been stated before that the writing for Blue Sky Noise wasn’t a cake walk for the band due to various reasons. Was this more of the same or was it easier?
This was totally opposite. It’s never been like this before. For Blue Sky Noise, I couldn’t handle the band writing five minute songs with me putting vocals over them. I wanted the songs to be written around the vocals. So I was writing all these songs on an acoustic guitar and they were taking stuff and writing it around the vocals. I think from this last record, a majority of the songs were written by the band just jamming and I’d come in after they had ideas and I’d start writing with it. It’s exactly how Juturna got written. It went so fast. I wrote a bunch of stuff on acoustic too that we translated, but it just worked differently.
POZ: Is this the most stable it’s been?
Anthony: Yeah, I was way more involved and clear-headed. I wasn’t on any mental health medication and I didn’t have to deal with the mental health issues that came up during Blue Sky Noise. I was at least able to deal with them in a healthier and more productive way.
Circa obviously has a pretty consistent sound, but did you having a larger process in the writing change anything?
Not really. The music has always taken on its own interpretation of direction. We’ve always let it lead. We’ll start playing whatever sticks out to us. That’s the direction we hit. With Blue Sky Noise, it didn’t take on a drastic change, but it took on a change. There’s a little bit of a change on this too. Everything is constantly changing. The reason why it sounds consistent is because it’s us. The band never really changes because we have the same elements.
The two new songs are definitely harder. Is the album as a whole like that?
There’s so much heavy shit on this record. It’s ridiculous. There are two or three songs that are just straight up punk songs too, which is weird. I think people could interpret them as pop songs, but they were written like straight up old school punk rock songs.
When are you hoping to finish writing by?
I think we’re going to take the next two weeks. I’m going to finish putting the finishing touches on a few songs. I’m going to take some solo songs that I think the band could fuck with as well. I’ll see if the band wants to do anything with them. Then we’ll do pre-production after our own shit for like two weeks. We’re going to have a producer fly out and hang with us for like two weeks and then record from the end of Thanksgiving up until Christmas.
POZ: Can you say who you’re recording with?
Anthony: I can’t, but he’s the shit. We’re going to record the record live. Like, no overdubs.
POZ: Are you nervous about that at all?
Anthony: Not at all. I can do it. I’ve done it before on Avalon.
So you’ll end up finishing around Christmas. When are you hoping to release the album by?
I think early-summer. I’m not 100% certain.
How many songs will you go into the studio in?
We’ll end up recording 15 or 16. We have 15 or 16 now. We’ll probably cut out a couple though that need some more work.
Will this be through Atlantic again?
I don’t know. Possibly [Laughs].
Pushing past Circa, there’s been a lot of talk about your solo work. When should we see Beautiful Things released?
POZ: Will that be on a label?
Anthony: That will be on Photo Finish. That will be my last record on a major label solo wise. I will never sign another record contract ever again. As soon as I’m legally allowed to, the next solo record will be released called Young Legs. From that point on, everything I do will be released for free on my website.
Are you tired of labels, or what?
Labels are dead. I’m sick and tired of them. I’m done hanging out with corpses. You can’t try to hustle someone anymore. If someone wants to buy your album, they can. If they want to go download it, they’ll go do it. As an artist, I want people to get my album from me.
POZ: Are you excited about all the new technologies?
Anthony: I’m so excited about everything. I think the death of the record label is a long time coming and it’s fucking awesome. It makes me excited as an artist who was never into doing music because of the rock star fantasy. I just can’t believe Circa has been able to sustain and build a fan base, like a jam band. It’s so strange to me. They didn’t help, they’ve never helped. No label we’ve ever been on has ever done anything for that. It’s been the band and the band touring. We continue to do that and we’ll be fine. The universe has taken care of us and it will continue to if we do the right things for the right reasons.
Is your solo album that’s coming up after Beautiful Things recorded too?
It’s demoed. I’m going out in January and February to do a solo tour. On New Year’s Eve, Good Old War is doing a show in Philly and then the next day we’re all going to head down to the studio to rehearse and to record a little bit of Young Legs. That will be finished as soon as the tour for Beautiful Things starts. I think I have to wait six months until I’m off the label.
When are we going to see some more of the solo tour stuff?
Soon. It would be happening now had Circa not decided to record this album now. I always want to take care of Circa first. As soon as this tour is over and I start recording the fourth Circa record, I’ll also be setting up Beautiful Things.
Will that tour feature other solo artists?
Casey from The Dear Hunter will be on the tour. It’ll be AG and Dear Hunter. Good Old War will be my band but they’re not going to play other songs. They might play one or two when I make them. They’re doing a headliner for their record right after it.
Since you’ll be off a label, will you continue doing more music whenever you can?
I will be. I’m psyched to just be like, “Oh hey, here’s a new EP. You can download it for free.” It makes me excited to go home tonight, if I want to, record a song, and put it up. I don’t have to make a big deal or have a cycle with it or any of that shit. “Here’s some music. Please come to a show.” That’s something you can’t steal and package. When you go to a show and see someone who really gives a shit about what they’re doing, you can be moved. The earth can fucking shake. I’ve seen it. I’ve gone to shows in this venue and witnessed it. Music is super powerful and it’s been demeaned and degraded for years by the people who have basically sealed their own fucking fate. Anybody like Circa or Good Old War who have been doing it from the beginning because we’ve had to do it will be fine. We’ll still be doing it regardless of how we make a living.
There was chatter of a The Sound Of Animals Fighting reunion earlier this year or possible you working with some members on other projects. Any progress or update on that?
I mean, I’m down. I am always down and ready. I need to get everybody to do it. It’s a big group of people. I want to play east coast shows. I’m dying to. I’m trying to do it. I’ve got everyone except one guy. He’s convinced I’m trying to do it for money, but I’m not. I just want to play those songs again.
What’s the deal with Circa touring again?
I’m not sure what the deal is. We’re going to Australia for Soundwave. Then we come back and I’m doing another two weeks of solo dates in the Midwest alone without Good Old War. Then we’ll probably start setting up the record. I have a bunch of other stuff with other people that makes it really confusing. We’ll probably end up doing stuff in April or May. I want to do a big summer thing, but it’s not good to do that since you’re competing, but I don’t give a shit. I want to compete with that shit.
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