Sam Rourke gives the lowdown on their new genre-defying album.
Circa Waves are shaking things up for their third album.
The band, who formed in Liverpool in 2013, are best known for making super catchy indie anthems such as Fire That Burns, Fossils and the huge crossover single T-Shirt Weather. However, on their third record What’s It Like Over There?, the foursome are mixing up their wide-ranging musical influences to create something that they feel is authentic to who they want to be.
It’s a brave move for a band who have been so successful. Circa Waves have built a huge following with their two debut albums; 2015’s Young Chasers and 2017’s Different Creatures. An in-demand live act, the success of those albums has allowed the band to sell out venues across the world, and appear regularly on festival main stages.
We caught up with the band’s bassist Sam Rourke to get the lowdown on their new album, what fans can expect from their upcoming gigs and how they’ve incorporated the new songs into their setlist.
How excited are you for the world to hear your new album What’s It Like Over there?
It’s amazing. We’re just really looking forward to getting it out to be honest, we’ve been sitting on it for so long.
How was the process of making this record different from your first two albums?
I feel with this one, we wanted to challenge ourselves as much as possible. I think on the first two albums we were a guitar band, making guitar music. On this one, we decided to not follow any rules and just see where the songs take us. We put the song first and decided to see what happened.
Sonically, the singles you’ve put out so far are quite different to your last two records. Were you nervous about the reaction from your fans?
You know what, when we recorded Times Won’t Change Me I thought, this is the least Circa Waves song that we’ve ever done. I think we were all a little bit nervous about putting it out – maybe losing some fans, maybe gaining some fans – but I think you’ve just gotta do what you think’s right. If it’s a good song it’s a good song and people do appreciate that.
When writing the album, did you think about how the songs might sound and work live?
To be honest, we didn’t really think about playing it live until after we’d recorded it. There are so many different sounds to this album, with things like synths, piano parts and drum samples going on. Before this album, none of us could actually really play the piano. In the studio recording it, you can just record it bit by bit and chop it all together so it sounds like a real person. So after that, I had to go and buy a keyboard and sit at home for a couple of months learning how to play these tunes so we could do it live.
Has incorporating those new instruments made playing live shows more of a challenge?
It’s been really fun. We had our first gig where I played the piano the other night and yeah it was pretty nerve-wracking. So much can go wrong now, but that makes it quite exciting.
You’re heading out on tour later this month. What songs from the new album are you most looking forward to playing live?
I’m really looking forward to playing Times Won’t Change Me. I think we’re going to be playing Passport at a couple of shows. We might not do it every night, just at a few gigs. Just the songs that people would have least expected us to come out with, they’re the ones that I’m most excited about playing.
Apart from a bunch of new songs, what can fans expect from the shows?
We’ve created a whole new light show and we’ve dived straight into the production elements a lot more than we have done previously. We’re very excited about these gigs.
Festival season is just around the corner, are festivals something you really look forward to as a band?
Festivals are amazing, it’s just a big party; hanging out backstage and seeing people that you haven’t since the last festival season. It’s just great, it’s totally different to doing your own shows because obviously you’re playing to a lot of people that aren’t necessarily fans of your band, so you kind of have to win the crowd over a little bit. It’s a bit of a challenge but every weekend it’s like going on a great day out.
You’re playing at Fusion Presents in Liverpool with Kings Of Leon this summer. How exciting is it to be playing such a big show in your hometown?
We haven’t played in Liverpool for quite a while, I think that gig might be our first one there in about two years actually, so we can’t wait. It’s gonna be amazing.
Last November saw you perform in some of the country’s best-loved grassroots venues, what did you take away from those shows?
We really loved those gigs. A lot of those type of venues are closing down through a lack of funding and a lack of support, and you can just see how important they are to people. We’d chat to people after the shows and you could just tell that more bands need to go to those places and connect with people. So many amazing bands came through those venues and they just don’t get enough love.
Circa Waves release their new album What’s It Like Over There? on Friday 5 April 2019 before heading out on a nationwide tour.
Catch Circa Waves live at the following dates:
15 April 2019 – O2 Academy, Oxford
16 April 2019 – Rock City, Nottingham
18 April 2019 – Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow
19 April 2019 – O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
20 April 2019 – Sheffield University, Sheffield
23 April 2019 – O2 Institute, Birmingham
25 April 2019 – O2 Academy, Bristol
26 April 2019 – Roundhouse, London
27 April 2019 – Newcastle Uni
14 July 2019 – TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow
23 August 2019 – Reading Festival, Reading
24 August 2019 – Leeds Festival, Leeds
30 August 2019 – Fusion Presents, Liverpool
Tickets to see Circa Waves live on tour and at festivals this summer are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.