It’s been an extraordinary breakout year for Liverpool’s Circa Waves. On the back of several lively singles, the band have spent 2014 touring and honing their skills. As they prepare to release their debut album in 2015, we spoke to bassist Sam Rourke for the lowdown on a year that has flown by.
Can you tell me a bit about your new single, Fossils?
This was one of the first songs that we did, actually, so for us it’s been around for quite a long time. It feels good to finally get it out there. That’s the strange thing; we’ve been it playing it for over a year, but obviously people couldn’t hear it until now.
What was the reason for withholding it for that length of time?
I think we were pretty confident in it as a song, so we wanted to make sure that the time was right, maybe, and that we’d got people’s attention before putting it out there.
The music video for Fossils is mainly comprised of clips from your time on the road. Does it bring back some great memories of your adventures this year?
Yeah! [When] we filmed it, we were on tour in Europe with The Libertines at the time. Adam, the director, got on the bus with us. We spent loads of time together. All the shots of it are really fond memories of us travelling around Berlin, Amsterdam – all those sorts of places – just having a really good time. It’s like looking at holiday photos, I suppose.
Do you feel like you’ve settled into the lifestyle of recording and touring, or is it still very surreal?
I think we’re all getting quite into it now. It’s strange; when you’re in the middle of it you start thinking, oh, it’d be nice to get home and see everyone, but as soon as you get back, all you’re thinking is I just want to get going again, get back out there. We’ve all kind of settled into that lifestyle now; it makes everything else seem a little bit mundane.
Of all the countries you’ve visited this year, where did you enjoy playing the most?
I’m not sure… It sort of varies, really. This year’s been a lot of firsts: first trip to Japan and Australia and America… It’s all been pretty awesome, really. Japan was obviously pretty cool, because for me personally I’ve wanted to visit there for a long time. I suppose one of the standout moments [of the year] was playing Alexandra Palace in London. It’s a beautiful old venue. If you’re in England, it’s a really famous venue, so to do that was quite a special moment. I think that was one of the standouts, even though it’s an English thing so it’s probably not the best answer.
No, that’s fine, because another thing I was wondering was – among everything you’ve done this year – was there a standout moment? And playing Alexandra Palace is a really good answer, because it’s such a beautiful venue.
Yeah, Alexandra Palace was a big one, and Glastonbury. We didn’t think we’d get Glastonbury this year ’cause it was quite early on. That’s been on my to do list for a long time; as a musician I’ve always wanted to do Glastonbury, so that was awesome.
Do you ever alter the show at all to suit the country you’re in?
To be honest we just try and do what we think is going to be the best show, really. We haven’t really tailored it country by country yet, so I suppose no. Every gig we think, what are the best songs we’ve got? How are we going to make that work?
It’s been just over a year since you released your first single, Get Away. Has that gone quickly, or does it feel like a long time ago after everything you’ve done this year?
It’s flown by. There’s always something on the horizon that’s coming up. Time just sort of flies by, really. In a week we’re going here, then in a week we’ve got that, then we get back and have a couple of days off. It’s been so busy. We’ve only started looking back now and thinking, wow, we’ve done all these things in such a short space of time. I can’t believe it’s been a year.
You’ll be back in Australia next month supporting The 1975. When I spoke to Sian (Circa Waves’ drummer) in July, you were also just about to head to Australia for Splendour in the Grass. How different do you think this tour will be?
Hopefully there’ll be more people that’ll who know who we are. It was still quite early days when we went over there the first time, so I’m just hoping that, when we get over there now, there’ll be a few people who know who we are and want to come down and see what else we’ve got going on.
Were you pleased with the reception you got in Australia? Were you surprised by it at all?
Yeah, definitely! When we played Splendour we were on quite early in the day; you’re never really sure what kind of crowd you’re gonna get, but quite a lot of people came down and seemed to be really into it and they knew a bunch of the songs. To be half way around the world and [have] that happen less than a year after starting a band is always quite a cool experience.
I came to see you guys at Splendour and it felt like you could’ve played for longer. Was that the feeling, or did you disguise the fact that you were ready to go?
Because of the jet lag and the schedule we were on, I hadn’t slept for like 24 hours. I think the rest of us got maybe two hours sleep or something. After the gig we all went and collapsed backstage, so I think maybe we just pulled it off and got away with it. I know personally I was dead after that. I just had to go and have a lie down.
Obviously Australia is much further away than the other countries you’ve visited, but is that something you find you’re getting used to, the constant flying around everywhere?
Yeah, I suppose you do get used to it. We’ve all worked out a way of handling jet lag now. Jet lag was something that I’d never experienced before, and then our first flight as a band was to Australia, so we were kind of thrown in the deep end, really, in terms of dealing with that stuff.
What have Circa Waves been listening to on tour this year? What albums have really stuck around?
We’ve been listening to The Orwells‘ album quite a bit. We’ve been listening to a lot of Surfer Blood, a lot of Spring King, a lot of Friendly Fires. There’s a new band that’s just signed to Transgressive called Gengahr who are really cool. Metronomy‘s album that came out this year is awesome. I could listen to that pretty much non-stop.
I love that one as well. Was that a wonderful experience getting to play with them when you were in Australia?
When their first album came out – 2008, I think – I’ve been a fan of that band basically since then. For me it was just great that I got to see them play live like five times. I was happy with that, and then the fact that we were playing with them as well was just a bonus for me. I’m a really big fan of those guys.
You can catch Circa Waves supporting The 1975 on these dates:
Saturday, 10th January 2015 – SOLD OUT
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Tickets: The 1975
Sunday, 11th January 2015
Festival Hall, Melbourne
Tickets: The 1975
Thursday, 15th January 2015 – SOLD OUT
Festival Hall, Melbourne
Friday, 16th January 2015
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Saturday, 17th January 2015 – SOLD OUT
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Sunday, 18th January 2015
The Marquee, Brisbane