At their recent Cincinnati tour stop on the Alternative Press tour, I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Circa Survive to discuss their upcoming album, On Letting Go, and a bunch of other hot issues. Cocaine, Saosin, producers, negativity on the AbsolutePunk forums – no stone was left unturned. Read on for the full interview, and look for On Letting Go to drop on May 29, 2007.
For the record, can you please state your names and what you do in the band?
Steve: I’m Steve; I play drums. Colin: I’m Colin, I play guitar. Nick: Nick, bass. Anthony: Anthony, sing. Brendan: Yeah, yeah Brendan, guitar.
So, the tour right now that you are on is a pretty interesting one. Between you guys and CIWWAF, it might seem to be total opposites – if not in your music, then in your fan bases. Has the dynamic between bands still been okay?
Steve: No, it’s been really good, actually. Hanging out with everyone has been especially cool. It kind of sucks that some nights if we play last, all their fans will leave, or if they play last, all our fans will leave. Brendan: It’s to be expected, though, when there is any drastic difference on a co-headlining tour. Colin: Seems like most headliners are kind of like that anyways. Steve: But no one is bumming on it or anything. Colin: We kind of all just accept it as part of the deal.
Do you feel like you guys might be able to reach out to fans that you might not otherwise get to?
So, I read a show review from a stop out in California where it sounded like you guys were the heavy favorites on the bill. Have you seen it skewed one way or another, or has it gone back and forth?
Nick: That particular show just happens to be our main spot every time we play there. It happens to be pretty ridiculous for us whenever we play there. But it does go back and forth. Like Boise, we played to a pretty small amount of people, and Vegas too. Anthony: Kids in Vegas are always sort of sedated, though. (laughs) Brendan: There it is…the one comment that will lead to 600 questions in the next interview. Anthony: So, kids in Vegas are awesome!
So, why do you hate kids from Vegas?
Anthony: (laughs) No, I love playing Vegas. It’s just a weird town, though. I mean, it is a place built on gambling and sex.
So, it’s right up your alley then?
Colin: (laughs) For me it is a matter of perspective, more than anything else. Like when you are up on stage, the crowd always looks different than if you go out and watch bands from the crowd. But it is always different. Unless it is really drastic, I try not to even notice, or even pay attention to it.
So you aren’t sitting up there some shows thinking, “Fuck, we aren’t really playing for anyone tonight…”?
Brendan: No, I mean this one night where we played to a really small amount of people, I feel like we put on one of the best shows we have ever put on. Colin: I mean, that’s where we are coming from. We used to play in bands where half of those nights were really good nights for us. Brendan: And those kids that are there, it is kind of awkward when it is 100 kids in a huge ass room. You know they eat it up when the band just goes off. Colin: I feel more sympathy for the kids when they stay around for a band that everyone else is leaving. You know, I remember going to shows my friends would put on when I was younger, and you felt like “I am 30% of the audience right now. If I leave, this band is fucked!” So you are there, and you might not necessarily want to be, but that means a lot to us even if it is just 10 kids. We know it might be sort of awkward, so we just try to smooth it out and have fun with it.
There are some people out there in the internet-land that say you guys have an inconsistent live show. I can’t say I agree with it myself, but is that something you guys notice, or not?
Anthony: You can’t really please everybody. Nick: I feel like every band has their ups and downs, some more drastic than others. But it is hard to put myself in some other shoes, but I personally do not notice huge differences in our performance. I think more than anything else, it is kids that come to shows wanting to hear the CD. And we are a band that is not really about playing our CD how it is. You know, Anthony likes to improvise, he likes to vibe out with the show, and that’s how it is. If you’re coming to hear the CD, then maybe you should just stay at home and listen to the CD. Colin: It’s also the fact that for your mental well-being as a band, you can’t come down on yourself for little things, right? You can’t always come down on other members, either. You can’t be thinking that something is a failure because this was off, or that was off. Energy is our most important thing, and if we are all up on it, then great. We think the people that get us, get that – it translates. There are always going to be percentages of people everywhere that might want to think their own things but that is their fault for having those expectations. Brendan: We are never going to be a perfect band. We all have our things that we deal with as far as fucking up or whatever, and half of us are running around like animals on stage anyways. So there is a fine line we are trying to walk between live energy and music, and as long as we feel good after the show, then it doesn’t matter. When we first started playing in this band, we had crazy shows where the power would go out during the set or some shit, but I think the whole band has always been about laughing shit off. Colin: Passion seems to play a bigger role than perfection. Anthony: There is a real delicate balance between performing to the best of your ability, and being really precise with everything you’re doing. You know, it is something you have to constantly work on. For me, I am never going to sound like the CD when I am doing fucking jumping jacks on stage, you know what I mean? Colin: And who would prefer that, really? Anthony: I never liked going to shows and hearing the band just stand there and play. But I also never liked going to shows hearing some singer sounding like shit, singing at the top of his lungs for 50 minutes either, so there really is a delicate balance. And we are still trying to find that. Brendan: I think there are two main things with regards to our consistency from a crowd’s point of view. One thing is how a club actually sounds. A lot of clubs are not actually set up to have the best sound, since a lot of the kids that are right up front are really excited, but can’t hear the vocals because the guitars are overpowering. Another thing is the crowd itself, since they make the show we play. If the crowd is awesome, other bands will come up to us and say “You guys were fucking amazing!” and we will say. “Uh, we have been doing the same thing every night.” Anthony: For me, if there are just 3 kids in the room that I can make eye contact with and see someone just feeling an ounce of what I am feeling, then I vibe out completely.
You guys obviously make music that would be considered pretty deep on a lot of levels. So is it strange to you when you look out in the crowd and see 13 year old girls rocking out to your songs?
Colin: No man. Honestly, I have a younger sister who I am pretty close to, and I have watched her grow up over the past couple years. Age means nothing as far as what you can understand on levels of depth and emotion. Anyone from one of our parents to a 13 year old girl can get what we are saying. Anthony: Think about how music affected you when you were 13.
Well, I liked really shitty music when I was that age. (laughs)
Brendan: (laughs) Well, that is one of the things I really had to come to terms with when I started playing in this band. I always wanted to play for a certain type of older, more mature audience, but when I started to see 16 year old kids there in the crowds, I realized that the bands that I love more than anything in the world were the bands I listened to when I was in high school. Nothing was ever more important than that because you are growing into who you are.
Yeah, but there are the people who are really getting into it, and then there are the people that are screaming “Oh my god, Anthony is so HOT!” Do you distinguish between those two?
Colin: I think it is all part of it. Especially when you start doing things with different magazines. There are always these other people behind the scenes that are trying to slant things, and maybe selling things in a sex way or trying to make you a spokesman or whatever. But I think all of us, and especially Anthony, we all try to have an open door policy, and accept everyone. We could be nothing more than somebody’s night out, or background music at a party, and that has to be cool with us, because you can’t be the centerpoint of everyone’s fucking life, ya know? If someone has a crush on someone in our band, and that is their main reason for liking us, then fine. Not everyone can have this crazy deep connection with us, and it would be absurd for us to expect that. Brendan: Everyone processes things in a different way also, so that might be part of it – what some people might think of as superficial. Colin: Think about when you have crushes on someone. Initially, you can be attracted to someone on a physical level, and it can eventually expand into this whole other thing where you recognize there’s this whole other person underneath it. So we can only hope that if there is this superficial thing at first, then maybe it will grow into something more later. If not, then fuck it. Anthony: That shit is sort of ridiculous. If that is what gets someone listening, then so be it. Colin: It’s flattering, too.
Just a quick question – do you guys run everything with your Myspace page and everything like that?
Well, just looking at the bulletins you guys send out along with the “Creation” website, you guys almost seem to crave a certain type of connection with your fans. Is that an important energy for you guys to feel?
I mean, you see now where bands will hire someone to run their Myspace pages and all.
Nick: Actually, I do not get how that happens with other bands. It’s just not that hard, for one. Anthony: It’s just a really good way to stay in touch with people. Nick: And it’s like one of the coolest parts about what we do. The fact that we can make connections with all these people – maybe not the same as you might have with your best friend, but it is just cool to be able to relate like that. Brendan: When we send out a bulletin or something, within a half hour, there are like 100-200 posts back. We actually try to put things out there that make people think a little, and the effect that it causes actually reminds me a little of “Pay It Forward” or something. We are affecting all these people, and it is really awesome. Anthony: If people are going to listen to us, and pay attention to what we are doing and saying, then I at least want to try to put some positive energy into that. Colin: Make it a little bit more than just ringtones, you know? Brendan: And I think people appreciate that.
I am just amazed that no one else has latched onto that type of energy like you guys have.
Colin: When we thought of it, and started doing it, it was shocking that no one else was doing it. This was the easiest way we could possibly connect, and it goes back to the earlier question about the superficial stuff. We are doing that to kind of prevent that star struck vibe. It’s like “Hey, we already know you. We’ve already had conversations.” There’s nothing weird about this – we can walk around and talk to you. We are always going to be leaning toward that because we don’t want to become that kind of disconnected weird band that can’t talk to people and doesn’t respond to their emails. Anthony: I would like to think that any artist wants to stay as connected as possible to the people that are paying attention to their work. Nick: When we are at these shows, every night I go out and watch Envy [on the Coast] in the crowd, and I don’t ever want to get to a point where I can’t do that. I mean, I’m sure sometimes it gets to a point where you can’t do that. But still, sometimes I go out there, and people are literally blown away that I would do that.
That’s interesting, because last time I saw you here with Saves the Day, you guys started coming into the crowd, and these waves of people that would come gravitate towards you guys.
Anthony: And we want to meet all those people. The people that are dancing during the shows, I mean, they are a part of our lives.
That’s such a rare attitude to have.
Brendan: It sucks sometimes because you can’t uphold that. Like tonight I am sick, so I can’t just sit there and have a bunch of conversations with people. Sometimes you just can’t do that. Colin: I just get self-conscious about boogies. (laughs) I can’t talk to everyone because I feel like I have boogers coming out of my nose all day. Anthony: It is tough when you want to go out in the crowd, meet everyone, shake their hands, and thank them all, because there are always the people that want you to like sing them a song. Or they want you to come to their neighbor’s house and meet their niece who loves your old band or something. You can’t make everyone happy. Brendan: Some people just get it as far as respect level. Then some people put us on this next level, and that’s when it gets to be a problem. Anthony: All of a sudden, when they put you there, and you don’t have the same types of feelings as their friends, they will say things to you that will hurt your feelings if you are sensitive to it, and you let it. But they don’t mean it. Brendan: For me, it is a lot easier to go out and have a conversation with someone that thinks I’m just a dude, than for someone that thinks I am a star. Then it’s awkward. Anthony: And one thing we want to get across to people is the fact that no one is unapproachable, nobody is a star. There isn’t any person in any line of work that we can’t relate to their problems or their happiness, or whatever. We can all go through the same shit we need to be together. Colin: Also that we aren’t doing anything that is superhuman. People should feel inspired and empowered. The other day, we were doing this signing, and we did something that we had never done before. Randomly, this 16 year old kid comes up to us and is like, “Hey it’s my birthday, and I know how to play all your songs, and I would love to play a song with you. And Brendan didn’t even think about it and was like “Okay – this guy is going to play a song with us tonight.” So we brought him backstage with us. Anthony: He actually hung out with us for like a half hour or 45 minutes while we were getting ready for the show. The kid was just so excited – he was all like, “Steve, do you do this when you drum?” It was so awesome. Colin: He went through the part with Brendan, came up, played it with us – it fucking ruled, he played it right, and there was nothing weird about that. And we made that kid’s fucking night. Brendan: The only repercussion to that is if we have people start asking for that all the time. Colin: But that was such a cool thing, and along the lines of what we were talking about, I feel like an amazing sense of pride in seeing other members of the band on days they have felt like shit, or didn’t feel like talking to people, really go that next step and still put themselves out there for people. And it makes me proud to be in a band with them, because the opposite of that attitude is always something that bummed me out as a kid – meeting someone you looked up to and have them treat you like shit, or not even take the time to meet you or whatever. For us, it means a lot that all of us feel the same way, so we push each other where if anyone is feeling kind of crappy, someone else will be like, “Come onnnnnnn….” (laughs) So we do that for each other, and it is really fucking cool, and it makes me really stoked to be in this band. Brendan: And we learned that from people who were our idols when we were younger, or even now. Colin: Saves the Day is one. Brendan: Yeah, Saves the Day taught us a lot about how to treat kids, or bands you are on tour with. And then other bands we won’t mention were just totally rude to us. And we took that as a cue to how we didn’t want to be.
Are you not going to give me any names?
Brendan: No, certainly not. (laughs) Anthony: It is certainly good to have experiences from both sides, positive and negative. You can see people who don’t care about themselves, or as a group, or for their fans, or their art – it’s something they don’t take seriously, and it is fine to have those people to learn as examples from.
So you guys are at a point right now where you just have tons of buzz behind you. So I would imagine major labels are knocking at your doors to talk to you guys?
Colin: It’s been like that since day one, pretty much.
So how do you guys handle it? Is it something that appeals to you at all, or do you feel at home with where you are right now?
Brendan: We actually just told our manager to tell them to stop. Colin: At the beginning, we were a little overwhelmed by it, and were comfortable where we were, so it was the last thing on our minds, so we put a stop to it at the beginning. Now that we are coming up to a period where we can think about it again, we still kind of feel the same way. We will never close a door in anyone’s face – we are open to hear people out, but I think that it is one of those things where we are extremely attached to being involved in every decision we make, and musically, having the freedom to do whatever we want to do, and not feeling the pressure to get to this place where everything is a unit, and you have to watch your sales. I read some article where it said that bands today are more aware of their own scans than ever, and it is kind of sickening and just kind of sad. That’s what it has become. So we would owe it to ourselves to hear any sort of potentially life-changing offer, but for us, I feel like we are very content with our own community, and building things up at our own rate, and making our own rules. It seems to be getting harder and harder to do that when you step into that world. Brendan: So what he’s saying is that we are only in it for the money. (laughs) And chicks.
That’s a good attitude, because it seems now like everyone is in a rush to get bigger and have that one huge TRL video.
Anthony: I think it is important to always be trying to step up, but that doesn’t mean always taking the same steps as everybody else. Brendan: And there is never that perfect blueprint for how you get your band to where you want to be.
And I think it is changing now anyways. Before you had to have a big label to do anything, and you guys have done things on Equal Vision that people never could have imagined 10-20 years ago.
Colin: It seems like now that the indie thing is having another rebirth, it seems like the majors are always trying to figure out how to do things. Anthony: It’s a lion in fucking lambskin. They’re trying to dress up these labels like they are little indie labels, and they’re fucking not – they’re majors. Colin: Well, maybe it has something to do with having like 1400 employees work on fucking over 250 records a year, or whatever they are doing now. They are spread so thin there is no passion behind it, and it just becomes units. No one is talking about works of art or making great records, or even careers. It’s not about developing bands anymore – it’s about pumping out a fucking single and getting them on all sorts of magazines. Then it’s “Alright, they had their time. Who is our next thing?” And we are more in it for the long haul. We are very attached to the communication we have with our fans, and just being involved with our art. Granted there is a little bit of a business side to it, but we like to keep it on the art side, and less on the business side.
Okay, so I have to ask this…how fucking annoying is it to still be fielding Saosin questions?
Anthony: It’s not that bad.
Is it a distraction within the group at all?
Anthony: It actually doesn’t bother me in the least. It’s not like a sore subject for anyone. Colin: It’s not annoying; it’s more baffling to us. Nick: People don’t know, and we have answered things so many times, it is weird that everyone doesn’t already know everything that has been asked. Anthony: I think sometimes people just want to see if I am going to be upset or whatever. Colin: They want to see some ill will. Brendan: That’s what is frustrating, that every couple interviews, someone is trying to pit us against them.
Well, when I posted a call for questions on AP, it didn’t take more than a couple of posts for someone to say something like “Ask Anthony what he thinks of Cove! Are they gonna fight?!”
(laughs) Anthony: He is a good dude. You want to know what I think about Cove? I think he’s one of the nicest people I ever met in my life, and he has a great voice and a great band. Colin: The thing is – to take it a little away from the Saosin thing – is I think it is kind of a little ridiculous how stupid we are as a humanity. We have these little things we start battling internally to the point where it is civil war in a way. We are all in this together, we’re all part of the same fucking thing. We’re all making music, whether you are running a zine online, or you’re in a band, or whatever. We’re all part of the same team. So to get anything done that is even remotely going to affect the world in a positive way, we probably shouldn’t be bickering about these stupid little fucking things, you know? We all have the same goals, and the same passions. We might not all sound the same, but whatever. Anthony: We might not all make the same music, but we are all in the same fucking boat. Steve: There are always the people that feed off of drama like that. Anthony: It is just the people that have fed off drama their whole life that want the juiciest fucking shit talk. Steve: But those are the kids that talk about things like Soundscans. Anthony: And all that other superficial shit. Brendan: It’s not a competition. Colin: It’s not something that we choose to dwell on either. Anthony: If someone asks me a Saosin question, I answer it. Why wouldn’t I?
I would think that after a while, it would get to you.
Anthony: Well, that is a part of my life, you know what I mean? That part of my life gave me so much confidence, and it still does. Brendan: Like all things, I am sure you can take that part of his life, and there is going to be good and bad. But everyone wants to hear the bad parts. I mean, there was an end to it, so everyone assumes the bad was the majority of it. No one asks what was awesome about it. Colin: Anything that tries to breed negativity, we are trying to bring it the other way because that is always what has fueled us and our connection with people. That seems to get us to the best places in the world, you know what I mean? Being a positive band with the people we meet, it has helped take us places that are great. Anthony: It’s hard to do that all the time, though. I mean, there are times I have said things I know I shouldn’t have said, or acted in a different way, or things I have done that I have had to learn from. They were mistakes, and you learn from your mistakes. Brendan: At any given second you can say something and be like, “Shit, I didn’t mean that.” Anthony: Like that shit about fucking Vegas! I could have just bummed out so many Vegas kids without even thinking about it. It’s a joke, but they can’t always hear the joke, or read the joke.
Anthony – it seems like you are a bit of a musical nomad, and you like to put your hands into a bunch of different projects. Was that a concern at all as you wrapped up the cycle for Juturna? Did you guys ever worry about the future of the band?
Anthony: Oh, no. All the endeavors that I have been a part of have been about fun and creation. This is the real thing, though. I have always loved going and singing in my friends’ bands, and I love making music on my own, I will always do that. I mean, even we all jam together, and we have tons of songs that are Circa Survive songs just because it is all of us, but they are weird songs. Some are really poppy, some are really heavy – we just have a big bank of it, and we are always creating. But for me, this is the shit. This is the band I’m in.
So will we ever see an Anthony Green solo or Moshstradamus album released?
Anthony: Probably not. Nick: Maybe though. Colin: You don’t know – no one knows. Brendan: All of us have different needs that need to be filled at different times. Anthony: That is another thing about this band that is really good. No one is saying you can’t do this, or you can’t do that. Having that openness, being able to do whatever I want, makes me want to make this the best fucking thing I have ever done. Brendan: We also put so much energy into what we are doing here, so there is not a ton left over. There is going to come a time, though, when everybody wants to try new things. Anthony: Someday I would love to put out a fucking country album or something (laughs). Brendan: I want to put out a metal album. Colin: We are very secure with what he have going on as a band, and we also realize that everyone still has a pretty insane creative drive, so whatever they have to do to fill that is fine. It is very obvious, though, that we put our priority into this, especially right now. But that could change, and all of us would be stoked no matter what – it’s just the way we are. We are very secure in our relationships with each other. Anthony: There was never a question about me coming back. I never thought once about leaving the band.
Some people seemed amazed you’d be in a band for 2 CDs.
Anthony: (laughs) I know, that’s how I do, right?
Were there any lessons you came away with from the last record and the following touring that you applied to On Letting Go?
Nick: I don’t know if “lessons” is the right word, but just overall experiences with each other and knowledge of who we are as people were the only differences really.
So you guys weren’t thinking, “Oh, we screwed this up, so we need to do better this time.”?
Colin: I think one of the things we tried to avoid this time around was “demo-itis.” Anthony: Yeah, and getting way too attached to things. It’s very much in the title of the record. We definitely learned to not be so attached to our egos, and if kids were going to like the sounds we were creating. Colin: I think we did ourselves a favor by doing that, and ended up enjoying the studio experience more because of it. Just taking every day for what it was – we were in an awesome studio with a sweet producer, and making our second record in Baltimore couldn’t get any better, you know what I mean? Really being in the moment, and being happy about it. I mean, who ever knows if we’ll fucking ever do this again – hopefully we will, but we should enjoy it as much as we can anyways. I think that is the one major difference from the last album. Other than that it was just a natural progression, really.
With the title, it sounds like you guys are almost like a mother and her child where you have a sort of postpartum depression with your songs. Is that something that was more evident on this record, or was it worse with Juturna?
Colin: The finality of committing to a disc is something we are always going to have issues with. You spend all this time farming these little ideas, and all of a sudden it’s over, and it is getting pressed. I think that was probably more relevant the first time around, and we are getting used to being a band that is just writing songs, and making records. I am just excited about all parts of the process. Brendan: Some aspects of it were harder last time, because it is the first time we ever worked with a producer, and working together in a studio, and stuff like that. But this time, I felt it was way harder, just being in the studio, being produced, and just letting it happen. Every day took tremendous amount of energy for me to do. Colin: It is good that all of us had different experiences, and we tried to help each other regardless.
You talked about the production aspect of the records a bit. How active of a role does Brian McTernan take in his production duties? Is he almost like another member of the band, or is he pretty hands-off?
Anthony: He is a little bit of both. Sometimes he is very hands off and just lets things go, and a lot of times, he gets right into the mix. When we get to a crossroads, he will help us see where we want to go. That is sort of how he does it. He also works individually with all of us. Nick: He basically will tell you straight up when he thinks a part sucks. And unless the entire group is like “you’re wrong” he is going to win. He’ll be like, “No dude – shit sucks.” (laughs) He is a fucking stone wall, you know what I mean? So if he thinks something is not good, then it is just going to have to change. Colin: But it helps you realize exactly why you work with a producer.
Especially him. Brian has put out some quality shit, especially lately.
Colin: Then you realize that every adventure is going to be different when you make a record, and when you choose a producer, you are choosing their tastes, what they like, and what they bring to the process. Brendan: The idea of being produced for someone that has very strong creative ideas is very hard to let go of sometimes. Especially, when one dude agrees with him. There are still parts of the record I thought would have been way better the way we initially had it or under another idea we tried. But that’s the give and take, the way it is going to be when you have 5 people in a band and you’re working with a producer, so this album was coming to terms with that for me. It was more than the music, it was a life-changing experience for me. Colin: One heavy part of Brian’s thing is that he will call you out on your shit. As a group, I feel like he called us out bigtime this time around about our communication and the way we write songs, and the way we talk to each other. It’s really brutal sometimes, but it is shit you need to hear. It is stuff that I feel really made us stronger in the long run, to the point that maybe sometime when we might decide not to work with a producer, the shit that we learned from Brian is going to help us work so much better. And that is shit you just can’t put a price tag on – those are lessons that are hard to teach.
Did you guys consider anyone else for the role?
Colin: I never did. Steve: I specifically didn’t want to go back to him, just because I had such a bad time last time, but I never had anyone else in mind. But as soon as I realized I needed to go back to him, and when everyone else came together, we thought about it. Actually when we sat down with him, he was really just on the same page as us. He said things like, “Last time it was this, and now we will all have to make an effort to give it this now.” That was just awesome, you know. We never had any other producers in mind. Brendan: Right now, coming out of that, I crave the experience of working with a different producer. We learned so much from him, and with any producer, you pick their tastes and what their strengths are, and then they bring out certain aspects of the band. I think there are a lot of other things with us that hopefully some day we will be able to tap into, and any other producer we would work with, would help us learn different things. Colin: Definitely.
So did Esao Andrews do the artwork for On Letting Go?
Great choice. I was on his website today looking at his portfolio, and some of the prints he has on there are just insane. How did you guys meet him?
Colin: (laughs) Weird story. Brendan was a fan of his without ever knowing the guy’s name. He remembered certain things about seeing the stuff from before the band had started, and when we were looking for art stuff, we asked a bunch of people, and found the guy’s site and just brought it up to him. Esao had never done any work with bands or anything like that, so he just had us send him the music, and he was really into it. So he just agreed to do it, and we thought it was awesome.
So, let’s talk a little bit more about the new record. Have you guys heard the 100% complete finished product yet?
Well, we premiered “In the Morning and Amazing” on AbsolutePunk, so we know at least that much. But what is the overall vibe then? Is it poppier? Is it more metal? Is it more prog?
Nick: I think it has more of that on different parts of the record, you know what I mean? Like, I read a lot of the shit people said on there, and I think that song is probably the most like the last record if you had to pick one off the new shit. I don’t know. Colin: We would all have different opinions about it. I definitely think that first song doesn’t represent the whole record, but it is a very important aspect of the record. I think the whole record as a whole is more cohesive than the last one. All the parts to me feel more deliberate, but at the same time more natural. Everything that’s happening makes me stoked when I hear it. I mean, things from the last record that might have struck me as a little juvenile or stuff that might change sounds like a more natural progression when I listen to it. Brendan: I think the most notable thing to me is that every song has a driving pulse to it – it is a very driving record. We tapped into that a little bit with the last record, but not throughout. Colin: “Driving” is definitely a word I would use to describe the record. Even the more experimental, more atmospheric stuff is more driving.
So when the song first went up on our site, did you guys hop on to see what people were thinking?
Nick: I went on. Colin: It wasn’t until the end of the night, because my internet was all fucked up during the day, but when I read the replies, I was like wow. Especially, because your guys’ site isn’t exactly a hotbed of positivity (laughs). It was really flattering, awesome, and encouraging to see, though. Brendan: When these guys said there was a lot of positive response, it was good enough for me. I am super affected by stuff that people say, so I don’t really go into things like that.
It’s probably for the best, because we sometimes get a myopic view on our site, with a few chosen bands beating out everyone else, and then other people are really vocal with their negativity.
Anthony: I just look at how many replies; I don’t actually look at the replies. I’ll be like, “Sweet, 60 replies! And The Academy Is... only had 30!” (laughs) Colin: I used to get caught up reading things like that, but to be honest, your site kind of has helped me deal with the worst. I read it there, and I let it sit with me a minute. Then when you can see the worst, and read the worst, you kind of just realize that it is all opinion. And you can tell even when there is some good stuff, and you can think, “Even the fucking scrooges are digging it.” Brendan: I’d rather be fishing than be on the internet. I go on there and check my email but that’s about it. I don’t want to get depressed by all these 15 year old kids that had a bad day, talking shit about where my heart is. Anthony: They hate our band! (laughs) Brendan: These guys tell me what I need to know. We have noticed that when someone is saying something that is totally negative, you tend to get on there and put some positivity back in there. Colin: That is really awesome. Brendan: The only thing that really bothers me is when people are saying, “Oh, Anthony is such a cokehead – he was so coked up at that show!” I am around him every day. Anthony: (laughs) We live together, and it is always funny to me because these dudes will get fired up about people saying shit about me on AbsolutePunk. We live together, we are around each other all the time – I am pretty sure these dudes would know if I did anything like that. If I have a nasal infection, they know about it. Brendan: The other day, Colin was telling us this great story. Colin: It was the best! Somebody just came up to me – I was outside after the show smoking a cigarette, and this couple comes up to me, being really nice, saying how they love the band and stuff. Then, one of them starts to proceed to tell me this story that was obviously fake, right? They’re like, “Last time I saw you, Anthony was on stage with a bottle of Grey Goose and he was just fucked up! And I was like, goddamn, this band is awesome!” And I was like, “Um, that didn’t happen.” It got real awkward for a second, and the guy kept going, “Yeah, yeah he was drinking Grey Goose!” So I was like, “I was there, right? Because I’m in the band.” He was like, “Yeah, it was your last tour!” So I had to tell him, “It never happened. I have been playing in a band with him for two years, and he has never had a bottle of alcohol on stage.” Brendan: I would knock him off the fucking stage if he was drinking or anything. Anthony: If he saw me with a drink on stage, Brendan would literally kick my ass. To the point where it would not be funny for anyone.
Well, these rumors get a life of their own after a while.
Anthony: My skin is thick as shit. I got rhino skin. (laughs)
I mean after all these rumors, then other people go to a show, and think if Anthony goes off stage for a second, he has to be doing a line. I am going to put that – during the interview he did a few lines.
Anthony: Yeah, I did a pound of coke! Colin: The most frequently asked question any of us get is “Where is Anthony?” So, recently we have started having these joke responses pop into our heads. Like, “Don’t you know – he is battling his cocaine addiction.” (laughs) Anthony: “He’s battling his addiction – that’s all he does when he’s not on stage!” Colin: It’s like, he could be taking a shit – I don’t know where he is.
I was talking to this guy last night online, and he asked what I was up to, and I told him I was putting together questions for a Circa Survive interview. Then I told him I was hoping to do a few lines with Anthony during it, and he didn’t realize I was joking.
Anthony: (laughs) I don’t know why, but I honestly don’t care. I am in the best fucking situation someone my age can be in – I have my best friends that I am in a creative project with, we work together we live together, we are in a fucking bus, people listen to our music, and buy our albums and keep our bills paid. People can say whatever they want about me, the truth is… Brendan: As long as they’re buying our records. (laughs) Anthony: It doesn’t matter to anyone if I am a cokehead or if I’m not. It doesn’t matter to anyone that I have been clean and sober for five or six years, you know what I mean? It doesn’t matter.
It is a lot more interesting to talk about under the assumption you are.
Anthony: Exactly. At this point, it’s not about our lives, it’s about the music anyways. Colin: It’s tough too, because sarcasm doesn’t always come through in interviews.
Well, one of the things we thought about doing was putting the actual audio from our interviews online.
Colin: That would be awesome. I feel like we come across better audio-wise than in print. In print, everything we say comes across weird.
It all depends on how you go into something like that too. Some people go into reading an interview thinking the band is a bunch of dicks, so that is how the words come across as well.
Colin: Yeah, totally.
Well, I have a horrible radio voice – when it’s recorded it sounds all girly.
Anthony: You are preaching to the choir my man. (laughs) I’ve got a pretty sweet little girly voice.
One last question – it seems like you guys write or construct your songs – at least on the last record – in a way that almost resembles classical music in their arrangements. Is that something you actively strive towards?
Colin: I would say it is just kind of what happens. Nick: We certainly don’t sit around and try to structure things like Beethoven. (laughs) I don’t think anyone has ever suggested we structure a song in a certain way, period. Colin: I know what you are saying, though. But it is more just communication that happens down at the studio when we are putting it down. We just kind of let the songs evolve naturally, and wherever it goes, it goes. I fee like there is way less bickering in this band than any of my previous bands as a result. Brendan: I have never set out to create a vibe when creating a song. We have never set a goal like that, and as far as Colin and I communicating about our guitar shit, it has never been more than, “Hey, you can do a little better – why not try something else?” Colin: We’ll push each other to the next level, but it’s not like we are telling each other to go for this vibe, or that vibe. Brendan: If we do that in the future, it would end up being a whole new level for the band. I mean, that’s something we haven’t even tapped into yet. It’s almost like we are still jamming. Colin: That would be a natural progression for us, definitely. But I feel like right now, we are just comfortable letting it flow. That’s just how we write, letting everyone be free spirits. It’s just like, do your thing and make it sweet. That’s it, you know? Steve: I think we’ll have plenty of years to try out different things in the way we write songs. We have barely tapped into anything yet.
Thank you very much for your time. We all appreciate it so much.