An Interview with Circa Survive: If You Remember

An Interview with Circa Survive: If You Remember

—by , October 14, 2015

10-14 AQ Cover - Circa Survive (Photo by Andrew Swartz)

As we linger closer toward the end of 2015, we still continue to reflect back on the long list of quintessential full-lengths that have turned 10 years old. Since this year reminded eager fans that artists like Silverstein, Hidden In Plain View and The Academy Is… all have records that are a now decade old, it’s time to also shed light on another colossal entity: Circa Survive’s debut studio release, Juturna.

What truly separated Circa Survive from the rest was their artistically genuine delivery, as well as the loyalty of their devoted fanbase. Out of the few times I’ve seen Circa Survive in concert over the years, it is safe to say that this record still holds true to its core after all of these years. Especially considering the fact that Circa still consistently revisits many Juturna hits and deep cuts in a live setting. One thing is for certain—to hear a legion of fans singing along the words of “Act Appalled” in unison with vocalist Anthony Green is one particular concert memory that will always resonate with me to this day.

With that being said, to witness this astonishing group belt out another mesmerizing set night after night is one thing, but to see Juturna played in its entirety is definitely a blissful experience that any diehard Circa Survive fan should look forward to this fall.

About a month leading up to the band’s celebratory 10-year anniversary tour for Juturna, I had the pleasure of speaking with Circa Survive guitarist Colin Frangicetto about the tour, as well as Juturna’s nostalgic impact on both the band and their fans. Frangicetto and I also a had a very in-depth discussion on how each member’s personal and musical upbringing influenced Circa Survive’s early, formative years.

This month, Circa Survive will begin a tour celebrating the anniversary 10-year anniversary of Juturna. Was this something that you’ve had in mind, or long overdue to peruse since the year began?

            I mean, we knew we wanted to do something for it, you know? I know in the last couple of years, we were just like, “Well, as long as we’re still together, and loving everything, and things are going well… we’ll totally do that, celebrate that milestone.” I think it was pretty set in stone for a while that we were going to do it.

On this tour, RX Bandits and Citizen are going to be coming out on the road with you guys. How did you approach these acts with the idea to tour with you for this special occasion?

            We wanted to tour with RX Bandits for so long, and we just did our first run with them in the UK. And, given that we’ve known them for pretty much the beginning of the band, I feel like we run in similar circles. Of course, Anthony Green is in The Sound Of Animals Fighting with a bunch of those guys. We’ve just had a long-standing history with them, and it just sort of felt right to have them be our main support, and do a proper, huge U.S. tour with them. Being that I feel like a lot of the fans who love that first record of ours are also kind of familiar with RX, and kind of associate them with that time, I think it just kind of made sense.

But I think for every tour, we like to have a combination of people that we have been close with, or we’ve known for a very long time, and then new bands that we think are exciting and we have loose connections with, but would like to get to know better and, you know, introduce our audience to new stuff. Citizen is an exciting new band, and yeah, we kind of know them loosely through [producer] Will Yip and our management because we have a lot mutual friends. We dig their music, and we feel like they’re doing something cool that our fans would really dig. You never really know what you’re going to get with an opening band, but we kind of have the feeling that we got way more than we bargained for.

We are now in a time period where we are seeing a lot of bands starting to follow suit on announcing and embarking on 10-year anniversary tours. Around the time when you guys released Juturna, how did this record stand out in comparison to what was happening in the music scene back then?

            It’s hard to say, I guess. Man, it’s kind of like… if you were “well-liked” in high school, and you’re trying to figure out why you were well-liked (laughs)—I mean, I have no idea. We kind of just did our thing. I think if anything I can point out, the one thing that people couldn’t deny about us was that we were genuine. We were coming from a heartfelt, pure place, and that, combined with the energy of our live shows, and the connection that we have [with] our audience, is probably what helped us stand apart, maybe.

But it’s a toss-up—there’s all kinds of things that I’ve heard people say were the reasons why they connect with our band, or why that record [Juturna] connected with them. It’s all very ironic because as we were making it, we were all coming off the backs our hardcore bands, and being just adventures of punk rock and hardcore. I think some of us had somewhat of a post-traumatic stress disorder from that, and were very like, convinced, that anyone that was fans of our old stuff would probably hate this stuff (laughs).

And I thought people were going to be like, “Oh, there’s no mosh parts, and there’s no screaming.” And people are going to think that it’s “too weird,” “too wimpy,” “too stone-y,” “too atmospheric.” Like… basically, everything that people wound up loving it more, is was what we expected them to hate. So it was just very… I don’t know, I would say it was just a total triumph to kind of adamantly stick to our guns about being ourselves, and putting out music that just came out naturally, and having people love it for those very reasons was awesome. I don’t know.

When Juturna came out in 2005, did you ever once think, or expect that record was going to become larger than life at all?

            God no! I mean, honestly, the way the whole band came together, and the way we got signed, you know, just everything that happened was very dreamlike. It didn’t feel difficult. I mean, we were making up a record with one of our favorite producers [Brian McTernan] and our favorite record label [Equal Vision Records] before ever even playing a show, you know? It was so strange and ass-backwards from what all of us knew, and I think all of us felt super lucky to be on the ride.

That was the most beautiful part about that time in our lives. None of us knew what was ahead of us, and none of us really cared. There was such a lack of… I don’t know, for a better word, ambition, in the sense of, “None of us were trying to get famous,” or, “None of us wanted to get rich.”

When we were out on tour for those first few years of just like grinding it as a band, I don’t think any of us could have been happier, you know? There were never any complaints. We were exactly where we wanted to be, doing exactly what we wanted to do every single night, and we were doing it on our own terms, and we basically had made this thing from nothing that somehow people were into.

So, all we cared about was like, “Shit, if we could do this for a year or so, that would be awesome.” We definitely had no idea that a decade later, people would still going to give a shit about it, and that doing a 10-year anniversary tour of it would put us at our biggest moments of our career. We never in a million years would have ever expected that!

There is no doubt that you’ve grown a lot as musicians and as people since this record’s release. Looking back on the overall impact that Juturna has made, and the success of Circa Survive, what would you say is the one thing that you’ve taken out of Juturna that has carried over into to everything you’ve done after that point?

            I think so. I think I’ll even credit our experiences in punk and hardcore, and just that mentality of… kind of like, the “DIY spirit” in that “you don’t need something huge to do something huge,” you know? People make something huge, and like… big recording budgets, and all that other stuff is all circumstance at random.

We’ve had huge budgets, and we’ve had small budgets, and honestly, none of that was any better or worse. It was a huge thing for us to learn that our strongest asset was our connections to each other. It was like that from the beginning. After all of us had been in other bands, and I think kind of grown up knowing that we needed to support each other if we were going to get through the hardships of touring.

At least, for the first formative years, we were very, very conscious of being loving and supporting towards each other. I think that, combined with being very, very conservative with our money as a band. All we really did for the first few years was like, “Our goal is to get a band house, and all live there together,” and that was the goal, and we rode that out for the rest of our time before even realizing one day, “Oh shit, there’s a lot of money in our band account.” You know, it was like many, many years of living in a communistic… making music every day, living in the same house, cooking meals together.

That was the kind of stuff we were doing for the first four and a half years, five years as a band. And I think that’s a huge testament as to why we are still together, 100 percent. No one was worried about money, no one was worried about “their cut.” It was just like, “Wow, we are totally living our dreams right now.” That feeling just sustained for a long time, and it still sustains presently. It’s just that now we actually all have somewhat separate lives. We all kind of do our own thing, but there’s always this underlying smile there towards each other because we all kind of have this amazement of what we built.

 

This fall, Circa Survive embarks on a month-long run of headlining shows with RX Bandits and Citizen, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their iconic debut, Juturna. This tour will be making stops at the Playstation Theater in Manhattan on Oct. 23, the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on Nov. 27, and the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Nov. 28. Circa Survive’s fifth studio album, Descensus, is out now on Sumerian Records. For more information, go to circasurvive.com.


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