Meet: Circa Survive’s Brendan Ekstrom ahead of their UK tour

Circa Survive, aka Anthony Green (vocals), Colin Frangicetto (guitar), Brendan Ekstrom (guitar), Nick Beard (bass), Steve Clifford (drums), have been making waves since their ambitious debut album Juturna, recorded before they had ever played a shows. The record, released in 2005, showed them to be brilliant musicians, inventive songwriters, and able to pass effortlessly through different styles of rock music along the way.

That reached a zenith (at least, so far) with the release of their latest, fourth record Descensus’ via Sumerian Records, and the band return to the UK for a bunch of dates co-headlining with RX Bandits. A new single, Schema, drops on May 4th and a new, rather unsettling video has been released to accompany it. Check it out, here

Ahead of the tour, we spoke to guitarist Brendan Ekstrom about what they’re looking forward to, the new record, and more.

Backseat Mafia: You’re coming to the UK for several dates this spring in a co-headlining tour with RX Bandits – are you guys good friends?

We love those dudes but this is actually the first real tour we will get to do with them. We’ve been hoping to do something like this for years and we’ve finally been able to make it work. They live on the other side of the country so I’m really looking forward to spending time with them and getting to know them better. Steve Choi actually magicked up the end of “Child of the Desert” with keyboards and guitars. Maybe he’ll show me how to play it now. I just made up my own little business but his is cooler. Personally I’ve always been very inspired by them so this is really exciting.

So will there be just a little bit of trying to outdo each other every night?

I’m of the opinion that competition in music is absurd. However we will be trying to do each other every night.

And apart from terrible coffee and smelly public transport, what are you particularly looking forward to on the tour? Have you pencilled in something you really want to do in the UK while you’re here?

Wait. We are going to the U.K? I thought we were doing Australia. Well I’m looking forward to really good chocolate and hearing young women say “cunt” a lot.

Desensus is out now, and has been pretty much universally lauded by your fans, and the critics. Would you say it’s the best record you’ve made to date?

I think it’s the best record we’ve made next year and if I’m being honest the record we are going to have made in 2019 was great too. Honestly, we are very proud of Descensus. I think we touched on some spontaneous energy that really motivated us and helped us feel connected in a way we needed to at this point in our career. We wrote some of the songs in the studio. Basically banging out a new song every day and it felt like a new experience for us.

It seems to pull in elements of the other records you’ve made in terms of style, but comes out sounding new and fresh – is that fair, or would you say you came at it from a fresh perspective?

There will most likely always be elements that tie our records together. Who we are as people and musicians is part of the Circa sound. But while we are still the same five guys who started the band, we’ve also been through a lot of personal change in ten years. Those new elements of our personality and growth will come through as well. I don’t know that we came at it from a different perspective. The only thing I ever really do when I sit down to write is say “ok. What’s something I’m feeling and has Circa done this before”? If it’s fresh and feels good then I roll with it.

And Schema is out on May 4th – can you tell us a little about that song.

Funny thing about Schema is that the music was written years ago. Before our last record came out actually. We just never got around to structuring it and getting the vocals together. I think energy was also a little too aggressive to fit the rest of the material we had at the time. We showed some older unused songs to Will Yip (producer of Descensus) and he jumped on that one. He helped arrange it and Anthony knocked the vocals out in like two hours. That’s kind of what I mean about tapping into some new energy. Here was a song that didn’t feel right for us years ago but now makes perfect sense for us.

And the video is intriguing…is there a great golden baby reference in there?

That video is a single glass chip on the mirrorball that is Anthony Green’s brain. So yeah he doesn’t sleep a lot with all the mad scientist wheels turning in there. All I know is girls hate that baby head and we love it.

What are your plans for the rest of the year – more touring? Festival dates? Any more recording on the horizon?

Lots more touring! We’re currently on a headliner with Balance & Composure & Chon. After that, lot’s of international touring for the rest of the year.

circa survive tour dates

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