Full interview with Circa Survive

By Daniel Ucko & Emily Irvine


Poly Post: How long have you guys been driving?

Anthony Green: A while. Since last year. We haven’t really had
any scheduled time off, maybe two weeks here and there in between
months of touring. We get home at like the 10tb of October
(December?) and then I do a few dates acoustic between Christmas
and New Years. Then we play New Year’s Eve with Thursday in Jersey
and then we’re done for a while.

PP: Thursday is going to be here on Tuesday with Portugal. You
guys are friends, huh?

AG: Love that band sooo much. They’re f***in unreal. That band
never stops making awesome music. Their new record is so good.

PP: You’re friends with a lot different bands from the same

AG: Yeah we all gotta just stick together. It’s kind of cool to
have friends who are doing the same thing as you. Especially when
you get to go on tour together.

(Colin arrives)

CF: Wow it’s nicely lit up here!

PP: Romantic huh?

CF: This is my least favorite smelling venue.

PP: How many times have you played here?

AG: Collectively as Circa, I think 4 or 5 times, but we’ve
played here in other bands as well.

PP: What’s your favorite place to play?

AG: Um, it’s really hard to say, it changes. Sometimes on one
tour a place will really kick ass and then the next time it’s not
that cool. But pretty much The Glass House is always awesome for

PP: And selling out both nights too.

AG: It’s f***in unreal. Our bass player grew up not that from
here, in Santa Ana, and he remembers seeing shows as a little kid
here…We never thought we’d be playing two nights here.

PP: What about the vibe in LA vs. other places? Are there snotty
kids standing with their arms crossed, have you experienced that

AG: I’ve always heard that, too; it’s a stigma that goes with a
lot of different places too. I heard Chicago was supposed to be
like that, but sometimes playing Chicago is the best shit ever. I
don’t think I’ve experienced that here either, I don’t think I’ve
ever had and “LA show” or an “Orange County” show ever where kids
weren’t ready to go f***in’ nuts. There are certain places like
Vegas; it’s always difficult for us to get a crowd going in

CF: Compared to LA, because they’re so over-stimulated, there’s
so much going on there.

PP: what do you hope people get out of your shows, when they do
come to LA and pack the house, what’s the experience you want them
to have?

CF: Fun.

AG: Yeah, they’re not at school, they’re not at work, this is
what they’ve been looking forward to, they should be getting out of
it what they put into. If they just hang around and watch and enjoy
the show, that’s what we want them to get out of it. You get more
out of it by giving more and letting loose, and it’s always nice to
see people just moving, no matter what you do, swaying…the music
is moving you a little bit and that creates a charge of energy that
totally envelops the room and we can feel it. We’re way more
sensitive than anybody else because we’re at the helm, we’re in
front of it and it’s coming at us. It’s f***in invigorating. And
when it’s not there, we just feel the reflection of our own energy
bouncing off of them, and that can be just as invigorating. There
are times when you can get audiences that are like vampires, and
they’ll take your sh** and soak it up and won’t give anything back,
but very seldom does it happen. And I rarely worry about that. I
could be shot in the throat 10 seconds before we go on and I’d
still be like “What up!”

PP: Well I read about Brandon’s post on the Web site about
people who come to shows just to heckle. Does it happen to you guys
a lot?

CF: It happens to us on every single support tour we’ve ever
done, and some more than others. And during supporting tours,
there’s always gonna be the kids who are there only to see the
headlining band, that’s all they care about. And that high school
mentality can be present, these “jokesters” or whatever don’t
realize these bands have been traveling in vans, not showering, not
eating, just so they can be up there and play. Those people don’t
realize how f***ed up that can feel. They don’t understand how much
that can affect musicians onstage, and sometimes its just
misunderstanding. We’ve been heckled before by fans and it doesn’t
make any sense, but it happens.

AG: I think when they are around a band that’s just passionate
onstage in front of everybody, there’s some people there who just
can’t understand art, they have the hardest time wrapping their
heads around what you’re making, putting you’re heart out. And not
being able to understand it, when they heckle and say whatever they
say, it’s like they’re saying “Please help me, make me understand
I’m so lost.” It’s so agro and shoots off all these opposite
receptors like helping and nurturing that’s really all they need.
“They something that’s really f***ed up but it’s like “I really
want to be a part of it, help me feel it.”

PP: So what do you guys do to make them feel it?

AG: I don’t know you gotta just continue on. I can’t fight it
and I’m selfish – it just puts me right back inside my own

CF: Every tour we’ve gradually added stuff that’s more
interactive and we’ve adapted more and more to a fun atmosphere to
our show, even though it’s art and we’re still expressing
emotion…certain bands will take themselves a little too seriously
and we try to be conscious of humor during our show, and it kind of
opens the door for silly comments, and it makes it less abrasive
when they happen. You know its like throw a balloon at us

AG: Every night kids would come up and wait to get in the front
row and they throw it and you see their face and they’re like, “oh
sh**” but it’s ok “hit me, go ahead”. If you welcome it, it’s like
what’s wrong? I think it’ll take a lot more to get me pissed at our
shows. Or it just takes the wrong day or wrong vibe.

PP: What kind of interactive elements?

CF: You’ll definitely see it tonight.

AG: They can’t say anything to you when the songs blend into
each other; they don’t have the chance.

CF: Anthony has always been really good with crowd interaction,
but I think we’re OK with having those exposed moments. When we
were first in the band it was like “dude you gotta f***in talk

AG: They were like, “Dude you have to start talking.” On Warped
Tour you pretty much have to have a festival mentality or you just
f***in suck. And I was the kid standing in front of the mirror in
the leather outfit [saying], “Am I cool? Can I pull this shit off?”
But a monkey can pull this shit off.

CF: As a band mate and a fan of performers in general, I
appreciate that he’s different everyday. Some days he can be more
lethargic and standoffish sometimes he’s a party animal in their
face and its like why should he fake it?

AG: I’m not gonna cheat somebody and fake it if that’s how I

CF: I feel the whole show always redeems itself by the end of
the night. I appreciate that there’s no set interaction that has to
happen “here’s the part where you say this”

AG: I wish I could do that. I’ve seen tours with bands who say
the same shit to the crowd and it works it works really well and
the kids don’t care they just wanna have fun. So its kinda selfish
but I can’t bring myself to do that.

PP: Are you on the stage for you or them?

CF: It’s a fine line.

AG: As a joke I called someone a bitch, and the rest of the show
I couldn’t stop thinking about it I was so stupid. I can say
anything I want onstage and I just called that chick a bitch. I
started making assumptions about what people could think about it.
But it’s so much easier to just not say anything. Put your foot in
your mouth and f***in eat it.

PP: So how do you guys feel tonight?

AG: Amazing. There’s an electricity in the air that’s f***in
great. And the fact that we’ll be here again tomorrow too is

PP: And you don’t have to drive anywhere you can just hang

AG: We got a hotel. It’s sweet to not sleep on the bus
sometimes. You feel like you are home for five minutes and you can

CF: It’s strange to sleep on the bus when it’s not moving. It’s
really weird. Its easy to fall asleep when it’s rocking, but when
it’s still it’s just eerie

PP: What would you be doing if you couldn’t fulfill this need to
express yourself?

AG: I think we’d be making a lot of trouble for us and our

CF: All of us have different things besides music to get that
expression out.

AG: Half the band would be f***in serial killers or in jail.

PP: So what’s the writing process like?

AG: Every song is different. A lot of times it will be
collective collaboration.

CF: On the last record every song had a different birth process.
Anyone could write something; whereas the first record it was
mostly me and Anthony.

PP: Did you have any concepts or musicians you listened to while
you were writing?

AG: I used to go to his house and we’d put something on silent
like “Fight Club.”

CF: And that Led Zeppelin documentary “Song Remains The

AG: And “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Themes of that
movie trickled into both records I think.

CF: We’d buy bargain books, serial killer or celebrity mystery
deaths and we’d just flip through them looking for ideas or

AG: We’d get high on caffeine and go out for beers and just
write everything we think of in booklets-names titles anything – a
bunch of crack head style dribblings and drawings.

CF: At a certain point we got on opposite schedules where the
band would write all day and Anthony would write all night.

AG: We’d steal from the supermarket across the street; our buddy
worked there and would just let us go through.

PP: You guys party before shows? After shows?

CF: We’re pretty much dead sober on stage every night…except
for 6 months where I drank Jack every night. I wasn’t f***ing up
and I’m a happy drunk…but I realized I probably shouldn’t be
doing it.

PP: What have you been listening to?

AG: Cat Stevens

CF: I love the new Radiohead…new Sigur Ros is great…Ours is
one of our favorite bands collectively.

PP: How do people like your new stuff?

AG: I think they like it. They’re singing louder than ever.

PP: How does it feel to be adored?

AG: Umm, I think anyone who is adoring what we do or what bands
do is just adoring that position onstage of freedom. You take on
the freedom when you’re on stage and that’s all they wanna

PP: So even the hecklers want to be free?

AG: Most of all they, they just want to be free. We all do.
We’re just calling out in different ways.

PP: Are you religious?

AG: Spiritual.

AG: We’re religious in our compulsions. We’re all compulsive and
our compulsions are like a religious mentality…biting nails,
habitually late, not sleeping in our bunks…

PP: Where do you want to go from here?

AG: We’re going to San Francisco next…

CF: We can’t be overly concerned with pleasing others or you
lose sight of what makes you happy.

PP: What do you want to tell kids? Do you have a message?

AG: I don’t know…I’m still trying to figure that out.

CF: That we love them…and to not be afraid.

AG: Don’t forget about us. We have an arsenal of sounds ready to

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