Who says indie is dead?
Yeah, well tell your mate Barry he’s a prick. Anyone truly plugged into the UK music scene right now should be fully aware how recharged the genre is, with Circa Waves leading the charge.
You know how Stranger Things arrived last year, like a stream train over the bridge of zeitgeist, leaving you in the sodden dust of shame for not knowing earlier? Yeah, this is the time to get on-board with this Liverpudlian quartet. Having chalked up millions of hits on Spotify and won over a legion of fans with barnstorming live performances already, 2017 is shaping up to be their year.
So ahead of the release of the band’s second album, Different Creatures (10 March), and an impending UK tour on the horizon, we caught up with frontman Kieran Shudall to talk about the tracks and lyrics that have impacted his craft.
Favourite lyric from a song
“From the Elbow track Starlings, ‘You are the only thing in any room you’re ever in’. I’ve always loved Guy Garvey’s lyrics and that album, The Seldom Seen Kid, is excellent. Another lyric I like, which is very of its time and kids of today won’t identify with, is the one in the Arctic Monkeys track The View From The Afternoon – “And she won’t be surprised and she won’t be shocked. When she’s pressed the star after she’s pressed unlock”, about the old Nokia phones. Such a witty and clever line, words that wrap around each other and because it was so specific to a time and culture, it’s something I can keep to myself forever.”
Favourite club anthem
“We used to go to K2, an indie night in Liverpool, and Decent Days and Nights by The Futureheads brings back loads of sweaty memories of that. You’d be having a beer, that’d come on and then 20 of your mates would run on the dancefloor trying to dance as indie as possible. Not sure how that went but I did love it. I’m also happy to declare my appreciation of The Futureheads. They’ve got loads of great tunes and are a really underrated band.”
Favourite sad song
“Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime by Beck. Originally by The Korgis in the eighties, this cover was used on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I don’t know what he did with the chords but it’s beautiful, a really sad song – which, oddly, can put you in a good mood. It’s magical how that happens.”
Favourite current song
I’ve been listening to a lot of Dead Pretties. It’s very much like listening to The Libertines back in the day. It’s got a very Camden-esque snarl to it and such very playful lyricism. We actually supported the Libertines on a European tour two years ago, which was as good as you can imagine it would be. One thing we learnt from those guys was how to master controlled chaos – it’s frantic on stage but they’re total pros and can start a set from whatever song they want, then carry on because they’re all so in tune.”
Favourite song from your childhood
“It’s like therapy this, isn’t it? My Mum used to listen to a lot of Joni Mitchell, and the song Little Green, from the album Blue, sticks out as one I remember a lot, going on around the house and in the car on the way to camping trips in Anglesey. The melody really hooked into me. We would listen to James Taylor a bit too – so my parents always had a good taste, just a very narrow field.”
Favourite song that no-one else has heard of
“Yeah I’m gonna try to sound super cool now. There’s a guy called Chilly Gonzales, who’s actually relatively known but not hugely listened to by the mainstream. He does solo piano records, and one’s called Solo Piano II, which is my most listened-to album on tour. When you’re on a plane there’s not much better to chill you out. Seriously, give it a listen and try not to be enamored by that.”
Favourite movie soundtrack song
“Remember that Will Smith film Enemy of the State? As a kid I just used to fucking love that film for some reason. Before the internet kicked off, late nineties, edge of the noughties, it was great. The score of it, by Trevor Rabbin – not that I Googled it – especially. I’d burn it onto a CD with that alongside all the indie bangers. Oh, and The Matrix soundtrack would be on it too.”
Favourite song to hear at a wedding
“I’m going to go with Proud Mary by Tina Turner. My family’s a bit mad, and my cousin Ryan does an incredible Tina Turner impression. It’s spot on. He’ll go and do it on the dancefloor, right in front of everyone there, in a flawless fashion too.”
Favourite novelty song/one-hit wonder
“I suppose the La’s were mostly known for There She Goes, but then they have so many underappreciated tracks I’d feel bad putting them down for it. Wait. Remember that guy who did the cover of Wonderwall? Mike Flowers was the name and his comedy cover actually did well in the charts. I’ll go for him. Atrocious but brilliant.”
Favourite song from your own music
“To be honest, the song I’m most proud of is T-Shirt Weather – I’ve played it a million times, but to write a song which has become an anthem to some young people and to have nearly 30m plays on Spotify, to write a song in 15 minutes that seemed so simple that has fully changed my life.”
Circa Waves are on a UK tour in March. Different Creatures is out on 10 March. Watch the second single from that album, Fire That Burns, below
[Images: Andrew Benge, Getty]