With their ‘Winter’ tour kicking off in a couple of months, Circles are putting in the hard yards to promote and prepare. Whilst their preparations are underway, I managed to score some time with vocalist Ben Rechter to chat about the tour, their latest album ‘The Last One’ and more.
We first took a couple of minutes to talk about the weather, as it’s starting to hit, and no pun intended, winter in Australia. “I like the cold!” Ben tells me, before going on to say “I like the winter fashions and jackets much more than sweating and shorts.” Last year, along with fellow Aussies I Built The Sky and Caligulas Horse, Circles toured Europe and the UK and I asked Ben if they got any snow while they were over there. “My parents tell me that I saw snow as a kid, so it was the first time from memory we’d had snow. We were playing an old prison with gates and it looks like a castle and there was snow falling so that was cool.” We then turned the touring conversation to the upcoming tour. “It’s coming up and it’s gonna be sick!” is what Ben initially says, before continuing “We’ve got all the major cities, including Perth. We always try to do Perth but it’s not always an option when we’re supporting, so headline time, yep, we’re doing Perth because we love it, and a couple of regional shows as well.”
I then asked if there was anywhere in particular ben was looking forward to. “Every time we go to Brisbane it’s this incredibly loving vibe, and some of the best shows have been in Adelaide. One of the top places in the Dead Letter (Circus) and the TesseracT tour was Adelaide.” Ben also went on to elaborate about playing the Kirova Lounge in Ballarat, which recently announced it was closing it’s doors. “They announced that they’re closing down shortly after we booked the tour, so I’m psyched to get there and get a chance to play it, but it sucks that we probably won’t get to again. It’s the first time I’m playing there, and sadly the last well.”
Last time I spoke to Ben ‘The Last One’ had yet to be released, and now that it’s out, I asked Ben how he was feeling about it. “The fan reaction has been quite positive. I mentioned last time that it was a bit of a departure from last time, and it’s all been really great. We’ve had people coming up and giving us a lot of love.” Ben elaborated further and said “You sit on an album for a couple of years so it’s hard to see it objectively so when it comes out and people tell you that they’re digging it it’s really reaffirming and nice to see.” I then asked Ben if he had a favourite song on the album, and on the tour setlist. “I don’t have one favourite, it kind of depends on the night, but it’s usually a tie between Breaker, because it’s such a big, kick in the chest kind of song, and Resolution.” Ben also added “Totally different mood, but I love the way that song grows and evolves, and for people that haven’t heard it before we play it live, it can be a surprise in the way that it turns out.”
We then turned the conversation to how structured the setlist is, or if there is much room for improvisation. “It’s pretty structured, not much room for improvisation, in terms of changing song order during the set. All of our guitar sounds are controlled via laptop, which is also running the samples and clicks, and has the playlist for the set, so it’s pretty tight!” In terms of the difficulty of putting it together, Ben went on to say “Putting together a set is pretty tricky, especially if you’ve been playing the same set for a while and you’re trying to come up with a new one. I usually like to get the 1st, 2nd and last song sorted first, then work my way in from both sides. But everyone usually has different ideas about flow, so it can take a bit of back and forth, bit of trial and error to find the right order.” In terms of the live performance, I asked Ben what Circles fans can expect to see. “Unfortunately I don’t get to move around much as I’m usually stuck behind the mic, and David (Hunter) is stuck behind the drums but Ted (Furuhashi, guitar) is pretty insane and has a lot of energy on stage!” With a laugh, Ben also added “Drew (Patton, bass) is also super energetic on stage so we have a really good all-around vibe.” Having seen Circles before I can second this, so make sure you get around them for this tour!
Next, I asked Ben what the one thing that he can’t leave for tour without, not including his bandmates, and why. “Well good, I don’t want to say them anyway” He says at first with a laugh, and then continued with “I’ve got this little pyramid thing called an Ezr, which is a little massage tool. It’s made of rubber, or some rubber-like substance. Being cramped on planes, sleeping on floors and couches, throwing yourself around on stage, this little thing gets in to all the spots you need. It is my closest and dearest tour friend.”
Finally, I asked Ben what’s the one thing he really wants Circles fans to take away from a show. Thinking for a moment, he answered “We want them to feel like they’ve been part of the music, beyond being spectators. Most of the songs, especially from The Last One, are representations of various band members hardships, doubts and fears. If someone can find something in these songs that resonates with them, and lets them know that they’re not alone, that’s pretty damn beautiful.” Tickets for the Winter tour are selling fast, so to avoid disappointment, make sure you get those fast!
Get your tickets to see Circles on tour, starting July 4th, HERE!