Interview: Circa Survive — "There were songs on this record that I had to write or else it was going to kill me"
Wed, 28 Apr 2010 10:19:58
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There's no place like The Comfort Inn.
Just ask Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green.
Standing in the hotel's parking lot, he chuckles, "I think there's a beach near here but I could be the most fucking wrong I've ever been [Laughs]. However, I know there's pool in the back of the hotel, so you'd better believe that's where I'm going to be all day!"
After making a record as transcendent and epic as Blue Sky Noise, Anthony could probably use a little time by the pool in Panama City. However, any rest and relaxation will be short-lived as the singer's in the midst of a massive U.S. tour with Coheed & Cambria, and with Blue Sky Noise debuting on the Billboard Top 200 at #11, Anthony and Circa Survive will most likely be on the road for awhile. Blue Sky Noise feels road-ready from the get-go though. It's a swirling, strange and surprising record that sees Circa Survive reaching a whole new level. In fact, every song and moment is undeniable, unforgettable and unparalleled by Circa Survive's genre peers…
Circa Survive singer Anthony Green sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about why he loves reading, the stories within Blue Sky Noise and some interesting phone calls he's been getting.
If you were to compare Blue Sky Noise to a movie what would you compare it to?
Well, it's funny you ask that because I saw a lot of movies while I was writing the album. Blue Sky Noise took more of a personal standpoint in terms of themes. Synechdoche, New York really affected me in a thousand different ways, and it still does when I see it. It sounds cliché because it's a Michel Gondry movie, but Science of Sleep has a lot of the themes that come to mind as far as honesty goes. At the end of the day, this album was 100 percent written out of personal experiences. There were songs on this record that I had to write or else it was going to kill me.
That honesty is so crucial to the album's affect.
The record hasn't been out for a week and all of these people are calling me up and asking, "Are you okay? We're really worried about you." And I'm like, "Why, what's wrong?" They're like, "Just listening to the album, and I don't know. I just want to make sure you're alright. You just sound so sad." I'm like, "Oh, ok. I'm fine." They say, "Well, we're here you ever need us." I think that means I'm doing a good job [Laughs].
You're eliciting a response from people. Isn't that what music or any kind of art supposed to do?
I go back and forth trying to figure out what art is supposed to do, but I think this is it. Make people fucked up, stir the pot up a little bit and shake this fucking fly trap we've got here…I said shit on this album that I was so scared to say. I'm still scared to say it. When people ask me about the songs, I'm scared to talk about them. That's the shit you've got to fucking put right in front of you though—shit that you're terrified of, that you want to hide, repress, deny and not talk about. That's the shit that you've got to write about. It took me a minute to realize, "Oh yeah, so that's the shit you don't want anyone to know that happened to you, huh? Alright well, that's what you have to sing about!"
Is there a certain story behind "Strange Terrain?"
Yeah, that song was actually one of the easiest songs for me to write. We started talking about it with the groove, the beat and the rhythm. We were discussing the state of making music and making art right now. We talked about how confusing everything is and how you have to make your own way. It's so confusing. It can be a huge trial. That song really happened really effortlessly for me, lyrically. Having a song like that just makes you really lucky to be in a band like Circa Survive. I love that song.
Do you tend to read a lot while you’re writing?
I read poetry constantly. You've got to exercise your mind as much as you exercise your body. I really love Augusten Burroughs. I can't say I love him as a person but I love reading Burroughs and all the Beat poets. I love David Sedaris. I love Kurt Vonnegut. I love fucking Salinger. I was reading Will to Power by Friedrich Nietzsche. Right now, I'm reading a book called Father's Milk. It's just a bunch of a guys writing for other dudes and it starts talking about children. It basically says, "Here's how you can avoid being an asshole."
What's up with "Dyed in the Wool?"BR>
That song is about that frustrated feeling you get one someone tells you that they get it and they're with you but they don't and they aren't. You can feel it in their eyes, and it's like hopelessness. You're not trying to convert them or change them. All you're trying to do is not give everything away. Everybody in the band had a piece of that song. We all came together for it.
Hyro Da Hero's "Noose Around Hip Hop", which samples you, is incredible. Would you like to collaborate with Hyro? Are there any other hip hop artists you want to work with?
I love what Hyro did with that song! He's the man. That's the type of shit I want to do. I love hip hop. I'm not trying to be a rapper because I can't rhyme but I would fucking love to fucking get down on some hip hop. I grew up listening to lots of different shit—Boyz II Men, Janet Jackson and shit like that. I love R&B and I want to sing. I want to sing R&B, I want to sing country, I want to sing fucking metal, I just want to sing, baby!
Have you heard Blue Sky Noise yet?