Interview with Circulus!

CirculusCirculus are one of the finest, and strangest bands around. Fusing progressive acid rock stylings with wonderful sumptuous English folk, they’ve created a modern sound that somehow manages to retain a Pentangle sixtiesness, and a vibration rooted in Medieval balladeering. They are, quite simply, marvellous. In anticipation of their new record, Clocks are like People (due for release on the 7th of August), I caught up with Circule honcho, Michael Tyack.

Circulus are just about the only bastions of real English folk
music. Is it a concerted effort to make something very English and
avoid all the same influences (often American) that other would-be
folkies namecheck?

Although there have been hundreds of fantastic American bands I love
beyond all measure, I like to think the music we make is mostly
inspired by music pre 1776 when there was no America as such. I can
hardly not name check the Byrds and the Winter Consort, so there you go
folks he loves America.

Do you think that acid folk of a distinct British nature is
making a comeback with Donovan and Jansch playing at The Green Man
festival this summer?

It certainly is. There’s a whole new hip young audience who are
smart enough to appreciate Donovan and Jansch. It’s great to see a bit
of youth culture. There’s definitely a scene developing for young kids
to hold on to in case they want to grow a beard or wear a long dress,
or both.

Have you any plans to play festivals/tour this year?

The festivals ahead are Supersonic, Green Man and Mosely. We also
have a mad one on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall with Magna Carta, Jacqui’s
Pentangle and ISB in September. We’ll most likely have about a five day
UK tour in the Autumn.

When you play out, you always dress
in stunning costume. Where do you get your stuff from? Do you ever wish
you could let it go and just play in a shell suit or something?

We’ve played before wearing shell suits, except they were made
entirely from shells. The ruffles were fresh rogwort and fishing line.
We find most of our garb in markets and at a great shop called "Look!
The Fool!" in London. Also from a man who can make anything called
Peter Prince.

What are people’s reactions to Circulus when
playing live? Do people find you a refreshing change from Pub Rock
luddites, or do you get a few sideways glances?

I’m sure certain people must feel a bit put out or offended when
they first see us. Hopefully when they see that we’re only amusing
ourselves and pretending the world’s a circus they mightn’t mind so
much. On the whole making an effort to look like you know what you’re
doing certainly helps.<!–
D([“mb”,”

6. Tell me about your new record. How would you describe it to someone unfamiliar with Circulus?

\n

It\’s the sort of record your hippy aunty would have listened to, except it has a more modern production. A little bit druggy but some nice baroque instrumentation on recorders and harpsichord. It\’s a fairytale.

7. You\’re on Rise Above records which seems to have quite a heavy output (with bands like sHeavy), how do you fit in with them all?

\n

I think we fit in because at times, such as the Moog solo in Miri It Is or the Aphid, we\’re as heavy as a lot of the other Rise Above bands, in a slightly different way. Also, if Lee Dorrian thinks it fits then no-one\’s really prepared to argue.

8. What influences a Circulus record?

\n

That\’s a very open question so I\’ll just say everything around us, seen and unseen. Also this thing called the Sultan\’s Elephant which came to London a few months ago. That monster was art of the highest order.

9. Have you always been in bands? If so, how similar were they to Circulus?

\n

I was in bands in my youth such as the Mad Hatters/Midwich Cuckoos and the Jackals in the mid eighties but got into early music at 22 and later played in an early music "broken consort" for five years along side this band. A broken consort is a type of band that existed from about 1580 to 1620 with lute, cittern, bandora, viol, flute and fiddle. By comparison Circulus is very mainstream.

\n

10. What next for Circulus?

\n

Hoping to play at the Lord Mayor\’s show in November on a float. It\’s the Tallow Chandlers\’ float. They\’ve been involved with veggie candles since 1300. I still have lots of ideas for ways of approaching early music that I would like to fulfill.

Cheers Michael, skip any you can\’t be bothered with. If you could also direct me in the way of some pictures of the band (There are some I can take from the MySpace site) that would be grand.

Also, if you can, could you give me 10 or so tracks so that the readers can make a comp (as chosen by Circulus – in big spangly writing)”,1]
);

//–>

Tell me about your new record. How would you describe it to someone unfamiliar with Circulus?

It’s the sort of record your hippy aunty would have listened to,
except it has a more modern production. A little bit druggy but some
nice baroque instrumentation on recorders and harpsichord. It’s a
fairytale.

You’re on Rise Above records which seems to have
quite a heavy output (with bands like sHeavy), how do you fit in with
them all?

I think we fit in because at times, such as the Moog solo in Miri It
Is or the Aphid, we’re as heavy as a lot of the other Rise Above bands,
in a slightly different way. Also, if Lee Dorrian thinks it fits then
no-one’s really prepared to argue.

What influences a Circulus record?

That’s a very open question so I’ll just say everything around us,
seen and unseen. Also this thing called the Sultan’s Elephant which
came to London a few months ago. That monster was art of the highest
order.

Have you always been in bands? If so, how similar were they to Circulus?

I was in bands in my youth such as the Mad Hatters/Midwich Cuckoos
and the Jackals in the mid eighties but got into early music at 22 and
later played in an early music "broken consort" for five years along
side this band. A broken consort is a type of band that existed from
about 1580 to 1620 with lute, cittern, bandora, viol, flute and fiddle.
By comparison Circulus is very mainstream.

What next for Circulus?

Hoping to play at the Lord Mayor’s show in November on a float. It’s
the Tallow Chandlers’ float. They’ve been involved with veggie candles
since 1300. I still have lots of ideas for ways of approaching early
music that I would like to fulfill.

Mof Gimmers

Hear Circulus on their lovely MySpace site

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