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Circa Waves tackle the anxieties of modern life on their ‘most open’ album yet

It’s January. If your New Year’s resolutions are still going strong then congrats, if not, the first instalment of 4 piece indie outfit Circa Waves’ new album, Happy is out on Friday to give you some much needed positivity in what is arguably one of the year’s bleakest months. 

We caught up with the band’s frontman Kieran Shudall to chat about the inspiration behind the two part album ‘Sad Happy’, as well as some of the ways he and the band cope when things get tough. 

Following in the footsteps of bands including Foals and The 1975, Circa Waves are staggering the release of their 4th album Sad Happy into two sides. The first side, Happy, drops on streaming services on Friday (09/01/20), with Sad, to follow in March. Kieran hopes it’ll offer fans something to enjoy amidst the current unsettled landscape. 

The aim is to sort of raise spirits. At the moment, with the way the world is, everyone needs a bit of cathartic release – just a bit of joy. It feels right to release it now, and to maybe give someone who’s feeling miserable that bit of hope”

While the second half of the album is called Sad, Kieran assures us that the band’s signature guitar riffs are not far away, it’s the lyrics that delve a little deeper than they’ve previously gone.

“This is definitely the most open I have been on an album. There are songs that I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable putting on the record at first. Speaking to the band really helped push me over that edge and see that, even though it’s lyrically raw, it’s important that we put it out there. I’m really glad that we have now. And I think I feel a bit of a relief, like a cathartic thing, from that.”

As a new dad who’s recently turned thirty, the album reflects the anxieties and difficulties the band are facing as they move into their 7th year together – feelings many of their audience will be familiar with. 

“As you get older and towards your 30s certain things in life become more anxiety-ridden. The reality of growing up sort of hits home, and there’s responsibilities that you need to take on. 

I really hope that some of the songs give people that bit of hope they need to just maybe get through like the next hour, you know. It’s not always about getting through the week. It can just be about that moment in time when you feel awful and you want somebody who’s been through the same thing as you to talk about it.” 

Far from doom and gloom, the feel-good guitar music Circa Waves are known for is in no short supply. 

“Hopefully you can also just listen to a track like Jacqueline on the Happy side of the album and that will just pump you up and make you feel really good. You know, there are different songs for different feelings.”

And on feeling good, the band is getting a handle on keeping their own mental health in check. For Kieran that involves a combination of exercising, art and meditation, as well as being honest when things aren’t going so well. 

“Doing the art and the running is great for that. When you are three months into a tour, and you have like a bit of a mini meltdown, it’s kind of almost too late. You need to be doing those things – keeping your mind healthy – from the off. 

“I think it’s something that we’ve all started to do a lot more. We all try to keep relatively fit. For me, when I’m at home I jog every day. I don’t do it for fitness. I just purely do it to blow away the cobwebs. I find that to me that’s better than any meditation.

“I’ve also started doing a lot more painting. Just concentrating on something else and losing yourself in that for an hour or so is just really good to cleanse the brain. 

“I miss home a lot more than I used to because I’ve got a newborn baby, so there’s that challenge of being thousands of miles away and just pining for home. Sometimes you need to just gather your thoughts and collect yourself. I use the Headspace app, and if I can do one 10 minute or two 10 minute meditations a day I will. That’s just a really good way to not let things get on top of you.”

When it comes to talking, Kieran feels there’s room to improve – it’s something the band is getting better at after over half a decade of working together. 

“We’re way more open now and we  talk about things that are getting us down, but I still think we’ve got a way to go. Just as a band and as people in general. Opening up gets the pressure off your shoulders. To tell someone how you’re feeling is really good. And we probably don’t do that enough but it’s something we’re working on.” 

You can listen to Happy on streaming services from 10/01/20 – and catch the band on tour throughout winter across the country. The entire album Sad Happy is set for release on 27th March 2020. Find out more here. 

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