“The last thing we did was a little tour, just up and down the east coast. We did Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, and we actually played Bigsound which was cool, it was our first ever showcase,” says guitarist Ted Suruhashi. “That was in September, since then we’ve been busy writing and recording our second album, that [has] pretty much taken up all our time.”
An important step for a band’s progression is to start branching out in the kind of shows that they’re playing, but making the change from headlining to playing on festival lineups does have its challenges.
“With headline shows it’s a bit more relaxed in the way that you get there a bit earlier, set up, sound check, and you feel very comfortable that when you jump up on stage everything is going to be ready to go. If you’re in a support slot or halfway down the bill or not headlining you do have this sense of pressure in the fact that you’ve got a limited amount of setup time [and] there’s no soundcheck, so even if you have your own sound guy he’s under pressure to get the sound to be as good as it can be within the first few minutes of the first song.”
Half the fun of these shows seems to be standing up to the challenge and testing the limits of what the band can do. “On the other side, your job is to win the crowd over. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t. You can’t expect everyone to love [our] kind of music – but we do our best to win people over and show them there’s other types of music that you might be able to enjoy. That’s a challenge in itself, and that’s something you wouldn’t get at your own headline show, because the fans have come to see you so you’re just trying to put on a good show. When it is support slots or festivals, shows people are just there anyway to see the main act or another band before you, so it’s like a showcase [like Bigsound].
“The show itself is the same, we do what we do. We’re not going to put on a different show just because it’s a room full of industry people rather than regular folk. It’s literally the same show we put on [but] it was a bit different, in the fact that there were people in the crowd that weren’t necessarily there just to see us, they’re just checking you out and they’ll leave after two songs. Usually if you’re at your own gig and people leave after two songs you’re thinking ‘What’s going on here, do they hate us?’ This time around people left and we knew that they were just there to check us out and probably had ten other bands to see that night. We weren’t too fussed.”
All in all, these shows are a great opportunity for Circles to expand their network, and playing alongside bands like Caligula’s Horse, Chaos Divine and Alithia at Progfest is no different. “You try to put on the best show and sell as much merch and mingle as much as you can with the people there. That’s part of being in the support slot or being on a festival bill is to promote your band, or promote your brand – whichever way you want to see it.”
By Elijah Hawkins