Interview: Circle are back in the swing

Having been out of the spotlight for a while, Sydney-based rock outfit turned production project Circle are back with a new single. We spoke to Circle captain, Radi Safi:

Hi Radi and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. Your single Thylacine has a very dreamy electronic Flaming Lips feel to it, were there any particular artists and genres you were influenced by when fleshing out this track?
Thanks! Circle has been compared to The Flaming Lips before and it’s a comparison I don’t mind at all. Especially when it comes to the production side of things. Massive fan of Dave Fridmann and his take on what a studio’s role in music should be. The track developed over a few months and there were probably a number of influences along the way but I guess I’m most influenced by achieving that sounds resolved to me and I keep cooking until it’s right. Hopefully… not overcooking it!

Reading between the lines, what subject matter does Thylacine attempt to address?
Thylacine is about the connection between extinction and its impact on the planet beyond the simple physical loss of a species. It’s a tough topic no matter what and I’m touching on something that I think is invariably very difficult to explain. It’s a philosophical and maybe even spiritual attempt at explaining extinction beyond its face value.

Having been on something of a sabbatical over the last couple of years, was there a renewed sense of vigour in approaching the Circle project?
Yeah for sure. It’s hard to believe how long it’s been but thankfully I’m immersed enough in music so as not to feel too left out. It still takes a bit of time to get back into the flow and I know this is going to sound crazy but I’ve worked out it takes about four hours. Four-solid-hours and I’m back in the swing.

On a technical level, what is the kit?
Kit usually means drum kit so I’ll answer that. With this track there were three main layers of percussion. The first was a loop made from using mallets on some old chairs. It was cool after being amped and fucked around with but there wasn’t enough… kit haha! So there’s some very obvious 808 stuff in there. The sound still wasn’t right so I did a pass with a single mic just playing cymbals and light crashes. That really brought it home!

Not content at just making music, you have also created the arts and culture Happy Mag. Does being immersed in the arts and culture side of things allow you to keep your finger on the pulse and therefore provide more creative inspiration or do you draw a clear line in the sand between what you do with Circle and what you do with Happy?
New bands, artists and writers continue to blow my mind every single day but does anyone draw a clear line with anything anywhere? Where would such a line exist? In the proverbial sands of our psyches I suppose. If we’re lucky enough to be working in a field that we’re passionate about (and I hope that everyone is at least trying to get to that place), then I imagine that satisfaction spills over into everything we do and yep that would certainly help inspire things along the way.

Operating out of Enmore, Sydney’s inner west. What is your take on the live music scene right now considering that more live music venues are closing down than opening up?
It’s true that the arts can seem undervalued in Australia. Certainly compared with other progressive thinking countries. New Zealand has an incredible history of supporting and fostering the arts. They also have a history of attempts at reconciliation and land treaties. While not all of it has been perfect, you get a sense of a genuine attempt at healing the past. While we continue to be governed by politicians who ignore the atrocities of the past we’re going to have a hard time flourishing creatively. There’s some of that philosophy coming through soz!

What has been one of your most memorable gigs that you have played to date and why?
Circle played at the Hopetoun Hotel twice. Both were amazing shows and really great nights. I continue to meet people who didn’t even get a chance to see a gig there and it’s pretty sad but I’m glad that I not only saw some amazing shows there but actually got the chance to grace the stage a couple of times.

What else is on the cards for 2017?
Hopefully we’ll have some more music and maybe even an EP. I’m looking forward to getting some more collaborations happening. Sometimes it’s easy to ask and sometimes it’s hard. We’ll see how we go.

Keep up to date with Circle on Facebook.



Interview by Courtney Dabb.