Circa Survive and Surviving As A Band

Photo Credits: Andrew Swartz and Hayley Rippy

There's enough troubles with being in a band that any band can easily run into a dead end while trying their hardest. For Circa Survive, trouble with management and addiction meant time away and then figuring out a healthier way to make things work again. With their new album The Amulet they've harnessed those difficult times into stronger music than they've ever made before.

We talked with Circa Survive's Anthony Green ahead of their March 27 show at The Brass Monley to talk about reshaping the band and how Green manages to find time for two other projects at the same time.

Ottawa Life: You guys went through some turbulent times after Decensus, between rehab and losing management, so what brought you back to the band and what's made it healthier now?

Anthony Green: There were a lot of factors involved in what got the band to the point it's at now. There was a time where I had gone to rehab where this band didn't really exist. We didn't have any plans and we felt like couldn't work with a manager. I was down to not do it anymore and I was in a dark place where I'd lost my passion for doing anything. The band was talking to me during rehab to see what I needed from them, and I realized that playing music was what made me feel good. We got together to write a few songs with the pretense of figuring out whether it could work or not, and everything since then has been just seeing what happens. We've been having these amazing opportunities to work with people and release albums and it's now sustained by wanting to do it rather than needing to do it. We're having fun with it and doing everything we'd want to do with it.

What else did you want to do on The Amulet that you hadn't done on your previous records?

I feel like that change of elements has happened on the last couple albums but it's hard to pin down what those elements are. There's an ambient element as a band where we're trying to create a busy energy that's both calming and moving. We've gotten really close to that on "Flesh and Bone" and just the song "The Amulet" is something that we've been working on stylistically for a long time. I also allowed myself to go to some places lyrically on this record that I just couldn't in the past.

How did you get involved with March For Our Lives and where did the idea for a live-stream come from?

We're getting ready to go on tour, and we don't all live together anymore and we aren't together that often anymore. While getting ready for the tour, we saw March For Our Lives was organizing a benefit, and we had been trying to find ways to reach out. Going live on Facebook was a new thing for us and it seemed like a good way to get in touch with people directly. It was weird because the second we got offline, we were thinking about all the shady stuff that Facebook is involved with and we had been trying to do this good thing to help a good cause. We usually just get together and see what happens, but now we're melding all our ideas together in studio. The album we're working on right now in the conception phase, is the first time we've talked about doing things extremely different for us. It's hard to find out what different is though when you don't quite know who you are.

How did hearing the album on release open it up for you more than in the studio?

It was the sequencing, and also all my thinking in the writing process and feeling the ideas on the album as we made it. I stepped away from the record after all the production because I was tired, so when I heard that story in sequence, I finally heard the story I was writing. I couldn't hear that before it was sequenced though.

How do you balance duties between Circa Survive, Saosin and your own solo effort, and what does each project offer you that you just can't quite get in the other?

I'm constantly working on tons of different projects, it's my way to maintain my creative muscle. There's a relationship involved in all of them. It's like how you have different friends, and you wouldn't say one friend is better, different friends can be great in different ways. With Circa they truly are my friends, and I don't really have friends that I don't work with as well in some way. Most of the people I'm acquaintances with are people that I've worked with. When you're harmonizing with people, it's such an intimate thing. When I play by myself it's fun because I'm in control, but nothing feels better than giving up control sometimes, so you really get a variety.

I also thought it was interesting how you see performing more as a trance rather than just exaggerating yourself, can you elaborate on this and if it's changed since reuniting the band?

I find the psychedelic nature of the surrendering experience you get when you're vulnerable, is really difficult to describe. When I was younger, I never felt it in its full effect because I was high or had anxiety. When you lose yourself, you can have this transcendental experience where you're communing and singing with people in the same rhythm. It's like syncopating with something larger than us, connecting to this music in a divine sense. I feel it a lot better now than I did when I was younger.