Circa Regna Tonat
Marcus Warner 22/12/2008
Cardiff's Circa Regna Tonat are a curious beast, a band that almost cry out for contradictions to be written about them; odd, harsh, beautiful and bold. Their first EP, 'Lightswitch Impulses, featured all manner of different sounds and feelings, with perhaps the term 'post-rock' anchoring the most meaning to their sound. Their second EP 'Dance-Off with a Triceratops' is brought forward by a more focused band, writing better songs. Progressive rock indeed!
God Is In The TV's Marcus Warner caught up with Dan from the band...
So this new EP, does it have a title and a release date confirmed? Where did you record it?
'Dance-Off with a Triceratops' was recorded at Music Box Studios in Cardiff, thanks largley to the help of Mark Foley. We recorded with a guy called Charlie Francis who has worked with such notable acts as REM, Brian Molko. and Bonnie Prince Billy. Charlie, also has stated that there is no way this can be classed as an EP, it is an album. We plan to release it in January 2009. No specific date has been set yet though as artwork and packaging is still being worked on.
It's been a while since your first EP,Lightswitch Impulses came out, was the length of time between that and this EP deliberate?
With Lightswitch Impulses everything was written so quickly, which I think you can tell as its 100 miles an hour. We had a couple of ideas floating around for the new material when it was released but we were so busy playing shows that we only wrote about 3 songs in a year. We took a break from gigging for 6 months to concentrate on writing and it's paid off as we've been able to wholly concentrate on getting the new stuff tight.
The new EP seems more focused and polished, was that an intentional shift from the rawness of the first EP?
We totally agree on that statement. We always record live and want to capture that energy. I think with 'Lightswitch'.The urgency of the music demanded that rawness, and it suits it perfectly. But we've grown as a band so much since writing that material. We've got to a point where the music is so intricate and in a sense more epic that the only option was to do this properly with big production in a decent studio.
Is it a given that post-rock bands have song titles that no one can decipher for meaning? (I am being humorous)
One of my favourite things is creating song titles and writing lyrics. With 'Lightswitch' no-one had a clue what the hell we were on about with titles like 'banana substitute', 'gay for pay' and 'a thousand knives, a thousand wives', but we love that aspect. With the new record they all just came out of random conversations we had. The title track 'Dance-off with a Triceratops' is just gibberish. it could apply to anything. Make your own meaning up we say.
Do you feel isolated when you look around at other local bands? I could imagine it can at times be a lonely furrow playing the music you guys do, who do you see are you peers locally?
We do feel a little isolated sometimes, especially with the amount of shit out there. First and foremost our band is built on a true love of music and the lack of fear to be wholly self-indulgent. Too many bands think way too much about who their audience is. We've never tried to be something we're not, and that has made it hard for people to categorise us. Because they can't, they are somewhat 'afraid' of us which can get some bands down, but then we see bands like The Death of her Money, Black Cesar, Taint and Brown Wings and we know there's hope for us all!!
A little birdie told me recently, that you couldn't record your music to a click track? Is your drummer on a 'fall out of time and fall into a 6 ft. ditch' contract with the band?
Fuck the click. Who needs one? I'd pay anyone to write a click for our songs. Not even our producer could get his head around the time signatures and how tight we are (pretty much every song on the album was done in 1 take) Adam is the most naturally gifted drummer I have ever worked with and is the backbone to this band, without him we are nothing.
Are you guys still looking for a label?
Definitely. We want to get this music to a wider audience and get it distributed properly. We are so proud of this new record, it is the best music we have ever written.
What does 2009 hold for Circa Regna Tonat?
'Atta' from 'Dance-Off' will be released on download by National Museums of Wales as it is part of a compilation we were asked to contribute towards by them. We plan on a possible split single with Black Cesar (who we're in talks with sorting out right now), get on tour and get on a label. We want 2009 to be our year. Relations have never been better in the band as they are right now and we're so positive about getting out there next year.