Last month, people lined up outside 12 Monkeys Music Hall and Pub at Century City Mall for good reason: The band Circa Waves had flown in for the Manila leg of Dr. Martens’ “Stand For Something” tour.
The tour, which is the brand’s way of saluting music lovers who continue to make Docs their footwear of choice, brought a number of bands to intimate venues around the world for live performances.
Since it started two years ago, Circa Waves, the British indie-rock band comprised of Kieran Shudall (lead vocals, guitar), Sam Rourke (bass), Joe Falconer (lead guitar) and Colin Jones (drums), has been making waves in their native UK and abroad.
Inquirer Super had the chance to speak with Kieran, Sam and Joe a couple of hours before they rocked Manila.
You started Circa Waves—how has the whole experience been?
Kieran: Very good. Very different from anything I’ve done. I’ve been in bands for years and I’ve never done anything like travel this far or tour this long. I feel like I haven’t settled down in the last two years, it’s been nonstop.
What was the moment for you that said, “Oh my God, this is going somewhere.”
Kieran: I think maybe our second UK tour. We sold out Manchester, which was a 200-capacity venue. We’d never sold that many tickets before. And then fast forward a year and a half, and we’re playing for 5,000 people.
You used to write alone—has the songwriting process changed for you?
Kieran: I still do. I’ve always just preferred to write songs on my own on acoustic guitar. Everyone works differently. I think for a lot of pop songwriters like myself, the bulk of the song is written alone, and then we take it to the band and people come up with different parts.
Did you say yes immediately when Dr. Martens asked you to do this?
Sam: Yes. Do you want to have a free trip to some really cool places? Yes, I do, thank you very much.
Before this, did you know you have Filipino fans?
Kieran: We booked this tour and we saw people on Twitter going after tickets. We didn’t really know until that point that there was any interest over here. It’s been a complete shock. The power of the Internet is astounding, really.
You guys are from Liverpool, and Dr. Martens is also from England. Has the brand been a part of your life for a while?
Sam: I’ve always worn Docs. It’s part of the look that I had.
Joe: He used to be a goth.
Sam: My first pair of Docs was the really big cherry red ones. I liked to take them to school and get sent home all the time. It was great.
What has been the most surreal musical moment for you?
Kieran: I think early on you’re shocked a lot more. Now, because we’ve been doing it for a while, you get used to how nothing feels real and you just carry on with it. It was probably more toward the start. We played Japan quite early on, we played to 10,000 people and we didn’t even have a record out and the fans were crazy. We just went, “What is going on?” Then you slowly get used to how weird this whole thing is.
Sam: Tom Jones.
Joe: We saw Tom Jones on Monday.
At the Q awards?
Joe: Yeah. I think it’s funny, it was the first time we’ve been somewhere where there’s actual guests, there’s actual people there, not just teenage bands… I remember when I first got our vinyl delivered to our rehearsal room. Holding it for the first time is pretty good.
Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
Kieran: Just have a couple of beers, try to warm up my voice.
Sam: We play Kinect 4.
Joe: And then Sam does a lot of reading, a lot of nonfiction so what he’ll do is tell us stuff that he’s read that day.
And that gets you amped up for a performance?
Joe: Yeah. Knowledge is power. Literally power.
Sam: Knowledge is sexy power.
What’s the best thing about being part of Circa Waves?
Sam: Free trip to Manila. You’ve won a free trip to Manila.
Joe: The pension scheme.
Sam: I’ve got a company car coming. No dental, though.
Joe: But we’ve got a union so we’re really going to push that.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has done to get your attention?
Kieran: They throw things onstage. Condoms, I don’t know what they expect me to do with… “Oh, thanks.” Bras, which I don’t condone. They throw pints of beer at you. Anything to get your attention.
Joe: I was eating dinner once with Colin and he posted a picture of me. And then about five to 10 minutes later, someone pulled up in a car, took a photo of us and left. I think those two things are related. That’s a bit funny.
Sam: We’ve started to get quite a lot of fan art now. A lot of it is really good, but I really like the bad ones. I think they’re much better. ’Coz when we get one, it’s like, “Oh, someone’s drawn Joe and he looks really, really weird.” That’s way better.
Joe: We have a big collection of them. I want to publicly state, please keep drawing pictures of us.
Do you like using social media to connect with fans?
Kieran: I’m not a big fan of Twitter and Facebook, I just do it to keep up. I’m very much old school, playing live and writing songs as opposed to “Yeah, I’m going to the toilet” and “I’m having a beer,” letting people know every single thing.
Joe: I think we’ve gotten better at it.
Sam: We all kind of do it a little bit. I think it’s good you can connect with people directly now but then again, I sort of… you feel like you have to do it even though sometimes you don’t have anything to say but you have to say something. There’s that kind of expectation… This is what I’m having for breakfast. I’m wearing socks today.
Favorite songs to play?
Kieran: It changes all the time, it depends where we are. “T-Shirt Weather” is always fun because it’s the most well-known… But if you play somewhere where no one knows where you are and there’s no reaction or whatever, I enjoy playing a song called “Talking Out Loud,” which is a bit more melodic, it’s a slower song.
Sam: “Ace of Spades.”
Joe: The same. That’s my favorite.
Who do you like listening to?
Joe: Anything. Because we’re traveling a lot, I like music I can fall asleep to. I’ve been listening to a lot of piano, classical music lately…
Sam: I’ve gone the opposite way. I’ve been listening to a lot of Cannibal Corpse. But you know, what’s really weird is that it puts me to sleep. I find it really soothing.
This is the Stand For Something tour—what does Circa Waves stand for?
Kieran: For being genuine, not compromising too much, writing music for yourself, music you enjoy and not writing music to get on the radio or to make money… And doing it for yourself, because if you do something for yourself, people will love it because you love it, and not because you’re trying to impress everyone.