Juice Magazine (Singapore) Interview: Russian Circles
Many elements of Russian Circles shouldn’t make sense, but do. The band monopolizes a unique position within the music sphere such that their only competitors are themselves - a case against which they appear to be consistently winning, with each album evoking a perpetually anachronistic intensity and depth that seems to disregard concepts of time and context altogether. Their latest release Empros sees them interweaving heavy, frenetic movements with those of surprising tenderness in creating a crystallized, eloquent album that commands your attention at every turn. Ahead of their show here in October, we talk to them about performing live and listening with ‘fresh ears’.
You guys have previously played in Singapore back in 2010 - what should we expect for your second show here and how did you like it here the last time?
We had a great time in Singapore. Lesley and Errol from KittyWu did an amazing job and were incredible hosts. The crowd was great, and it was a pleasure to play with In Each Hand A Cutlass. I don’t think folks should expect anything too wildly different from us from last time!
Your live shows are always pretty exciting, but your performances always sound a little different from your records (in a good way, of course). When writing your songs, do you keep in mind how you will have to perform it live eventually?
Yes. We always try to embellish the recordings a little bit just to compensate for the fact that you’re not actually watching a live band and soaking in the atmosphere of the performance when you listen to the album. But we want everything we do to be replicable live. A lot of the songs wind up evolving in the live setting just because we play them so many times that we start making small adjustments that make the songs work a little better. Maybe we need to do a live record.
You’ve played with all kinds of bands, from Clutch to Tool to Minus The Bear. Do the audiences respond differently to your music?
We actually don’t do very many tours opening for other bands. We did five shows with Clutch, three with Tool, and that tour with Minus The Bear was almost seven years ago. With the last three records, we haven’t even done one single full U.S. support tour. It’s kind of nice to be able to headline a show and have control over everything, but I do also kind of miss setting up in front of a crowd that isn’t familiar with our music and having to win them over. That expectation from the crowd can sometimes be a little stifling.
Is that something you’d be keen to revisit though?
Actually we’re doing a U.S. support tour in January and I’m really excited to be back in that situation where people hear us with fresh ears. It’ll be a bit of a challenge to have to win people over, but it’ll also be reinvigorating in a way.
KittyWu presents Russian Circles live at TAB Singapore on Saturday, 13 October. Ticketing information can be found via kittywurecords.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/russian-circles-in-singapore-2012/
Text Yishu Zhou
Image Chris Strong / Sargent House
Interview courtesy of KittyWu Records