Brooding Mancunian alt-rock
"The Manchester scene is still the most amazing music scene out there"
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
Circus Wolves are an adrenaline shot of brooding Manchester-made altrock. Emotive and frenetic, their post-punk sound is the soundtrack to love, loss and alternate realities, where northern heritage meets modernity.
“Circus Wolves are steadily building a great case for themselves to be Manchester’s next stadium export.”
- Design a Gig
Formed in 2013 at the University of Leeds as Plastic Rabbits, the band spent their formative years on the Leeds scene before relocating to Manchester, their hometown, where they resurfaced as Circus Wolves. With a mix tape of David Bowie, The Strokes, The Smiths and Joy Division as their inspiration, the band quickly captured the attention of local tastemakers.
“Melodic indie rock and roll certain to capture live audiences with their energy and knack for an anthemic chorus.”
- Mark Lippman, Founder of Scruff of the Neck Records
The band’s early demos enjoyed support on BBC Introducing and XS Manchester, and support slots with The Amazons, Red Rum Club and The Slow Readers Club earned them a sold out headline show at Manchester’s Night & Day Cafe.
Circus Wolves bring a commanding stage presence in a live setting and a tangible, electric energy to their performances which will leave a lasting impression.
“The brooding bass lines manage to transport listeners back into a Thatcher-era concrete factory.” -
For fans of: Ist Ist, Interpol, White Lies, The Slow Readers Club, The Cure, The Smiths, Joy Division, The Strokes, Foals, Reclaim Vienna, Red Rum Club, Afflecks Palace, King Cartel, Deja Vega, Satyr Play
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?
Our latest EP is called ‘This Is Something You Can’t Replace’.
To get what we were looking for, for this EP, we hunkered down to build upon their now established alt.rock/post-punk sound. We headed to The Chairworks with friend and producer Bob Cooper with a view to create a more sonically and lyrically expansive record, pushing their sound in new directions whilst capturing the energy and presence of our live performances.
The EP has a somewhat darker edge than our previous work. We’ve built on the brooding sound that we’ve been gaining a reputation for thanks to our live shows.
WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?
This EP is a long time in the making and some of these melodies have been around for a long time. The band went through a pretty long period of uncertainty where we were struggling to manage our day to day lives with our band commitments. Adult life was getting in the way and previous members had no choice but to give a fond fair well to the Circus Wolves and move on to pastures new.
With Ben joining us back in 2019, we knew that this was the make or break moment. We all really had to come together to make things work. Most of us have been writing tunes together for a long time, so when Ben joined on Bass in 2019, he brought a whole new contribution to our sound. This was really exciting and a big inspiration for us to really craft our art and nail our sound. It was the opportunity to produce something really special and so far, it’s working out better than we ever thought it could. We’ve been overwhelmed with the response.
CAN YOU SUM UP THE ALBUM IN A FEW WORDS?
Brooding, Post-punk, melodic, frenetic, and emotive. Northern heritage meets modern vibrancy. A shot of adrenaline fuelled Manchester alt.rock.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
This is a tricky question to answer because we all have a really varied music taste.
Certainly a few stand out records would be Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ and The Stone Roses’ self-titled first album. These two are very frequently played in the car on the way to gigs!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?
There are a few that we really like, so we’ll list a few below:
Radiohead - No Surprises
Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer
The Strokes - Ode To The Mets
David Bowie - Where Are We Now
WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
We’ve all got loads of different hobbies outside of Circus Wolves. There are some big football fans within the band, so that would certainly be up there. A few of us are keen record collectors too, which really gets the creative juices flowing when it comes to new music. Jim practices Ju-Jitsu, Ben’s into cycling, Jack’s into design and animation, Guy’s addicted to Manchester City and Cam knows his way around a kitchen.
DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
We’re not sure we would say nervous. We tend to really work ourselves up before we get on stage though to make sure we put absolutely everything we have into every gig. We have a little ritual that we call ‘The Band Prayer’ where we do a sports team style group hug and give each other a little pep talk. It’s a nice little tradition and really psychs us up for our shows.
HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?
Circus Wolves formed while at the University at Leeds in 2013. Originally consisting of band members Guy on vocals and Cameron on drums, the band moved through a number of different players in the early days, performing as the outfit, ‘Plastic Rabbits’. Jack joined Plastic Rabbits on guitar in 2013 and the group performed throughout the Leeds university scene with varying success. After some further internal changes, Jim took up guitar duties alongside Jack in 2014 and the band began to work on their new sound.
Post-university, the band returned to their hometown of Manchester and began working on their presence within the vibrant Manchester music scene where they remain to this day. After working with several different bass players, Ben joined the band in 2019 to complete the current outfit and complete the sound for the latest EP offering.
HOW DO YOU WRITE? - DO YOU HAVE A KEY SONGWRITER, OR DO YOU ALL WORK TOGETHER?
We tend to work together on new music. It can be challenging at times, but ultimately, keeping all five of us heavily involved in the writing process means you always get that big energy that we’re gaining a reputation for.
Normally, one of us will drop a simple idea to the group. This could be a riff or even a simple vocal melody. We’ll then work on different ideas, structures, and sounds for the track. This is where the song will either make or break. The ones you hear are the tracks we are all, truly, happy with. There are many that we’ve simply shelved because we didn’t feel they were the best we could do. We have revisited these occasionally, but ultimately that’s the nature of the beast. We’ll always work on ideas, but if they aren’t working, we’ll just look to the next one.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
This is a big question. We certainly get inspired by the other music around us. The Manchester scene is still the most amazing music scene out there and the music being produced is from other upcoming artists is pretty incredible.
Other than that, we take a lot of influence from the general environments that we all live in. The “Grim Up North” feeling is still apparent and it’s hard to see some of the challenges that we see people going through as we go about our day to day lives. You can see in the past how big social changes birth some of the best music. This is still very true to form and we certainly respond to it in our music as well.
WHAT IS NEXT?
Our latest EP has just been released. It’s the biggest release we’ve ever done and the response has been amazing. We’re working hard to push that and we hope to be able to perform it live in the future. That would be a key goal for us now.
In the meantime, we’ll keep pushing the EP while working on new ideas. We took a lot out of the recording process for this EP and it’s certainly paved the way for our future sounds.
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