Rock Impressions

CIRCULUS INTERVIEW with Michael Tyack (italian version)
by Giancarlo Bolther

Can you give us an introduction to your band with the history of your group?
Circulus began in 1997. The current line up has been together for about four years. We combine Moog synthesizer with ancient wind instruments to confuse people as to whether we are from the future or from the past.

You seem to be a freak ensamble of artists, can you tell me more about your lifestyle? What kind of person are you as men and as artists?
Most of the band are full time musicians and music teachers, although "full time" might only mean an hour or two a week, leaving plenty of time for just sitting around drinking tea. Our drummer has a family and a full time job, so he's in a different situation to the rest of us. I think the word freaks is quite a good one to describe us.

Can you tell us more about your interest in medieval music and why did you choose to mix reinessance music with psichedelic rock?
Mixing psychedelic rock with the ancient is my mission in life. The two styles both compliment each other so well. When I die I'm hoping there's such a thing as "reverse reincarnation".

Your style is really seventies, do you hate digital music and the new technologies?
I'm not too keen on new technology. We make our music using traditional instruments. Even the Moog I consider to be a traditional instrument. I prefer recording the old way using tape but the latest album was done on "Pro Tools" for convenience. Our friends the Queens of Noize have remixed an old Gryphon track with lots of bleeps. It's not the sort of thing Circulus would do but it sounds great! Hear it on their Myspace.

The sound of the guitar reminds to me a lot the west coast tradition (alike Grateful Dead) more than the english psichedelic sound, do you agree?
I think you're right. Perhaps it's my Fender amp! The Moog alongside the guitar makes it sound more West Coast.

What kind of response are you experiencing from the audience to your music?
The best introduction to our music is through seeing us live. We'll try and get people dancing on stage with us and generally having a mad time. The more madness we can create on stage then the happier everyone becomes. It's up to us as performers to spread as much joy as we can and most of the time our audience feel it to some degree. Audiences like to see something different.

Can you tell us about the songs from the new album (composing process, lyrics...)?
Every song will begin its life as a little guitar run which if it is lucky will grow into a whole song. Many of the songs on the new album are lyrically inspired by anguish and things in life that don't make sense or seem unfair. Not all of them. Dragon's Dance is a protest song about the existence of dragons. Willow Tree is a protest song about growing older.

What do you mean with the title Clock Are Like People?
Nothing ever really makes sense, so why should our album title!

The new album is more melancholic, which is the message that you want to say?
The message I want to say is "Yes, this is a melancholic album! The next album will sound much happier. Long days of happiness are soon and sure to come!"

Your music is full of beauty, did you look for an aesthetic result or for a spiritual one?
As long as you feel our music is full of beauty it doesn't matter what kind of aesthetic or spiritual result we we're looking for. As long as we don't sound like anybody else then I'm happy. Originality is very important.

What is that caracterize your live performances and how do you prepare the set list for live performances?
About five minutes before a gig I scribble down a list of songs. Since a lot of the songs use alternative guitar tunings I try to bunch certain songs together so I'm not standing on stage retuning my guitar all evening. Before we get on stage we will dress ourselves in a fitting manner. Dressing up is a great passion of mine. I hate to think how large the Circulus wardrobe would become if I had the money!

There is a long tradition of artists that play medieval and folk music: Comus, String Driven Thing, Jethro Tull, Gryphon, Horslips from the '70, Dead Can Dance, Sol Invictus and a lot of gothic artists from the '80, also Ritchie Blackmore with his new project... do you know these bands and their records? There is something that you like?
I'm not familiar with Sol Invictus but the rest of those bands I know. Gryphon are amazing, Comus are good and strange and Dead Can Dance I like very much.

At the same time a lot of bands try to mix folk/medieval music with heavy metal, sometimes with good results, like Cruachan, Skyklad, In Extremo and so on... do you like them also?
I like them so long as the metal element is doom and not death!

What kind of music do you listen to? What are your favourite bands actually and what are your inspirations from the past?
As you can imagine, it's those early seventies bands like Dr Strangely Strange, COB, Gryphon, Fuschia, Stone Angel, Malicorne, Renaissance and Trees (to name but a few) who inspire me the most. I also listen to a lot of early music such as David Munrow and renaissance lute music.

What does it mean for you Paganism and to be a pagan? Are you close in some ways to Paganism?
I'm not a pagan. I'm a dreamer and a time traveller.

Modern world is running very fast, do you believe that we need to slow and to look back sometimes?
The rest of the world can do what it wants. I'm quite happy to speed up and look forwards!

A final salute...
I would like to salute Lavender Diamond. If you haven't heard her then you must! She has a new EP coming out soon on Rough Trade.
All the best
Michael Tyack

Reviews (in italian):
The Lik on the Tip...; Clocks Are Like People

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