Interview with Anthony Green of Circa Survive

“People’s lives are getting dragged through the mud and there’s just no respect for human life any more.”: Anthony Green sets the world to rights.

Checking in with Circa Survive’s Anthony Green certainly makes you feel like the inferior human being. Chatting to him before the band’s opening set on the Manchester leg of the Kerrang tour, he was charismatic, warm and positive. It seems he can’t say a bad word about anyone – not even the band he left or the singer who replaced him.

GW: Hi Anthony, how’s the tour going so far?
Anthony: So far it’s going awesome. I actually really like opening the tours, because it gives us no pressure, we can just play as hard as we want and as fast as we want. It’s really cool to watch a crowd of people who’ve never seen us play before just stand there and go ‘what the fuck is this!’ I think anybody that comes to see any of the bands on the tour will enjoy us.

GW: What do you think of the other bands?
Well we’ve played with Coheed and Cambria a bunch of times and they’re real good friends of ours, we have so much respect for them for doing so much for music. We feel like that band has done a lot for music, especially these days. I think down the line they’re gonna be looked at like a Led Zeppelin of our time. I just heard Fightstar and Madina Lake for the first time on this tour and they’re really good guys. I think they’re fun to watch and they’re definitely fun to be on tour with.

GW: What genre do you think you’re part of?
I guess I don’t see us as part of any genre yet. I can’t sit back yet and say oh we’re a lot like this or a lot like that, I just know that we’re not the same genre as those guys. I don’t want to be in that genre.

GW: So you think you’re still forming yourselves as a band?
Definitely. We’re still babies. I feel like our sound hasn’t developed enough yet, and our relationships are still developing. We’re still getting to know each other and each of us individually are falling in love with music again. Going through a period of time where you’re trying to do this type of shit for a living, you forget how much you love music and how much you want to emulate your favourite singers and your favourite songwriters. You think its all about you and what you’re capable of and its not – it’s about what you’re capable of as a group. I think as far as we’re concerned with that, we’re just getting started. We’re still babies!

GW: How has the band changed from the last album?
I think with the last album we really focused on letting the chips fall, letting things become what they were and I think that’s a really good thing for a band to do, especially for their second album. Now we’re more in a place where we know where we want those chips to fall, we know where we want all the eggs to be lined up so lets put a little bit more energy into getting exactly what we want as rather than letting it just be what it is. When you end up doing that, you usually get a certain type of product, and we know what we want now. We want to be the most creative we can be, and we want to be excited to listen and to play the songs.

GW: So there’s a new album in the pipeline?
Yeah we have about 5 songs and they’re ridiculous, I love them, and we’ve got at least ten more that we’re working on and still writing.

GW: I saw you headline the Academy 3 a few months ago – how is tonight’s set going to be different?
Its going to be a lot shorter! Its going to be a lot faster because we play our heaviest songs, or some of the heaviest songs tonight in the set. Its going to be a lot less intimate. When we played A3, there was no barricade, the crowd was right on the stage, everyone was sweating and singing. Tonight, anyone who’s a fan of our band is going to witness us playing for new people, which is the most important thing an artist can fucking do. Just to go around playing to people that already like your band is bullshit. I love the fans and I love that they like our band and I can’t wait to come back and play just for them, but we HAVE to do this so we can maybe get bigger over here. Not like Madina Lake bigger, but so we can continue to grow. We have to play shows like this, we have to be on tours like this. Kerrang was nice enough to even consider us, we’ve sold like no records. We’re not successfully a record-selling band but I think they like us and we’re grateful for that.

GW: The last show you were almost in the audience, holding their hands – is that the kind of gig you prefer to play?
For me that’s more fun than stuff like this but this is more challenging for us. You can’t touch the audience cos they’re ten fucking feet away and there’s a barricade in between and you don’t have very much space on stage so you just have to work with what you’re given. It’s very stripped down, like no fucking glitter and glam. This is us playing for people that have never heard us. This is us playing without the help of a crowd full of energetic kids who believe in us. It’s easy to play really good when everybody believes in you, but when nobody gives a shit and some of them actually want you to go home, to be really good then is a fucking miracle. It’s really fun because each night opening this tour there’s a whole group of people that don’t want us to be on stage. They want to see Madina Lake, Fightstar or Coheed and we don’t give a fuck. Our job is to play as good as we can so those kids, even though they don’t want to see us, will like us.

GW: You’ve got a new solo album coming out soon. What will that be like?
Its going to be very acoustic and mellow. Its not going be as fun as Circa but it should be something good to listen to when you’re, like, driving. You know, when you’re nearly falling asleep! It’s just songs I’ve been working on forever, some are Circa ideas. It’s hard to talk about because I’m just getting ready to record it and I’m so excited about it. I’m not going into a big studio or anything, me and my friend are going to record this record by ourselves. We’re going go do it by the beach in the middle of winter.

GW: You often use your website as a place to post lengthy blogs discussing personal issues and thoughts. Do you find that therapeutic?
Yeah absolutely. At one point we didn’t really utilise the website and the internet as much and we decided to make the website like an open forum like a journal for all of us to post on whenever we feel like it. When I write something and then go on there and see like 50 responses of people relating to it, it’s the best therapy you could ever get. You’re reaching out, putting yourself out there and people are responding to it immediately. It’s really therapeutic.

GW: It’s pretty unique as well.
Thanks. You’d figure that people would do that shit on myspace all the time and we always put our bulletins on myspace too, but because it’s on our website it seems more personal too and it’s not like its just a myspace blog. It more like it’s just a normal journal entry from Circa Survive.

GW: Your last one seemed to talk about the dangers of a celebrity-obsessed society. Do you feel strongly about that?
I don’t really know what that last one was about. I don’t know if it was necessarily about celebrity-based society. I think the state we’re in as a culture, and I speak mostly just for America as I don’t really know how it is over here, I think it’s dangerous where we are as far as elevating people to these inhuman status symbols that have answers for everybody. I also feel that there’s a degradation of human life happening, life is cheap now. People’s lives are getting dragged through the mud and there’s just no respect for human life any more. Not even just people being killed, I mean if you talk shit on somebody or make someone feel bad or if you are mean to someone, that’s just as much of an attack on their life as it is if you were to go after them with a knife or a gun. I don’t think anybody really considers how the unification of humanity can make just an individual feel better. You take someone you don’t like or you don’t have a good relationship with. The odds are, if you were to reach out to that person you could find that they have something to offer you, something to help you with – everybody does. I think the way we look at people’s lives and our own lives is cheap and we need to put a little more value on each other and ourselves.

GW: Do the issues that come up in the blog affect the way you write?
Absolutely. I feel that the more you write personally, the more ammunition you have to write lyrics that’ll mean something to you. The more conscious you are of the fact that we’re all one, all together, it makes the amount of people you can help and can help you limitless. Don’t think of it as something that’s meant for a specific type of person or meant for anybody else, if you just think of it as something that you’re doing then it can reach anyone in any fashion. Nothing has to be anything, nothing has to be ‘well this is about that’, it supposed to be interpreted and appreciated or ignored by the individual. It doesn’t even matter unless it matters to you.

GW: I spoke to Cove a couple of months ago…
I love that guy.

GW: He says the same about you. He says you speak to each other every couple of weeks. What do you think of them as a band?
As a band, I don’t really have that much to say about them. I think that Cove’s lyrics and melodies are awesome, and I think the music is pretty good. I haven’t listened to it that much but I feel the best thing about the band is Cove’s voice. I’ve got nothing but respect for that band. I’ve been through a lot with them and we’ve had our differences and everything but I just want to remain positive about everything. I couldn’t be happier with where we are and I couldn’t be happier for them where they are. They got exactly what they wanted. And I fucking love Cove so much, seriously. He’s a sincere dude and you don’t come across people like that in this business very much.

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