Circa Waves are releasing a charity single – a cover version ‘Something Like You’, originally written by Michael Head and the Strands in 1997 – with all proceeds going to War Child UK, the child protection charity working in conflict-ravaged countries including Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, and in response to the Syria crisis.
NME spoke to frontman Kieran Shudall to find out how it came about.
How did you get involved with War Child UK?
“I’d recorded a demo of ‘Something Like You’ at home and we had it floating about, so we wanted to put it out there as an extra thing. We thought why not connect it to a good cause because it’s Christmas? War Child’s obviously something very current, with all the shit that’s happening in Syria, so it seemed like a good charity to choose.”
Why did you opt to cover Michael Head and the Strands?
“I’ve been obsessed with them on the last few tours. I got into the Shack records and found his songwriting painfully beautiful with stunning lyrics, against this Liverpudlian backdrop which is enjoyable for me because I can relate to it. On first listen, people might just hear the Scouse accent and dismiss it as just an acoustic guitar and folky vibe, but once you dig deeper and get involved in the story he tells, the melodies he chooses are really interesting. He’s underrated. You obviously see a lot of great artists citing Mick Head as the ultimate songwriter, so people in the know realise he’s brilliant but it’s hard to get that out into the open public. So I was hoping with the release of this that some of our younger fans might listen and go check out Shack and Mick Head.”
Why is the War Child project important to you?
“We’re in this weird place where our country has decided to bomb places when no-one wants that to happen. It’s a really rubbish time to be part of that. The fact our country is doing this makes me feel ashamed of us and I feel we all need to gather together and show we’re not for that and we don’t want that to happen. Britain doesn’t stand for that – and Circa Waves certainly doesn’t. So we wanted to show our support for all those people whose lives will inevitably be destroyed. And War Child has always done so much amazing work.”
Will you be doing anything else with them – any outreach work?
“We’ve been away on tour, so we haven’t had a chance to properly speak to them. I’d like to when we get back and see if there’s anything more Circa Waves can do.”
Your bassist Sam Rourke penned a blog for NME urging people to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election. Are you getting more political as a band?
“I don’t think we’ve ever stuck our noses too much into that world. I mean, Sam has always followed it passionately and wanted to push on that Labour vote and we stood behind him because it’s something we all agree with. Everyone’s very engaged at the moment – because social media makes it easy to know about everything, you’d be ignorant if you weren’t. We’re not a political band necessarily but we do have a conscience and maybe that’s shone through recently in a couple of things.”
How did you feel when MPs voted on extending airstrikes against Isis to Syria?
“I was disgusted. The idea that planes were in the air at half ten when they decided, like, ‘OK, you can bomb the shit out of that country now, that’s fine. We’re happy for innocent people to die because it’s for this cause’. It just seems so backwards to me, and I don’t know how we’re still in a position where these things can happen. You feel so helpless as a country being the ones who are doing this because you want to say to people over there that we don’t want this to happen, but we’ve got idiots running the country who think it’s okay.”
Have you started work on your next album yet?
“We’re planning to write as much as we can in the next couple of months and then record it in March/April, so we can tour again and show people the other side of our music. It’s going to sound a lot different to ‘Young Chasers’. The energy will still be there but it’ll cover more. ‘Young Chasers’ was very one-sided in its sound, and there will be a lot more light and dark in this next record. It’ll be more varied in the vein of records which I really respect – like Beatles, Beach Boys and Fleetwood Mac records.”