Circle of Animals are fucking awesome!For anyone that hasn’t yet been exposed to this awesome project, it is the brainchild of Sanford Parker (of Nachtmystium, High Confessions and Minsk fame) and Bruce Lamont of Yakuza, where they jam with a number of high profile, kick ass drummers such as Cephalic Carnage’s John Merryman, John Herndon of Tortoise and Dave Witte of Municipal Waste, to name but a view. I had a chance to speak with Mr. Parker about the project, their debut album “Destroy The Light” and the whole thinking behind the project.
Hey hows it going?
It’s goin, just got my car fixed.
Well that’s good news!Anyway, “Circle of Animals” is a bit of an interesting name?why did you guys chose it?
When we were tossing around band names I was rocking out to some Throbbing Gristle and the song “Circle of Animals” came on and I thought to myself, hmmmm that would be a cool band name, it pretty much sums up the collective idea of the band, we’re all a bunch of dirty animals anyway. Ah Genesis you sly bastard you’ve done again. So I called up my buddy Bruce told him of the amazing idea I had and there we went.
“Destroy the Light” is just about ready to be released. You guys must be pretty excited?
Yup pretty stoked. Now if we can get our schedules to line up maybe there will be a show to follow.
With the great reception your debut EP “Invisible War” got, did you guys feel much pressure when writing and recording?
That’s what is so great about this band, no pressure, it’s fun, not that our other bands aren’t fun it’s just with COA the song writing is super chill. Bruce and I work really well together and with having fewer people in the mix things get done a lot faster, he and I are pretty much on the same wavelength when it comes to song writing.
I was really intrigued when I saw you guys deciding to use so many different drummers. What made you decide to do that?
Well I have been wanting to do this band for many years now, the only thing holding me back was I hate programming drum beats, I can’t sit still long enough to do that. One day as I was mixing a record I looked to the shelving unit to my right containing several muti-track tapes and it hit me! I don’t need to program drums I have endless amounts drumbeats right here. So I pulled down an Unearthly Trance reel and lifted a drumbeat or two and went to town. The finish product was so cool that I decided to have drummers come in and lay down beats just for this band. We ended up with so many different drummers that I was able use one guy per song. A funny story about Dave Witte is after Bruce and I figured out that this could actually work we made a list of drummers we wanted to use. Of course Witte was at the top of the list, but we laughed, when the hell would Dave have time to record drums for our little band? And I shit you not an hour later Bruce’s phone rings it was no other than Dave fucking Witte himself. Dave was stuck at O’Hare airport because his flight was canceled and he needed a place to stay for the night. He was happy to beat on things for a nice cozy place to sleep and that pretty much launched the Circle of Animals idea. We kind of grab drummers when they are touring through Chicago, John Merryman recorded his tracks at nine in the morning.
It must have been a great way of getting each track to stand out on it’s own?
Yeah drummers have their own style of playing and as a result that forces the song to go into a certain direction. The drums are the first thing recorded and I write everything else around them. Often times I start writing the song with one idea and sound in mind, then it starts to just go in another direction completely and that’s cool I just go with it let the song decide what should happen next not me.
Are you guys planning on touring?
Yes, hopefully by summer of next year, it’s just really hard with everyone’s schedule. We have been rehearsing and that in itself is an eye opener. We wrote these songs without any concern for playing them live; now trying to take them to the stage has been a bit of a challenge but nothing we can’t handle. The sound over all will be quite a bit heavier which I really dig. I love when bands take on a different sound live versus the record, I mean who wants to see a band perfectly recreate the album, and I’ll just stay home and save some money if that’s the case.
If so, have you decided on a touring drummer?
SP. We have been rehearsing with Bill from the band Indian. He’s working out great but the idea is to have 2 drummers since most songs have layered drum parts. Witte will be our top pick for that position but we shall see.
Was it hard trying to get time off from your other bands to have the time to record Destroy The Light?
In a way yes, we wrote and recorded these songs over the past two years. Basically whenever we had free time we would work on it. You see each song is written and recorded in one day. We purposefully put this limitation on so we don’t over think it. That can easily happen when you’re dealing with bands like this. I mean you could spend a whole day deciding on which snare sound to use. Fuck that, one day, one shot to get it right, just go with your gut if it feels right do it. I think the last song we did in five hours from start to finish, we get a little quicker with each one. So if you add up the actual time spent in the studio it really wasn’t that long maybe like ten days. But like I said that was stretched over two years so it seams like it took longer.
Finally, I know its early to ask but is there plans for a follow up Circle of Animals album?
Oh yeah, I’ve already started collecting drum tracks for album two and we have way more than we need. I won’t spoil it with any names but I think people will be pretty shocked and excited by some of the dudes we have lined up. This aspect of the band in itself is pretty fun; I’m always surprised by who is into the idea and willing to contribute.