Interviews: Circus 66

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Rock band, Circus 66 from the UK. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Well, this was not up to me at all, as I only joined the band in 2016. The band had previous names that didn’t really pan out in the Mark 1 and 2 line-up before the current line up. Circus 66 was the 4th and final band name. It is based on our lead guitarist, Matt’s liking of the word Circus, and Route 66. Originally he did want to name the band Circus 69, as to play on the obvious thing associated with that number, but Circus 66 stuck (and I’m glad it did). Imagine trying to introduce the band Circus 69 as a female singer, questions would have been raised...

2.Why did you want to play this genre?

Overall, I grew up with rock music dominating a major part of my life. During different periods of my complicated and fun existence, I had a lot of other influences that came and went, but none had as much impact as the rock genre. As a singer who had classical training and classical choir background, I always wanted to express more emotion when given the opportunity to sing, and as a result, I have not just taken interest in rock music, but began to form an emotional bond with it. Like a lot of music lovers out there, I can literally say, this music saved my life on more than one occasion.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Not at all. I joined the band in 2016 when Matt was looking for a new singer to join. Mind you, he was looking for a bloke singer to join, but in the end, settled for me. At the time, I just came back to my hometown leaving the big city life more or less behind. I was based in London for a while and met a lot of extraordinary individuals, musicians especially. I was involved with a few cover bands prior to Circus 66, but it never felt truly satisfying for me to sing someone else’s songs. Don’t get me wrong, that experience has taught me a lot of things about live music, crowd entertainment, and more, so I see that as a good contribution to the person I have become over the years.

4. Each band member's favourite band?

Matt: Guns ‘n’ Roses.

Luke: Incubus

Leigh: Clutch Annabelle - The Pretty Reckless

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Honestly, I’ve always had the inspiration to write my own lyrics before joining Circus 66. Generally, the inspiration comes from life experiences, hard challenges and what it is to face such things. Matt is the main pinnacle that has pushed me to not be afraid to write, especially when my lyrics come to life when accompanied by a beat or a riff. But this was just the beginning, with the current line up, all of us contribute to the ideas of what to write and what we want to put out there. It’s a team effort that keeps giving, the boys inspire me, and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. 

6. Where was your last gig?

Our last gig was back in January 2020 (before the abysmal situation started). The gig was held in London’s, New Cross Inn. It was a really good night, as always, we enjoyed just being out there and doing what we love and do best!

7. Where would you like to play?

Honestly? Everywhere! But of course, the goal one day is to hit the stages at Download and Ramblin’ Man. That would really raise the bar for us to a new level. 

8. Who would you like to support?

Oooh, that’s a good question! Speaking from the band’s perspective, Spinal Tap J, Guns ’n’ Roses, Clutch, maybe even Extreme, if this is on the cards. I would personally like to support The Pretty Reckless or Halestorm, for obvious reasons! 

9. Who not?

I don’t think we would be that picky to not support a band, but maybe we’d say no to the Spice Girls? Or maybe we wouldn’t!

10. Has any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

Luke: “Only in my early years as a gigging musician - thankfully not in recent times, apart from our first time performing live on air on BBC radio - that was nerve-wracking! The best advice I can give is to learn to look slightly above the crowd, not directly at them - helps keep you from being distracted. And don't eat or get absolutely blind drunk before you play - that wouldn't be good for anyone!”

Matt: I used to when I first started playing live shows...I couldn’t even glance at the crowd, let alone interact with them! Luckily after a while, that feeling passed and now I only get a surge of adrenaline about 10 minutes before we’re due to go on stage. However, I do get concerned if we’re opening up with a song that has some fast guitar solo action and I haven’t had the opportunity to warm up!

I’d say to beginners - just take yourself somewhere where you’ll be left alone for 5- 10 mins, to warm yourself up, psych yourself up, and get on stage and show people what you’re made of! If (when) you fall off the stage during your performance, pretend like you meant it…... I did….more than once!

Leigh: Not really, no. Part of my job is presenting. Speaking in public is something I've had a fear of for a while, but I'm getting better at it. I've never had that on stage though, being a drummer, obviously, I get to hide at the back quite a lot, my job is to command the groove and keep the beat pulsing, I'm too busy to worry about nerves. The only real tip is to concentrate and basically have fun with it! Please the crowd and perhaps develop an alter ego, it's all theatre darling

Annabelle: I remember a specific incident when I was really young. I was performing in a choir and was picked as one of the leading sopranos (last minute). I remember that we performed in front of a large auditorium and this was a terrifying feeling. I managed to get through half of the performance, until the nerves really took over, and I fainted. Yes! I literally fell to the ground! The more I performed, the more I became comfortable and adjusted to the stage, but after I joined this band, I didn’t feel the fear anymore. I think one of the biggest reasons why, is that I feel like the people I share the stage with have my back. I think the biggest thing for me is that I know no matter what, these boys will always have my back. And to say I don’t get afraid, is not entirely true, but it’s more of a positive adrenaline vibe than anything. I learned to channel this energy and use it towards the performance. As Leigh said, at the end of the day, it’s all about the theatrics.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Matt (Guitar): Guns ‘n’ Roses, Extreme, Bon Jovi & Queen - The ferocious guitar work and amazing songwriting you’re presented with by these bands is phenomenal. Discovering these bands changed my life (and subsequently keeps my bank balance low…...I have a guitar habit) 

Luke (Bass): Incubus, Extreme, Queen, and Jamiroquai - on the face of it, an eclectic mix, but these bands are the reasons I picked up a bass in the first place. All of them have frighteningly good musicianship across the board and represent some of the best live shows I've ever seen.

Leigh: As a drummer, it’s expected that you reel off your “top 10 all-time drummers” that influenced your playing, so I like to answer about my general music influences to be honest, no one famous influenced me to pick up the sticks! Musically and creatively it probably stems back to when I was a kid, my Dad’s a guitar and keys player so he’d teach me songs and show me music, etc, that’s where it started. From there I listened to what he loved growing up, Bowie, Deep Purple, Queen etc, then as I went through my teens and college years, I was into loads of mixed punk-rock/Nu-metal genres so Blink 182, Rammstein, Soilwork, Clutch, Slipknot, Korn, Bizkit, Papa Roach, etc...that’s my era though and I loved it all and I’m notoriously known for still cranking “Chocolate Starfish” at any given opportunity!! It’s never nostalgia if you play it every day!

Annabelle: honestly, there is an endless list of bands and individuals that inspire me. These can stretch from the original Titans like Guns ’n’ Roses, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin to Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Clutch, The Pretty Reckless, Halestorm and more. I would like to say that there is a particular individual that inspires me, but that would be a lie.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Now that is something I can definitely answer. This happened at our first gig with the current line up. We were performing at The Big Red in London (what a venue), and after our performance, a guy straight up asked me to sign his stomach with a sharpie. I mean I was rather shocked, but at the same time, I was like hell yeah!

13. What do you think of your fans?

I think our fans are brilliant/amazing/the best! Fans in general, are the love and support that stands behind a successful band, and without our fans, we wouldn’t be where we are now. Our fans make every show a memorable one, that’s for sure.

14. What do you think of our site?

It’s edgy. I love the character that it has, which has its own uniqueness and individuality. And of course, the good design which you can’t fault! Very Cool.

15. Something to add?

We would like to say thank you for the opportunity to do this interview, and of course Breathing The Core’s staff for getting this published as well as SaNPR for their support. We hope to be back with more news on our Album “Follow The Black Crow” very soon, it won’t be long until it’s out!

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