An exhaustive introduction is not quite needed when the subject is Russian Circles. Let’s just say they’ve kept instrumental heavy music alluring enough to the point of having now a reliable and growing fanbase, particularly when it comes to Europe. Far from hunkering down behind what they’ve already achieved through five exalted records -“Station” or “Memorial” being discographical pinnacles -, the Chicago folks keep pushing forward and do not flatter themselvs aimlessly. What lies next is a European tour along with their Sargent House mates Helms Alee, which will have a Portuguese gig - April 16th, Lisbon - and a special stop at Roadburn 2015. We’ve chatted with bassist Brian Cook about it. But not only.
Time does move fast. And I find particularly curious that some press sources are starting to call Russian Circles «veterans». After being active for more than a decade, is the word veteran comfortable to you? Is aging, as a band, somehow scary?
I’m comfortable with aging. There are downsides, I suppose. Specifically, I’ve found that the longer I play music, the more prone I’ve become to wondering how our current work relates to things we’ve done in the past. I don’t worry so much about whether it’s as good, because I think whatever we’re working on at the time will be more artistically relevant to us, and will consequently be more favorable to our ears than our older material. But I am aware of the audience, and I’m aware that as a veteran, there is a lot of expectation. Different contingents of our audience expect a different ratio of the familiar to the new. Being aware of those expectations doesn’t change the way we write music, but it hovers in the back of my mind when we have to do things like write up a setlist. In that sense, it’s more liberating to be a new unknown artist, because there is no expectation. Whatever you do is occurring on a blank slate. There is a certain luxury in that. But ultimately I really like having a body of work beneath our belt. I feel like there is a certain artistic freedom that also comes from having an extensive back catalog. People are more willing to stay with you through your artistic risks, even if it’s outside of their comfort zone.Read more