Circa Survive: It's not easy being Green
Frontman Anthony on drugs, rehab and fatherhood
Circa Survive’s Anthony Green has never shied away from talking about his experience with drugs, but new album 'Descensus' marks a new chapter in the frontman's life. Written and recorded when he was fresh out of rehab, Green – who has also rejoined his original band, Saosin – presents a very vulnerable and honest side of himself on the record, and also in conversation. There’s a noticeable point, brought on by the presence of his eldest son, when the interview becomes incredibly revealing and personal. Now a father of three, his priorities have shifted completely. As he explains, though, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, he had to get worse to get better, and the journey back up wasn’t – and still isn’t – entirely easy.
**It’s been about six months since 'Descensus' came out. How do you feel about it now?
**“You know, there’s always a weird feeling right when a record first comes out and you’re sharing it with everybody. There’s a vulnerability there. But it’s truly the most fun I’ve had recording music ever, and I’m so proud of it. It kind of made that transition period from having it be something that we have to sharing with everybody really easy. I love playing the songs live. They feel very natural for us and I love the album. It’s my favourite record we’ve ever done.”
It’s interesting that you say it was the most fun, because it came out of quite a dark period.
“It did. I think that’s why it was so much fun – it was almost therapeutic to record it. There wasn’t any pressure and we didn’t know how we were going to release the record. We didn’t know even if it was going to be a full record. We just went in to deal with some of our emotions in a way that was productive and creative. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey! Let’s go in and record a record for Sumerian.’ It was ‘Hey! Let’s go in and see if we can still write songs together and make ourselves feel better about what’s happening in our lives.’ The reason we started playing music was to just hang out with our friends and have fun. But as a younger kid it helped me deal with a lot of anger problems, and feelings that I had of being alienated. I think that’s where a lot of punk music comes from – just feeling angry and alienated and having a place where you can get that out. I think as you get older, and certainly when you start doing it as a profession, that sense can get lost. It’s more like, ‘Oh, it’s time to put out another record and go tour.’”
**Do you think not having a label for 'Violent Waves' helped realign that thought process and your creative urge?
**“It definitely helped me and the guys figure out how we were going to work together in a way where there were no holds barred. We let the evolution of the creative process take shape from song to song. We didn’t have the label when we recorded Descensus, either. We were completely on our own – the record was finished and mastered before we signed to Sumerian, so it was sort of a continuation of that, where we could do whatever we wanted and just make something that we really loved. I think that when you’re younger, after you find a tiny bit of even marginal success, you start thinking, ‘Oh, maybe we could be a band that could make psychedelic punk music for the masses! Maybe we could write a song that’s both weird and has appeal, and you start thinking about that and that can sometimes ruin the natural creative evolution of a band. Luckily, we didn’t really experiment with that too much. I think there’s a sense of that on our earlier records, where we’re like ‘Could this song get played on the radio?’ and I think that sentiment for our band is kind of a mistake. I think we’re better off just making weird shit that we love – and if we love it, then our community of devoted listeners will love it and will keep spreading the word organically and we’ll never have to think ‘Maybe it’d be good for the band for this song to be on the radio.’ I think there’s a sense about trying to grow a band that way that’s always like a dream for somebody as their band starts to get bigger. I think the last two records were good practise for us being like, ‘Yeah, fuck it. Let’s just write what we know is going to be good for us and not give a shit about people finding it catchy enough to make it for mass appeal.’”