Interview with MAGIC CIRCLE
The Band: Magic Circle
Country: United States
Answers: Chris Corry (guitar)
Photos: Dakota Gordon & Sarah Kitteringham
MAGIC CIRCLE’s self-titled debut hit the true doom scene like a revelation in 2013. ‘Departed Souls’ reveals a MAGIC CIRCLE delving more deeply into ‘70s sounds. Vocalist Brendan Radigan seals the deal with an overwhelming performance. The band may still be growing from now on but they have reached a level of composition and intensity that will be hard to overtake.
MAGIC CIRCLE’s self-titled debut hit the true doom scene in 2013. Did it open any doors for you?
The album definitely put us on the map. I mean it’s a full length album so people definitely got a taste for who we were and we played tons of shows around that time. It led to some interest from labels and other bands I guess.
Chris, this year you are releasing your third album, “Departed Souls”, do you have the feeling of a still growing band or better than this is almost impossible?
I think any band that’s active and writing is always growing and changing. There’s always some motion and change happening. As long as we keep writing songs we’ll be growing and challenging ourselves.
Most members had a wide experience in other bands before kicking off MC. Did it help to build your own sound?
Maybe the thing that helped the most was a few of us have collaborated on a bunch of other music projects and are pretty comfortable working together. We had a good rapport already established when we began. I had a pretty solid writing process and some experience with recordings which was all good too.
Your last album was released in 2015 and, as your debut, it was very welcomed by fans and critics. Surely four years is a long wait for the more than eager fans, isn’t it?
Well it was released in the last weeks of 2015 so it’s closer to 3 years. It was still a long time though. Our old guitarist Dan left in that time, and our new guitarist Renato joined and learned our old material and then worked on the new album from the ground up with us. It took a little bit of time, but sometimes these things do. We’re glad that our fans seem to be into what we’re up to now.
How long did you work in this 3rd album and how was the composition process?
Recording was fairly short. We spent 5 days at Dead Air studios, and then did some overdubbing in our practice space the following week – mostly guitar solos and some keyboards, and then Brendan recorded vocals intermittently at home over the next few weeks. The composition was probably off and on for about a year, maybe a year and a half while we were getting Renato into the fold.
Any song more difficult to compose than others?
Gone Again was maybe the most different and ambitious song for us, we spent a little more time adjusting and changing that to make it work. For anyone that hasn’t heard the record yet, that song has a heavy keyboard element, we brought a big Fender Rhodes into our practice space when we recorded the keys in it. We hadn’t really done a song like it before. It has some elements of like a song like Child in Time, and some of Bo Hansson’s lps maybe.
“Departed Souls” is released by 20 Buck Spin, same as your previous album, happy with the guys?
Dave & 20 Buck are great. Easy to work with, always come through with whatever we need. Easy to get in touch with. I think he likes our music too which is also a plus.
“Departed Souls” delivers a genuine 70s heavy doom sound, at least as a base of your proposal. Past is always better?
I just like what I like. We don’t do cosplay or pretend we’re in a vintage issue of Easy Rider or Creem. We play music that is indebted to the past, but not chained to it.
But your new album is much more than that, not only the 70s Sabbathian riffs, also some NWOBHM dark taste and even a progressive touch?
I think we just made the best record we had in us. I think anyone listening can be the judge of what it sounds like, we were talking about all kinds of music, early 60’s through the 90’s I guess. Definitely some stuff that people would term “progressive” is included in that. At the end of the day I just hope it’s a good sounding and unified hard rock/heavy metal album.
I would say Brendan Radigan can cover so many styles and fields that the guy makes possible for the rest of the band to jam as if there were no tomorrow
Yes I’d have to agree – with him included we jam like there is no tomorrow.
The use of Acoustic 12-string although sporadic is testimony of your technical level and good judgement
Renato played the 12-string — quite nicely I might add. I would have no idea how to play one. It’s nice that we get to have that slight dash of Byrds influence.
What are the lyrics about?
Eh…This and that. Personal freedom, life and death, and those kind of things.
The cover reminds me a lot of that dark atmosphere typical from British 80s bands as Pagan Altar or Witchfinder General. Mere coincidence or kind of a tribute to the old gods?
I always think it’s strange people act like Witchfinder General had a dark and doomy atmosphere. Death Penalty is kind of a party album, it’s a bit silly. Those are a couple of my favorites from the early 80’s British bands though. Requiem and Tellurian are wonderful too in that vein. But no… the graveyard didn’t have anything to do with them. It’s just supposed to be peaceful and pastoral.
Your music is more oriented to the studio or the live shows?
I prefer the studio personally, but we aren’t afraid to gig either.
Any plans to tour around?
Thanks for your attention, Chris!
Thanks for writing us! Hopefully see you at a gig.