CIRCUS MAXIMUS

Interview date

July 2007

Interviewer

Yann G

I N T E R V I E W

*

Hi, thanks a lot for accepting this interview for the french metal webzine http://www.auxportesdumetal.com/

Thank you! It is my pleasure.

First of all, could you please briefly introduce the band CIRCUS MAXIMUS ?

We are a Melodic Progressive Metal band hailing from Oslo, Norway. We have had a complete line-up for about 5 years now, but Michael (vocals) and my brother Truls (drums) have been playing together for over 11 years or something. In 2003 we recorded our first demo which got rave reviews all around the world. It also got us in touch with Intromental who later got us signed with Frontiers Records and closed the deal with Sensory, who was the first label who wanted to sign us. In 2005, we released our debut album "The 1st Chapter" which really brought us further than we had expected. And now, A little over 2 years later we are back, with a brand new album called "Isolate". That about sums it up in a short story:-)

"Isolate" is only your second album and sounds very mature. How do you explain this ?

Well, It must be the AOR influence...hehe!! No, really!! I think we are more or less on the right path when it comes to having an own sound. We have grown alot in the last 2 years both mentally and musically. Lots of things have changed for some of us and naturally it effects how we think and on how we express ourselves musically.

This new release seems to be a concept album, am I wrong ?

No, you are completely right! It turned out to be concept album when we started to write the lyrics. Allmost all the music was written then Lasse and Truls had an idea for a story and we all thought it was cool because it fitted the sound perfectly. The story is about how much you can loose it until you go completely mad, and how much you have lost when insanity finally embraces you.

Can you please tell us more about the artwork and the concept of the lyrics in this new album ?

We wanted Mattias Norén (www.progart.com) for job once again. We also wanted a full booklet just to give the listener more feeling on what is going on our characters head. On what is true and what is not. So we sent him all the lyrics and we worked back and forth on ideas he had for the cover artwork until we were satisfied. And we got really satisfied with the result !!

In my review, I found some influences like Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Lemur Voice, Elegy, Symphony X, Vanden Plas, Liquid Tension Experiment. Do you agree with this ? More generally by which bands was "Isolate" influenced ?

There is obviously no way around not being compared to other bands in this genre...hehe For my part I almost never listen to progressive metal at all. And I am not really sure on what bands influenced me most on "Isolate". It might even be bands like Opeth and Muse but none of them really shine through do they ? On the other hand, and like I have said in previous interviews, I think it is and honour being compared to great bands like DT and SX.

Your metal is melodic, progressive and very technical. Can you please tell us more about your technical and theorical trainings ?

We could easily make insane music with tons of psycho, intricate parts but that would only be a practice fest without emotions. I think we blend it quite good. We dont really practice together that often either. Dont know about the other guys but for my part I try to practice different techniques as often as I can.

"Sane No More" is typically a complex instrumental progressive song. Do you like instrumental metal ?

I am totally into instrumental music. Mostly from old shred albums from Macalpine and Cacophony, Malmsteen and of course alot of Videogames music. I am not that into whole band instrumental stuff though, with the exception of LTE which also besides wankery tend to have alot of good melodies.

Can you please explain us the way you compose new songs ? How do you decide to mix styles together ?

I mostly sit in front of the tv with my guitar. Then when I come up with a melody or a riff I record it in my homestudio or on my mobilephone (if I am watching something to interesting to miss...hehe) Then when I have some riffs I try to mix them together with different tempo changes and approach them with the melodies until I have a basic idea. The styles comes as the riffs and melodies blend as naturally as they should.

How did you get that deal with Frontiers Records ?

When we hooked up with Intromental Management (www.intromental.com) they instantly started to fish after a good deal for us and Frontiers Records was got interested. We got really lucky to get signed on a major label like Frontiers who almost only have melodic rock/Aor bands/Artists and with our debut album.

Which other bands or artists signed by Frontiers do you like ?

Well, they have Toto which probably is one of my favorite bands ever. Journey, Halford, Jorn etc.

Do you already have any first feedbacks on the first reviews of this new release ? How do they sound ?

From what Iīve read it looks good so far. I believe that some of the reviewers of our previous album will think its a step in the right direction and some will not. Thatīs the way it is. People want to get the same feeling with the follow but I honestly think its kinda impossible. Bands change, and so does the world so one have to look for new associations and link the songs to new good memories.

Do you plan a tour to promote "Isolate" ? As headliner ? Or with a major band ? Will we have the opportunity to see you live in France ?

We have some plans for US tour in the beginning of 2008, but I dont have the details on how lmany shows and were it will be. A european tour will hopefuly take place some time after the US tour supported by a couple of bands or us supporting a bigger one.

Can you please tell me 3 albums you're listening these times and that you love ?

I am currently listening to Opeth - Ghost reveries, Muse - Black Holes and Revelations and Toto - The seventh one. Amongst them, there of course some other bands but these are the ones that pleases me the most these days.

I give you the last words for the readers webzine. Maybe could you try to convince them to buy "Isolate" ? Thanks a lot for your time.

If you find our music interesting and want to support a young an upcoming band, then feel free to support us and buy our cd "Isolate". I also hope to see you on tour in the future !! Cheers :-)