So this week, Prime Circle, South Africa’s most successful rock band, released their much anticipated 5th studio album. The album, ‘Evidence’, was kept under wraps from the public and only revealed to a select group of journalists last week Tuesday 6 November; a group which I was fortunate enough to be a part of. During a live studio session, the band performed some of the tracks from their new album, also taking some time to answer a few questions afterwards.
This was the first time that I had been to a listening session so I was really excited – even more so when Ross started singing. With so many bands relying on voice enhancement software in their music these days, it’s easy for them to fall flat during a live performance. But this was NOT the case with these guys – what you see (or rather hear) is what you get… and what you get, is perfection.
What themes are you trying to bring across in this album?
Ross: It’s a mixed one again. There’s this general utopia of things about love, but there’s also the darker side of that experience. We almost called this album the next Jekyll and Hyde, we almost called it the sequel. But it’s definitely got those likes because it’s got the karma stuff like dealing with communication, to the heavier stuff like, “if you knew the truth about me would you still stick around”. A lot of it is was what we’ve experienced and what we’re going through as a band.
Who’s doing most of the writing?
Ross: It’s a mix; I mean everyone is stronger in certain places. Everyone comes in, Marco is a good bassist, no one else can play the bass in the band obviously. We were saying earlier we could have taken this album very digital, very over the top. Besides doing a couple of intros, it’s back to basics as a rock band – being 5 guys on stage, that’s us and the crowd. With regards to writing everyone just tried to keep it as raw as possible and play to our strengths.
Your sound is obviously much harder and much heavier. What has made you change from your earlier sound – that more kind of commercial, softer rock – to now?
Ross: I think it’s just progression. We couldn’t call it harder. Maybe compared to the first album you could say it’s a bit harder, but to us it’s just general progression. The first album was done in like our backyards and garages and stuff and the thing we fell in love with very early on in the band was the playing live. We wanted to do stuff live, when we wrote this album, as an album it’s great, but we also wanted to write it so it could mash in with our set list. So now we have almost the perfect set list, so we can mix it up and we can do a rollercoaster ride. We want to be a band that can do any kind of show, especially one with a lot of ups and downs.
Dale: Also, when we toured with Seether and 3 Doors Down – 3 Doors down are known for Kryptonite, like all the ballads that you hear on radio, and then when you go and tour with the guys they’re actually a lot more heavier. And then, obviously Seether is just a raw rock band, they were very commercial.
I’m not saying you outgrow, cause you don’t, those songs that were written the first two albums were meaning at that time and this album is a meaning at this time.
And your influences obviously have changed, right?
Marco: I think we have changed as people, we have progressed in our playing and in our style of writing so I think it’s more got to do with us as a personally and individually coming together as a band we have changed from where we came from back when we started off, like Ross said, we were writing songs in the garage. At that time we didn’t know anything about the industry, we didn’t know anything about the world, and that’s what came out of us at that time. Today we are who we are and we’ve learnt a lot more.
Other than releasing the album, what are your plans for next year?
Ross: February and March we are going to be touring Europe, then coming back here and bringing back some more knowledge hopefully from there as well. And the touring the album continually here. The thing with us is that we try and evolve the songs, there’ll be little extra things, we also call them the head and versus in the song. They’ll still be the songs but they evolve with us as well so that’s going to be quite cool to see what happens to them.
Which countries will you be touring in Europe?
Ross: We’re concentrating on Germany.
Are you well received there?
It’s getting there. We took baby steps in the beginning but now we are starting to perform in clubs. We’ve always been really honest with our international stuff. We don’t want to over-dramatise it, we’d rather talk about it when that thing comes through. But now we’re filling small clubs, it’s awesome. And the 3 Doors Down thing, playing to 15000 people at night really upped us, and the guys were so good to us. Hopefully one day we can return the favour to a band like ourselves if we’re in their shoes.
So while you’re touring this album, are you planning on a next album already?
Marco: We’re always writing. Somebody asked us earlier on. the moment we released the last album, ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, I think it was probably two weeks later, we started writing new material for this album.
Dale: We had 40 songs to choose from. When it comes to ballads, we write a hell of a lot of ballads [laughing]. That’s like our thing. This is an album for us, but as much as it is for us it’s for our fans. It’s a progression, the next album will probably be a whole ballad album, we don’t know.
Have you ever taken a song written by a fan and used it?
Ross: We always try and point them in the right direction, but we don’t use other material, it’s like a ego, pride thing maybe, I don’t know. It’s just that we feel competent in ourselves, and the minute we can’t write a track I think we’ll fell a little bit lesser.
Marco: We have, in the past, taken people’s experiences, what they’ve gone through and incorporated in our music.
Are there any local festivals you will be performing at?
Ross: We going to be doing synergy with Prodigy. I think it’s going to be very, very cool.
Marco: We did a show with Prodigy in 2005 in Dubai so it will be interesting to share the stage with him again.