[INTERVIEW] with ... Circumnavigate

Circumnavigate - combine the Nordic landscape with music  Photo: Silje Forbes 
Ever since covering songs by Coldplay and performing in school talent shows, the Norwegian folk pop quartet Circumnavigate have carried on developing their craft and as a result they continue to move on and this year looks set to become their best to date. 

Sigrid, Carl, Ross and Charlie have always had a passion for the moving picture, the band have been tied to numerous Hollywood productions for the purpose of syncing their music to film titles as well as being commissioned to compose music to specific briefs.

In 2014 the band signed a three year deal with publisher Cutting Edge (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Gladiator). The band have also been busy working closely with production company Garnet girl and have their music featured in film titles such as The Swimmer, Polly Filmore (short), Dominica and Scorsese's debut feature Almost Paris.  

2017 became the year when they released their critically acclaimed debut album When Wolds Collide and It's All Indie caught them for a chat about their work, playing live and the future.

Tell me about your best live show(s) to date?

Sigrid: Our favourite probably has to be when we played the Fringe Festival in Sidmouth, Devon. As a relatively new band it was the first time the audience has sung along to our songs and it was such an amazing experience. On the flip side, another of our favourites was teaming up with Oslo Red Cross and The Thief Hotel to perform in Oslo Prison last year for well-behaved inmates they were very respectful and it was an eye opening experience for us to see what life is like behind those walls. 

Do you have any favourite songs on your debut album When Worlds Collide?

Carl: Our favourite song is Another 20 Seconds. The song came to life after I sent Sigrid a guitar idea that was orginally meant to be pitched to a film brief. Sigrid was in the middle of a holiday and spent the days on a beach reading Jojo Moyes Me Before You and basically couldn’t get the story out of her mind and this resulted in Another 20 Seconds being completed to what it is today.

Ross: Another favourite song is probably Secret, it were written very organically and came about over the course of one writing session. 

Sigrid: Having said that, we are incredibly proud of the whole album in fact, as it is a collection of songs old and new material essentially summarising the creation of the band to where it stands to date.

Were all the songs written over a long or a short period?

Sigrid: I would say half of the songs are older with some original ideas dating back as far as 2009 with some revamps and members changing to the band we are now.

Do you want to talk a bit about the process of recording the album? 

Carl: The production of the album is the result of a team effort. Our main producer for this album was Steve Bentley-Klein, who is best known for his work as a composer and arranger for big artists such as Kygo, Paolo Nutini and Deep Purple. We hooked up with Steve back in 2013 and decided we would make an album together after he performed strings on our debut EP, 'Stranger' bringing a classier edge to the music. 

Carl: We as a band also like to be very hands on in the studio, producing lots ourselves with Sigrid doing a fair amount of it. Finally our dark horse is Adam Lidbetter who completed the mixing of the album and added his own touch of production in the final stages, Adam has worked with us since the beginning really and is a crucial part of the Circumnavigate sound. 

Your music has been described as having a Nordic sound and identity. Is the Nordic sound something you were keen to achieve right from the start? Is it possible to talk about how Norway is an influence in your music?

      Charlie: Well Circumnavigate was started in Norway by Carl, Sigrid and a trumpet player called Jakob. The sound they first created was very jazzy, haunting and ethereal, which I think encompasses the Nordic states. Moving forward we wanted to maintain the roots and vision of those early days, but incorporating a bit more modern influence, bringing in the production and pop edge. If you were to picture the Nordic landscape, I think this is what we try to achieve in a musical context.   

How do you go about writing songs?

Ross: The songs on the album are typically original ideas on guitar or piano after which Sigrid writes melody and lyrics before the rest of the band add their flavour and make them sound circumnavigate like.

Who are your main musical influences and what artists do you admire most?

Carl: Bon Iver, Birdy, Coldplay, Cinematic Orchestra, Highasakite, Damien Rice. 

How much do you enjoy playing gigs around London?  

Charlie: London is always a great place to play, as it is home to the majority of our friends and industry contacts who are always enthusiastic!   

Do you want to tell me about your future aspirations and plans?

Sigrid: This is already a really busy year for us. We've been hiding away for a while getting the album finished, so next year we want to get back to playing lots and being very active on the gig and festival scene. We will be releasing more videos and singles so there will be plenty of content too. Being very driven by motion picture, we would like to get in with a great publisher who believes in a our style of writing and begin pitching for more movie briefs.

Photo: Karl Myrvang