New Jersey modern progressive metal act Circuitry just released their debut album on Bandcamp a few days ago, so after you get done reading this interview, go check that out. I spoke with Eric Ulna (one of the band’s guitarists) as he talked a little about how this project came to be, some of its lyrical topics, his thoughts on death and ebola, as well as Mega Man. Because Circuity definitely reminds me of the Blue Bomber somehow…
Tell me about how you guys got together. What bands were you in previously and what inspired you to play this kind of music?
Joel and Christian were in Reach, a prog rock outfit, and Christian and Matt were in Dark Empire, a troupe of power metal stallions. Dark Empire’s demise was the initial creative impetus because we wanted to write a brutal record almost out of spite due to the absurdity of said breakup.
The record obviously shares the same name as the band. But where did you come up with the name Circuitry? It makes me think of Mega Man.
Due to the lineage of rock and metal bands over the last half century, a lot of the great names have been taken. It took us a long time to come up with a title that we felt was catchy enough and positively forward thinking, rather than over-romanticizing the past, I.E. “Clay Tabletry.” Just kidding, we play nothing but Mega Man.
There’s a lot of genre-mashing going on in the record, but I also sense a lot of influence from several progressive metalcore acts. What could you say inspired the sound of your band?
The musical concepts we tried to explore on the record did cover some wacky territory. “Perfect Vision” is little more than country riffs played way more brutal. There’s admittedly a lot of jazz influence in the composition as well. We’re pretty eclectic when it comes to our tastes but our goal on the Circuitry debut was to create and release tension, merge beauty and brutality and kick your nuts right off your tainthole.
How long did it take for you guys to write and record the album? Where did you record it and what was the atmosphere like? Were there any problems in the beginning?
It took us nearly a year to write, record and then mix the record (which took an enormous amount of time in itself). During the mixing stages, writing seemed like a walk in the park by comparison. Between Matt and Joel’s shitty home studios, it took a while to reconcile everyone’s different workflows, but once we got rolling, everything took off easily enough and we’re very proud to say this record is a hundred percent DIY.
There are a few tracks here where I can easily discern their meanings, like “Unplug” for example, but what are some of the other topics that the lyrical matter revolves around on this record?
The third track, “Watch Our Shadows Cast” is about ostracizing cult leaders and the sociopaths like them who prey on good peoples’ trust and kindness. The sixth track, “Horizon” is the only “love song” on the record. To quote Paul McCartney, “You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs. I look around me and I see it isn’t so.” Which unfortunately for Sir McCartney, takes us directly to the tenth track, “Divorce Court” where you can likely guess how the story ends once our narrative’s protagonist discovers that too much reverence for his relationships led to overlooking the red flags which otherwise would have alerted him to abandon the sinking relationship. There’s a line in the eleventh track, “States of Existence” that goes “every hope in the world drowning in poetry – repeat the lesson of history” that sums up the basic lyrical thrust of the record: Art has a special place in the hearts of most good people and even some of the bad ones, but when you begin viewing every interaction through the foggy lens of some inventive poetic interpretation or liturgy, emotion supplants logic and people can be hurt.
What are touring plans for the record? Will you be hitting the states?
First we have to be able to come back to our house not being repossessed, so if there are any opportunities that arise, we’ll be eager to jump onboard. Our utmost goal is to actually make enough money to survive on the road, as whimsical as that may sound in the present climate. A lot of bands these days are paying dearly to get on tours with respected bands and still not furthering their careers as a result. We love what we do and are extremely passionate about it, but in order to feed and shelter ourselves, must logically assess our situation and what paying to tour would entail for our lives upon returning home.
What do you guys do when you’re not playing music? What are some things we wouldn’t guess about you?
As previously stated, plenty of BROing down to Mega Man happens at the Circuit Treehouse. Christian plays in a cover band, teaches guitar and appraises real estate. Joel is a live sound engineer and wannabe record producer. Matt is currently attending classes for audio engineering and grinds all day at a popular toy store.
What are your top favorite albums of all time?
SIKTH – Death of a Dead Day,
Hostage Calm – Please Remain Calm
Lamb of God – Ashes of the Wake
Dillinger Escape Plan – Miss Machine
Mastodon – Leviathan/Blood Mountain
City Sleeps – Not an Angel
Incubus – Science
Alex Machacek – Improvision
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
Circa Survive – On Letting Go/Appendage EP
A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms
Joe Henderson – Inner Urge
Howe/Wooten/Chambers – Extraction
Allan Holdsworth – Hard Hat Area
Nearly anything by Devin Townsend, Bayside, Ben Monder and Joe Nivare.
This list barely even scratches the surface but it’s safe to say we fucking love music and will never stop making our own records regardless of our career’s trajectory.
What do you guys think about this big ebola panic going on right now? Are you worried you’ll catch one of the most dangerous diseases in the history of mankind?
It sucks but the world is overpopulated. The human race deserves to know what it feels like to be prey every now and then. No need to devalue the severity of the situation, but it’s not going to kill off our entire species. We’ll survive and evolve into a stronger version of ourselves due to some of the weakness being purged. If Circuitry dies, it will be metal as ballsack burning on the Olympic torch.
There has been a recent study which has been making headlines regarding life after death. It states that the human consciousness was still able to function several minutes after the individual was dead, which was previously though impossible. Do you think it’s possible that we do pass on into another form of life, or simple fantasy?
The answer is on the next Circuitry record but it’s really not that interesting.
Thanks for answering my questions and I wish you the best of luck with this album. – Eric
Eric, thank you for not only giving our record a spin, but actually taking the time to come up with some thought-provoking questions rather than the stock “What’s your favorite color LOL.” (It’s vag wall pink.)