Can you tell us about the origin of the band name, a history of the band and a little bit about the various members?
This always makes us laugh as it’s a common question… not only that, we have to use Matt’s answer as the name was set in stone before we all joined! Matt always says there’s a long and short answer to this… but honestly… they have the same answer: the “66” comes from Route 66, in the early days (and you can hear on our EP “Showtime” there was a lot of southern-rock influence, so they liked the idea of using the number…. The “Circus” is because he liked the word…. yep… I think it was more because just being called “66” may have been a bit odd, but he wanted 69 originally 😉
Are you all from the same area? How did you get together as a band?
Well, we are from around the South East of England, hailing from Farnborough, Maidenhead and sunny High Wycombe!
we all met at different times really, but the gist of it IS, we all met through Matt (guitar) – the band started as a “uni side-project” roughly 9 years ago and has morphed into something a bit more serious these days. I joined in 2016 when Matt started looking for a new lead vocalist. (Believe it or not, he was initially planning to get a guy to sing) but fate had it that my vocals brought something new to the table and history was made from there.
Leigh (drums) has been away from the music scene a few years and joined what his wife calls “tinder for bands” ha! He set up a profile and it was the next day he received a message from Matt wanting to hook up for a jam (no drinks were bought for bribing purposes) it all went from there really. Similar story with Mustard (bass), although he probably has a far less elaborate weird cult recruitment version, he just turned up to one of our rehearsals and haven’t left since!
Who are your favourite artists/bands and how have they influenced your own sound?
Matt – Guns ‘n’ Roses.
Luke – Incubus
Leigh – Clutch
Annabelle – The Pretty Reckless
We all have our own influences, but it never hinders the writing process. It seems to work in our favour to have such diverse backgrounds at our disposal. We all enjoy putting our heads together and making the new sound exceed what we previously wrote every time. We never force anything, and all of us are really creative with tons of ideas ready for working into something when we get in the studio.
We’re a big old mashup of influences, Leigh isn’t actually into a lot of what the rest of us listen to… it’s a bit like the 50/50, half and half pizzas you can order… it’s best described like getting a pepperoni on your vegan slice ha! So he brings a lot of the heavy influence as opposed to the classic rock stuff, and the rest of us bring out a lot of classic rock influence too… promoters never know whether to put us on a metal or rock line-up, it’s hilarious… so really, you’re not sure whether you’re actually a vegan or you’re just dipping your toe in and trying something new. Right, we talked about pizza for far too long, but in a nutshell, a mash up of a classic rock sound with some serious girth.
Matt (Guitar) – “Guns ‘n’ Roses, Extreme, Bon Jovi & Queen – The ferocious guitar work and amazing song writing you’re presented with by these bands is phenomenal. Discovering these bands changed my life (and subsequently keeps my bank balance low……I have a guitar habit)”
Luke (Bass) – “Incubus, Extreme, Queen and Jamiroquai – on the face of it an eclectic mix, but these bands are the reasons I picked up a bass in the first place. All of them have frighteningly good musicianship across the board, and represent some of the best live shows i’ve ever seen.”
Leigh – “As a drummer, it’s expected that you reel off your “top 10 all time drummers” that influenced your playing, so I like to answer about my general music influences to be honest, no one famous influenced me to pick up the sticks! Musically and creatively it probably stems back to when I was a kid, my Dads a guitar and keys player so he’d teach me songs and show me music etc, that’s where it started. From there I listened to what he loved growing up, Bowie, Deep Purple, Queen etc, then as I went through my teens and college years, I was in to loads of mixed punk-rock/Nu-metal genres so Blink, Rammstein, Soilwork, Clutch, Slipknot, Korn, Bizkit, Papa Roach etc… that my era though and I loved it all and I’m notoriously known for still cranking “Chocolate Starfish” at any given opportunity!! It’s never nostalgia if you play it every day!”
Did you always have the ambition to be a musician and in a band or did you originally have other plans?
Honestly, music has always been a huge part of our lives, and we all did start with a dream to be able to create something that can live through time and bring smiles to everyone out there. It’s a bold statement, but that what we want to do… we want to leave a mark of our own in musical history, and even if it’s as small as putting a few of our fans in a good mood at the start of their day or as big as making a difference in someone’s life, then its win for us.
We all of course have our own full-time jobs that keep us busy during the week, but the band is where our hearts truly lie.
What songs or albums are on your current playlist?
I think that differs for all of us, just like our influences, the list is vast. But we do love checking out new bands out there that release their music out into the world… we tend to look for inspiration wherever we can find it, but most importantly in the process, we also support our fellow musicians who have worked their butts off on their releases, and ultimately, that’s what is always important.
Do you sing in the shower?
Oh absolutely!!! I’m pretty sure it is everyone’s guilty pleasure, where you can be the star of your own show at the comfort of your bathroom.
Do you have any plans for the band for this year and into next year?
Of course! We are in the process of recording and finishing writing the rest of album number 2. For that of course, we will require help from our fans as we will be launching the Crowdfunder page where people can donate towards our 2nd album, and as a reward for the love and support, we will have all kinds of packages and goodies available as a thank you to everyone who donates and helps us ultimately to achieve this dream. We understand that it’s been a tough time for everyone, and we want nothing more than to bring some positivity back into the works and along with it some kick ass riffs! 2023 is looking to be a busy year with a lot of big shows lined up such as SOS festival, Call of The Wild 2023 and Legends of Rock festival as well as Dementia Fest 2023. So get your tickets and come hang out with us after the set!!!
Do you currently have any new songs/albums ready to be released?
Hell to the yeah! Our newest single from the upcoming album is out on 25th November 2022 and will be backed by a video release on 27th November. The single is called ‘A Little Piece of Magic’ and the track is a first introduction to what we have been working on for months. The second album is all about bringing back the hope and the positivity into the world which barely began to normalise, and this is what we want our music to do… heal and bring light and hope to the current doom and gloom that still lurks around out there. The single we are releasing does exactly that, it’s the reminder that all of us have a little piece of magic within us to take the first step and ‘be the change’
If you could play at any venue in the world, where would you choose?
Truly a good question… we all have a dream venue, but we would all agree that O2 Kentish town, Madison Square Garden or UK’s KK Steel Mill would be awesome! (Technically we played at steel mill when we recorded our live video for the debut album ‘Follow The Black Crow’
Do you have a favourite album? If so, what is it?
We don’t have a favourite album per se, but all of us have an album each of us lean towards, like Matt (guitarist) loves GnR’s ‘Use Your Illusion II’ and Leigh is absolutely crazy for Clutch, Mustard is all about Incubus original releases… Me, (Annabelle, vocals) I love all of the music I listen to, therefore its extremely hard to choose just the one…
Do you have any guilty pleasure songs/albums?
I don’t know about the others, but my (Annabelle, vocals) guilty pleasure is Elton John’s ‘Saturday Nights Alright’ (For Fighting), any Queen tracks and rarest of the all but I can deny it… Country Rock
If you were putting together the greatest show on earth, who would be playing?
That is something that we would put to a vote, as all of us have our own idea of what the perfect line up should be, the answers may vary… but to answer your question, I imagine all of us would choose one of our favourite bands together and play a massive festival type of gig with them ha-ha! Circus 66 would totally be included in that line up!
Can you remember the first album you bought with your own money? What was it and do you still have it?
Annabelle – first album I have ever bought was a vinyl record of AC/DC Back In Black always been a massive fan of these guys since I can remember. However my first cassette tape I got, is something my mum bought me… now don’t judge… its Spice Girls – Spice Up Your Life… but rock and roll won my heart over! Yes I still have both till this very day.
Matt – First album I ever bought with my own money was the Wayne’s World movie soundtrack – I discovered a lot of great bands from that soundtrack. Still have it
Leigh – SOAD Toxicity Album 2001 unfortunately this CD is long gone… got slipped in one of them CD wallets and went walkies.
Luke – Performance and Cocktails by The Stereophonics bought in 1999. First CD I ever bought aged 14. Before that it was tapes and bootlegs I would nick of my dad!
As your fans will be reading this, is there any message you would like to send out to them?
From all of us at Circus 66, we want to say a massive thank you for the love and support that our fans continuously provide us with. We hope that the next album will reflect us stepping up and bringing more heat, groove, and cracking riffs to the table… but most importantly we want you all to remember to always kick ass, keep fighting and never forget that each and every one of you holds a little piece of magic inside.
Finally, let us know all your social media sites so your fans, old and new, can find and follow/like you!
We, at The Metal Asylum, would like to thank you for your time. Is there is anything further that you would like to add?
Bring on 2023, because its going to be a hell of a ride!!! See you on the road folks!
This interview is purely the property of The Metal Asylum