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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake band The Circulars will soon be recording a new album with almost entirely new band members, as well as a different sound.
The group is fronted by Sam Burton, who writes all of the songs, and sings and plays guitar. He began the project a few years ago with friend and former band member Maxwell Ijams, who played the keyboard. The two started playing around with drum machines and synthesizers and soon found their washy shoegaze feel.
“If you think of the music as a painting, I wanted this really sort of smeared type sound that still had pop undertones,” Burton said. “I wanted a total blend in the music.”
The Circulars recorded two albums playing this rich and atmospheric music, releasing its second album last June. Since that time, Burton has sought to change the feel of the music and to explore new grounds in his songwriting.
“You have to keep changing. For some artists they change lyrical content, and I usually just change form,” Burton said. “ The shoegaze sound is definitely still there — I kind of can’t get away from it — but I wanted to make the songs more precise and pronounced.”
The change in music, compiled with former band members moving away or playing in other bands, caused a significant change to happen in the band line-up. The new members include David Williams on bass, Jacob Hall on drums, Christian Claflin on keys and Brent Dreiling on pedal steel guitar.
When Burton brings his songs to the band, he typically has them fairly fleshed out with a certain mood or tone he is attempting, but from there the different members of the band each offer their unique talents and songwriting abilities. Because of this, the change in the band members has also become a major element in the new direction of the music.
Burton grew up in Farr West, Utah, before moving to Salt Lake City in high school. He said growing up in a small town had a strong effect on him as a songwriter and person.
“You experience some solitude there, you experience an emotional solitude,” Burton said. “I started to look to music in order to express that. I didn’t think I actually knew what I was doing at the time, but now it makes a lot of sense.”
To express himself, he started writing songs the same time he began learning guitar, and that ability to express himself through music in a variety of ways is still what drives him to continue to change his music and seek different areas of exploration.
The Circulars will begin recording its new record sometime around next month. It will be playing a show May 2 at the Rose Establishment. You can listen to its music on bandcamp.com.
Brock Allen is a Montanan and a communications student at Brigham Young University-Idaho. Formerly a KSL.com intern, he regularly contributes as a music writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.