So i've always stated that I'm not a Prime Circle fan, but then I realise I've actually never seen them perform live, so in 2013 I figure I should give them a chance to prove me right or blow my socks off. If you're keen to join, you'll need to EFT by the due date or you can sort out your own ticket (I'll provide details of which table we're at once it's confirmed). Please note this is a new album launch, so they may not play their old favorites.
I've set the deadline for EFTs to after payday in Jan, but should ticket sales be snapped up soon, I'll need to shift it.
If you're not familiar with the Barnyard setup - please refer to their website
Prime Circle commit rock in the first degree on EVIDENCE
Very few rock groups hang around long enough to record a fifth album, but that’s ironically how long it often takes for a band to hit its straps and mature into its sound.
Nowhere is this more the case than with SA Music Award winners Prime Circle who, not content with being South Africa’s top rock act, are now determined to set the quality bar even higher with the release of their hotly anticipated new album, EVIDENCE.
This new release undoubtedly sees the band confirming their staying power in a fickle industry. But more than that, it marks a progression of their sound, and a collision of several strands of dynamic tension and creativity into a cohesive, often exhilarating whole.
More than a decade since they broke out of Witbank with a sound at once urgent and penetrating, invigorating and intense, the five-piece are gelling as a collective more than ever before – and this unity of purpose is on display on their thrilling new album.
Explains singer and principle songwriter Ross Learmonth: “This time we went into Theo [Crous]’s studio with a different approach – there had to be a unanimous vote.
“We all come from very different backgrounds and listen to different – and also similar – types of music. I always want to move on to the next thing, Marco holds on to things for longer and can appreciate them over time, Dale’s this crazy dude who just loves playing, Neil likes the colours of the music and the way it moves. And for Dirk, as an axeman, it’s all about tone for him.
“Everyone looks at the music differently, so it’s always been hard to get a unanimous vote.” But with EVIDENCE, their consensual approach meant Learmonth’s songwriting was painted with every band member’s complementary textures, tones and arrangements. The album began taking shape at Schnettler’s Bat Mountain Audio studios before the band headed to Cape Town to work with Crous on the fine-tuning.
Much of the impetus for the album can be traced back to Prime Circle’s movements since the release of Jekyll & Hyde in 2010. Acknowledged by the band as a “risky” album, it nonetheless achieved platinum status and picked up a Best English Rock Album SAMA in 2011 as well as an MK Award for Best International Breakthrough Act.
With the “risk” of this darker, less commercial album clearly having paid off, the band toured locally and also hit the road in Europe. But they came down to earth with an almost gratifying bump in Germany – playing gigs to five or 10 people and living the humble backpackers’ lifestyle will do that to you.
“It was tricky, but we proved that our zest for music was still very much alive,” says Learmonth. “We showed our true colours as a touring band, and everyone came to the party.”
They plugged on doggedly, made contacts and soon found themselves opening for 3 Doors Down and Alter Bridge on European stages. Not long after that, Prime Circle started selling out their own club shows without the aid of big-ticket drawcards.
“Being on the road in Europe and touring with great bands definitely caused us to step up our game in both the live and the writing aspects,” reflects Gomes.
“As an English rock band, we’re competing with other English rock bands. We knew we had to step up everything, and that put a lot of pressure on us in the studio. That’s why we needed all five of us to agree on each track, otherwise it wouldn’t be good enough to make the album.”
But they definitely haven’t played it safe on the album – another consequence of their exposure to the discerning and knowledgeable European market.
With a markedly rockier sensibility than usual, the album was an “emotional rollercoaster” to craft. “Lyrically, you put yourself on the chopping block and question yourself,” admits Learmonth. “It was scary at times, but we did it the way we wanted to do it. We had to relook at ourselves, dig in and reinvent ourselves musically, instead of staying stuck in a rut.”
Prime Circle is often perceived as a soft-rock or contemporary-rock band, primarily due to the album cuts generally favoured by radio stations. They hope this will change with EVIDENCE, which does feature contemplative numbers but is also more guitar-driven, with Learmonth and Bisschoff pinching, riffing and having fun playing around with different patterns. Listened to in its entirety, the album displays the multiple variations and shades of which the band is capable.
Says Learmonth: “EVIDENCE is a conscious effort for us to progress, and sometimes in order to do that you need to get rid of demons by tackling hard topics – but there are also some songs with sunny dispositions. We want to keep our fanbase but also gain new and different fans – we want Martians, too…”