July 01, 2002

Nathan Burke - The Out_Circuit
Interview composed by Stu Hood - July 2002

First off, I guess maybe let us know how the new project came about. Were you still playing with Frodus when The Out_Circuit started?

The Out_Circuit started in the summer of 2000, about six months after Frodus broke up. It was around that time that Andy Gale, drummer and old friend, returned from a year in Scotland and we decided to get this thing going. I had been working on some of the songs long before that... a couple were actually demoed by me as possibilities for "And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea" but never panned out.

I notice similarities in musical atmosphere that The Out_Circuit creates compared to Frodus' latest album. Do you find that you carried a lot of influences from your former band into this new one?

Being in Frodus taught me a lot about being more punctual in music, if you get me. I still like music with subtlety and atmosphere, but accented with a kind of punk rock smarts and song structure... not wandering in self-indulgent space jams and other such nonsense. For me this band is the logical continuation of the last Frodus album, though it might not be as obvious sonically. Its also probably due somewhat to the fact that I had a much stronger writing presence on the last Frodus record. I wanted to take some of those ideas further.

So you guys just released a demo with hopes to find a label... has anything turned up so far?

It's been rough, but in part because we've only just started playing live last march. I did most of the instruments (aside from drums) on the record myself, so we put a band together after that was finished, which has its pros and cons. It took a while to find the right people, but the guys in it now are fantastic. I couldn't be happier... it's a thrill to be in a real band again. People seem to be very into the record... everyone but labels. But when it rains it usually pours.

How would you define the influences you and your band mates hold that make up the sound of The Out_Circuit.

I think everyone brings a different perspective into it, especially now with the five of us. I'm not sure where a lot of it comes from; I know I've been trying to diversify what I listen to in order to keep my writing from being stagnant. I think that helps the bands own sound to develop. My goal is to make music that seems reminiscent or familiar to the listener, but never in a specific way. Not so much, "They sound like x band", but rather "They sound like x mood...or x memory". My favourite tracks on the record are the ones that ride the line between tones or moods, that hard to define space in between. I find that subtle area to be most rewarding. I'm very curious to see how the new songs come together with the new members and dynamics.

Where did the name of the band come from?

I like the idea of abstract action. I think I was influenced by a lot of Felt album titles like "Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death" or "Ignite the Seven Cannons". Those are way over the top, but I like that idea of that action which makes the audience fill in the gaps as to what it might mean. Thus came the Frodus title "Out-Circuit the Ending". At the time I saw it as meaning attempting to subvert fate, or change something, and since the world is so technological now it's almost as if trying to do this on a computer or maybe even trying to undo the computer itself and get back to reality. I liked that my perspective on what the title meant changed and I thought that seemed appropriate for a band name. I want to be understood. It's not my intention to make things difficult or shake people off, but what in life is black or white? Bad or cheesy music seems that way because it expresses an emotion that doesn't reflect any kind of reality. Love songs that assure the woman that he will "never make her cry"...which is complete crap, because if you are in love with someone you are guaranteed to make each other cry...par for course. It's the fact that your commitment is beyond romance, tears, good feelings, or drama that makes it love. How's that for a rant? Don't get me started.

Besides The Out Circuit and Frodus, what other projects have you been involved with? I was in a band called Real Cool Rain before Frodus. It's much more similar in sound to The Out_Circuit, but a bit less punchy. More of that wandering and vague experimentalism that sometimes produced gems, but could tend to be long-winded and self-indulgent. We put out two records (which are probably impossible to find now) and played a handful of shows. It really wasn't a functioning band, mostly a studio thing. So when the chance came to join Frodus, I jumped on it. I was also slated to play in a band from Glasgow called Ganger. Its a long story, but I went over an rehearsed with them for a US tour with Mogwai and bailed for personal and professional reasons. I did end up playing on a song on their last ep, but missed doing the tour. It turned out OK because we (Frodus) used that time to write and record our last record...so no regrets.

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