INTERVIEW: Line & Circle


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 PHOTO CREDIT: Courthey Halverson  

Line & Circle


THINGS are rather eventful and fraught…


in L.A. right now – it is understandable the guys of Line & Circle have had a busy and unpredictable time of things. I speak to them about the wildfires in California and how they have been; how the band all got together and the type of music that compels them; what they are planning for Christmas; some new acts to recommend – and advice for new artists.

I ask them about their new E.P., Vicious Folly, and the themes/stories that go into them; what it was like to record and how it feels getting such a positive reaction – and whether there is going to be any more material coming next year.


Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Nice to meet you, Sam. Our new record just came out so it’s been busy here (but fun and exciting). Our release show is tonight - which we’re looking forward to. We’re playing at a new venue called Basic Flowers in downtown Los Angeles (which sort of feels like an after-hours art museum with a bar).

For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?

Line & Circle officially began with the release of our first 7” Roman Ruins on the White Iris label (based in Los Angeles). That led to our first tours across the States; which we used to develop songs for our debut, self-titled E.P. and our first full-length called Split Figure. Now, this new E.P., Vicious Folly, has just arrived - which we finished earlier this year up at The National’s new studio in Hudson, New York. 

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Courthey Halverson  

I believe you started life in Ohio – but have moved to L.A. What was the decision to move from Ohio? What is the music scene like where you are?

I still love Ohio and return frequently but change can be good - especially when you are seeking artistic inspiration from your environment and to be challenged by new circumstances. I had been coming to Los Angeles on-and-off before moving here - and good things kept happening whenever I visited. So I stayed. Maybe there is a music scene here, currently, but we don’t feel particularly attached to it...

Despite that, the friendships and creative partnerships we’ve formed here are deeply fulfilling and have made our work better.

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How did you all find one another way back? Did you start recording music soon after meeting?

Good people beget good people, I like to think.

We all met through family and friends and got to working together very quickly thereafter. Finding others to be creative with can be tricky but, when you’re lucky enough to meet people you can speak a similar or complementary language with, you’re off and running. 

Vicious Folly is your new E.P. I like the contradictory title. What is the meaning behind the title?

The title-track of the E.P. was sort of born by attempting to process the events of the past couple years. I got curious about similar periods in history, where it felt like society was betraying its best values. The trial and death of Socrates came to mind: when a society was so shaken by its fall from grace that it turned on its own greatest thinker; blamed him for its decline and then killed him.

This became a bigger theme for the song, the video and the whole record — how our painful struggle for advancement can sometimes lead people to violent actions they might not have otherwise considered.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Issue Magazine

What sort of themes and subjects inspired the E.P.’s creation?

The record sort of explores this belief the Romans had centuries ago: Homo homini lupus — man is a wolf to (his fellow) man. So, each song kind of ponders this idea that man himself is his own greatest threat. Man Uncouth describes this in the context of a romantic relationship; Who Runs Wild in the context of a mother-daughter conflict and Mid Bloom takes a more optimistic view – that, despite the dark turn of recent events, there is always hope real societal good can eventually spring forth as a result. Man can be a wolf to man - but he is also the only one who can save him.

The album-art became helpful in tying this all together as well. The images come from Peter Flötner's hand-painted playing cards from 16th century Germany. He used the imagery to sort of call out the perceived greed, gluttony and folly of his time. It felt so oddly modern discovering these in 2017 which, for better or worse, is a testament to some of the more enduring aspects of human behavior. Hopefully, in another five centuries, things will be…different?

Your music has garnered positive reaction from the likes of Rolling Stone. Does it provide you energy and inspiration receiving that kind of backing?!

Whenever anyone connects with our music; it feels wonderful. We’ve been getting more personal notes from people this time around, too - which makes me feel like we’re doing something right. That is inspiring. To be able to offer something up that a listener can actually internalize and complete the loop, so to speak, is crucial.

When it’s a positive reaction, all the better.

Tell me about the songs and artists you all grew up on. Which artists did you idolise when you were young?

There was a fair amount of Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Diamond in my parents’ cars growing up - which I feel lucky to have absorbed because the quality of that song-craft is superb and timeless. There was a Guns N’ Roses phase very early on: I would draw pictures of them. Oasis was totally enthralling as well - which later became a gateway for lots of the usual seminal English Rock bands (which I still hold dear; like The Smiths).  

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I have seen the images of Californian wildfires! Have you guys been caught up in it?! What has been your reaction to it?

We’ve been fortunate that they haven’t impacted us directly…but the damage has been severe and this is incredibly sad. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed; many animals have been trapped - it’s really awful. This is the latest the fire season has lasted, maybe ever; which certainly hasn’t been helped by the drought and whatever influence climate change is having. That the city is, literally, on fire is, of course, an on-the-nose metaphor for much of 2017 in general...

Thankfully, the year is coming to an end - and, hopefully, the fires will, too.



Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?

I’m fond of the band Omni (from Atlanta) - who put out a great record this year. 

Is there any advice you would give to artists coming through right now?

I’m not sure we’re the ones to ask but I think all you can do is work as hard as possible - and continue passionately making things for as long as you can. Do as much as you can yourself and don’t wait for anyone to make something happen for you. 


PHOTO CREDIT: Issue Magazine

Can we see you perform anywhere soon? Will you come to the U.K.?

We have more West Coast stuff coming in the New Year. We would love to come to the U.K. under any circumstances — hopefully, very soon.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Issue Magazine

Christmas is not too far away. Do you all have plans already - or will you be busy working?

Working on new songs - but there may be some latkes and a hot chocolate or two in the near-future. L.A. is typically nice this time of year because the city gets very quiet and the streets become empty…but it’s still kinda beautiful and warm.

What do you have planned for next year? Will there be more material?

I was just sifting through all of our new demos and there is already more new stuff than we can use for the next record. I’m going to finish writing a few more this month and then the plan is to get back in the studio sometime in February.

In the meantime; we’ll keep playing shows in support of the new E.P.

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Since it is winter-time (even in L.A.)...

Sixty Degrees Below by Love Tractor (Brian)

Autodidact by Swervedriver (Eric)

Fortune by Dead Can Dance (Jon)

Take a Chance With Me by Roxy Music (Garrett)


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