• 149 WESTCHESTER AVENUE, PORT CHESTER, NY 10573-4549 · (914) 937-4126

  • January 18th, 2018

    Neal Casal is on Top of the World in This Interview

    Following their live debut in the woods at LOCKN’ Festival 2016, Circles Around The Sun is continuing their psychedelic experience this Saturday at The Cap. The quartet found their unique connection in an interesting situation related to the legendary Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead shows at Soldier Field in 2015. In preparation for their Cap debut, guitarist Neal Casal sat down with us to discuss how the band was formed and where they are looking to take it from here.

    1. For people that don’t know, when and where was Circles Around the Sun created? What was the initial spark that started the Circles Around the Sun fire?

    Circles Around The Sun came together around the Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead shows in 2015. I was asked by filmmaker Justin Kreutzmann to create a soundtrack of instrumental music to be played during the set breaks, so I formed a group comprising my CRB bandmate Adam MacDougall on keys, Mark Levy on drums, and Dan Horne on bass. We went into a studio and improvised about five hours of music in two days and it ended up working out far better than we ever could have expected. The music was only intended to be played live at those shows, we never thought it would be received so well and that it would end up being released as a record.

    2. How would you describe your sound to people that have never listened to you?

    The sound is sometimes GD inspired instrumental music, but make no mistake, we don’t play covers. It’s designed to be a tapestry behind whatever you happen to be doing that day or evening. You can pay attention to it as much or little as you like and it will still be there for you when you get back. Some of our songs are almost 20 minutes long so it’s a really patient ride. We have hints of funk, R n’ B, rock, some Krautrock and a tiny bit of country.

    3. You’ve played The Capitol Theatre several times with Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Phil Lesh & Friends. What’s it like to bring your very own project to The Cap?

    Really exciting, it’s without a doubt one of the very best venues in the world at this point. The way the place sounds, looks, and feels, is so perfectly dialed in. They’ve really thought about it and put the proper work in to make it the world class venue it is.

    4. We saw you blow minds while making your live debut in the Woods at LOCKN’ Festival in 2016, what was that experience like? Can you explain the vibe that was shared between the band and the audience?

    It was a really perfect setting for a first show. We played on this really nice stage in the woods late night and the lights and sound were really good and the audience was so supportive. We were nervous about how this music would translate from the recordings to the stage, so it was a great way to ease into it.

    5. Lastly, with The Cap being a home to the Grateful Dead during the 70s, and now a home away from home to Phil Lesh who has played 70 shows at the venue, how do you hope to sprinkle some of that Dead magic around the room when you hit the stage on January 20?

    We’ll be very lucky if we manage to harness the magic of the Dead, but we’ll certainly give it a shot. We’re just gonna show up and do our best to bring a good feeling to the room and get people dancing for the evening. That’s been the goal of this band since the beginning back in 2015.