1. Stuck In The Middle Circle the Earth 3:34
  2. Maniac on Mute Circle the Earth 2:35
  3. Dead Remix Circle The Earth 2:33
  4. Pick Your Poison REMIX Circle The Earth 3:08
  5. New Religion REMIX Circle The Earth 3 minutes
  6. Hey Goodbye Circle The Earth 3:05
  7. Too Many Pieces Circle the Earth 3:50
  8. The Other Side Circle The Earth 4:06
  9. New Religion Circle The Earth 3:30
  10. Sweetest Pain Circle The Earth 3:31
  11. Dead Circle The Earth 2:37
  12. Diamonds Circle The Earth 3:43
  13. All The Way Circle The Earth 3:29
  14. Could Be You Circle The Earth 3:21
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Interview

The multigenre quintet discusses their latest EP ‘Hey, Goodbye’ and how their unique backgrounds give them a musical advantage.
Circle The Earth is a combination of will, timing, and a little bit of luck.

 

Circle The Earth is a combination of will, timing, and a little bit of luck.

The quintet of lead vocalist Khadia, guitarist Kazuki Tokaji, bassist Michael McBay, keyboardist Sandy Chao Wang and drummer Sandro Feliciano uprooted from their native towns and countries to convene in Los Angeles, unknowingly foraging a musical partnership years after their arrival.

The band looks as different from each other as their sound does to your typical indie soul-infused rock band. Chao Wang, a native of Taiwan, says she was introduced to music early on as a method of expanding her mind and keeping her out of trouble.

“Growing up, there’s access to music because parents want their kids to do music,” she told BET during a recent interview. “I remember taking group piano lessons and I just always knew how to read music, I was in concert bands, marching bands, and once I moved here [at age 10], I’ve just always had that interest in music.

“Moving to America opened that door for me just in terms of I have so much more time to learn and practice and like it because the educational system in Taiwan is pretty strict,” she continues. “I decided to study music and moved out to Hollywood and kind of took off on there. I just wanted to learn, it was never really like I want to be on stage. I want to do all that but was more like I just wanted to learn and get better and that kind of led me to where I am.”

For bassist McBay, the group’s eldest member, his music history helps guide the band – almost as a father figure; however, the possibility of even participating in such didn’t come without its own personal trials and tribulations. A former addict, McBay has been clean from drugs and alcohol for 12 years now, which he says allows him to be honest in life and the music he creates.

“Being in recovery for a long time, the whole point is openness and drug addiction is all about medicating secrets and hiding pain and medicating pain,” he explains. “So the whole basis for recovering from drugs and from any addiction is expressing and revealing vulnerability, opening up about what’s wrong, telling people what the problems are, and what the pain is about and sharing it – and then being open to let the healing happen.

“Spirituality, God, whatever you want to call it comes in and heals those things and allows you to express your life more freely and stop hiding and stop medicating,” he adds. “That carries over to the music.”

Roughly a decade ago, McBay played the role of Circle The Earth’s founder, meeting the Brazilian-born Feliciano, who also grew up in a musical family and began playing percussion as a teenager. As an adult, he began playing gigs in cover bands and played rock and Brazilian music with friends before moving to California to attend the Los Angeles College of Music. It was around then that he met McBay and they met lead singer Khadia.

“After a few years of performing, everybody [I knew] kind of just scattered and started doing their own thing, finding other ways to make money so it just went to the wayside for a little bit but then I was introduced to Michael and it was just like the manifestation of coming back full circle,” she explains. “Michael had started this group and it was 100 percent my dream come true once again. So I was like, Yeah, this is definitely supposed to be it.”

The final piece of the quintet hails all the way from Japan, lead guitarist Kazuki Tokaji who has quite an impressive musical portfolio at such a young age. He started playing guitar when he was 7 years old, and drums at age 10. He graduated from the prestigious Musicians Institute in 2018 and has performed with many talented artists including Grammy-award winner Steve Vai Marty Friedman of Megadeth. Tokaji has also helped write and produce several of the band’s songs.

According to Tokaji the group’s differences not only in culture but background in music is what sets them apart from other bands. “We are all professionals (of different music genres). We all grew up in different states and different countries and we all have different (music) backgrounds. Some of us grew up with (and were influenced by) either Jazz, or R&B, or even Funk, and I grew up with Heavy Metal.”

Put it all together, Circle The Earth combines rock, pop, soul, hip-hop, and even emo music; however, most of their music has typically been heard during shows rather than through streaming. That, though, is about to change.

In early March, after dropping loose singles here and there, the group released their debut EP Hey, Goodbye, which they still wanted to make sound as though fans were hearing it in a venue capacity. That includes the project’s title track, one of their most popular.

“We started really developing it to make it sound live, so that it’s bigger than just a song [or album],” Khadia, a native of Silver Springs, Maryland, explains. “It’s interactive with the audience and I think for the most part, that might be one of our bigger songs because the audience gets to participate and it’s super exciting. We get really great response from that.”

The band says they continue to strive to create music that leaves good vibes in its wake while making the world a better place. On songs like “New Religion” and “Pick Your Poison,” Circle The Earth rebels against simply following the status quo or the pressures of simply getting through everyday life – and that’s relatable to nearly everyone, regardless of where they’re from.

It’s their bond, shared love of music, and companionship that made their varying backgrounds not only easily come together but a source of better understanding of each other and their overall mission.

“There’s a commonality between everybody in this band,” Khadia notes. “The commonality is everyone in our band, we’re like the first and maybe only musicians in our family. My parents come from a science background – they don’t know anything about music. I think that’s really cool that we made it from all over the corners of the Earth here, so confident in our ability, and we didn’t even have that type of structure or family lineage that did the same to kind of tell us what to do. We figured it out. We followed our spirit and it brought us together. It’s amazing to me.”

Listen to Circle The Earth’s EP Hey, Goodbye below.

Source: BET.com

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Exclusive Interview: Circle The Earth Spill All The Details On Their Debut EP And Their Musical Mission

Circle The Earth have come out swinging with their debut EP, Hey Goodbye. It’s a release that’s packed with rocking tunes, pride, and growth. The EP celebrates the diversity of the human existence. It may sound like something that would be hard to wrap up in one EP, but that is simply who Circle The Earth are, and they have executed it perfectly.

Circle The Earth have delivered a mature body of work that reflects each member’s personality, drive, and years of dedication to their craft. We know if you’re like us, you’ll want to dive into the Circle The Earth universe and get to know them better, so if you’re asking, “Who is Circle The Earth?” Well, we’ve got you covered!

Meet The Band

Lead singer Khadia is a pro vocalist who has worked with artists such as Imagine Dragons, Janelle Monae, and Prince. That’s right, the Prince. Her vocal quality floored us on the first listen. Her tone and ability to perform with power and nuanced vocals are on a level that very few performers manage to achieve. She is joined by founding member Michael McBay, who is laying down some major bass on the record.

They’re also rounded out by Brazilian drummer Sandro Feliciano. Plus, Kazuki Tokaji is an incredible songwriter and guitarist hailing from Japan as well as Taiwanese keyboardist Sandy Chao Wang. Each of these incredibly skilled artists has come together to make magic in the form of Circle The Earth. We think they’re onto a winning format with this insanely talented lineup!

Hey Goodbye is one of our favorite releases so far this year, and if this is what the band offers as a first taste of Circle The Earth, we know it won’t be long until they’re taking the world by storm. But don’t just take our word for how cool they are! We got to chat with the band about their EP, background, and what’s to come in the future.

Congrats on the release of ‘Hey Goodbye!’ The song has such a powerful energy to it. What drew you to this as the title track for your EP?
[With] the high energy and feel-good nature of this song, we thought it would be a good fit to start out our schedule of activities for the new year of 2023. It’s also a return to one of our main songwriting collaborators Adrian Jones.

The music video is full of personality and very stylish, we must say! Where do you draw inspiration from with the visuals for the band?
The younger members of the band, especially Sandy (keys) and Kazuki (guitar), have a very “current” fashion sense. Frontwoman Khadia is a seasoned professional who takes great care and professional guidance when putting her look together. For this advice, we use our longtime wardrobe advisor Bryan Rone.

Something you pride yourself on within the band is your diverse background and multicultural identity, which we absolutely love. How do you think this has influenced you as a band, both in musicality and the connection between yourselves?
Specifically, because of our diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, we share a common hard work ethic and a very serious attitude toward the project and our careers in general. We also have a special sensitivity toward, and respect for, each other’s feelings because all of us have faced the challenges of racism, cultural and social exclusion, and issues of acceptance and rejection in our lives, and these common issues bind us together like a family. Musically we all share a common love for energetic and passionate music with a positive message within a pop/rock format, and within that common framework, we each approach music from a slightly different angle that make[s] the songs interesting and memorable at the same time.

Speaking of connections, you have established such a passionate fanbase with 22k subscribers on YouTube alone and multiple music videos reaching the million mark. What is it like to have such a strong community and support before you’ve even released your debut EP?
We have worked really, really hard and sacrificed a LOT to get to where we are, and the positive reinforcement from our fans is really motivating us to continue to grow and improve.

How involved in songwriting is everyone in the band? Do you all get stuck in, or are there the group songwriters?
We almost always collaborate with outside songwriters to keep our music as fresh and relevant as possible and also to ensure that the songs are as well-crafted as possible. Most often, our guitarist Kazuki has a writing session with songwriter/producer Jim McGorman (Goo Goo Dolls/Avril Lavigne/Gwen Stefani) on the framework of new material, which the band then completely twists to our own style. Khadia makes very important adjustments to the vocal lines and melodies and often adds exciting rap sections. Occasionally, as is the case with ‘Hey Goodbye,’ the song is entirely written for us by an outside songwriter, and then we adapt/twist the song into our style and unique interpretation.

What is the energy like going into the studio as a band? Any fun creative processes or rituals to get the creative juices flowing?
Going into the studio is a very serious endeavor for us, and we leave very little to chance. Usually, all the parts are very well-rehearsed, and everyone already knows exactly how and what they are going to play. Our drummer Sandro is a highly experienced studio musician who invariably lays the drum tracks in 1 or 2 takes MAX, and we always enjoy the pleasant disbelief of the studio producers and engineers when they see how efficient and well-planned this recording process is for us. More recently, working with rock producer Ethan Kaufman, we have begun to experiment with recording the songs with a less fixed and pre-arranged approach, and this, too, has yielded some excellent results although we would say that this more flexible approach is still new to us.

Is there a song on the EP that stands out and embodies Circle The Earth as a band?
All of the songs on the EP are strong representations of Circle The Earth, and it would be hard to pick one. ‘Sweetest Pain’ is strong, emotional, and rocking with great lead vocals and guitar solo, ‘Dead’ features Khadia rapping in a rock framework as well as a fabulous vocal delivery, and ‘Too Many Pieces’ features a synth solo from Sandy leading into a guitar solo from Kazuki and the rhythm section kills it on all of these songs. ‘Diamonds’ really seems to connect with the audience very strongly in a live situation, and we can all literally feel the crowd connecting with us as we perform this song in concert.

How involved in songwriting is everyone in the band? Do you all get stuck in, or are there the group songwriters?
We almost always collaborate with outside songwriters to keep our music as fresh and relevant as possible and also to ensure that the songs are as well-crafted as possible. Most often, our guitarist Kazuki has a writing session with songwriter/producer Jim McGorman (Goo Goo Dolls/Avril Lavigne/Gwen Stefani) on the framework of new material, which the band then completely twists to our own style. Khadia makes very important adjustments to the vocal lines and melodies and often adds exciting rap sections. Occasionally, as is the case with ‘Hey Goodbye,’ the song is entirely written for us by an outside songwriter, and then we adapt/twist the song into our style and unique interpretation.

What is the energy like going into the studio as a band? Any fun creative processes or rituals to get the creative juices flowing?
Going into the studio is a very serious endeavor for us, and we leave very little to chance. Usually, all the parts are very well-rehearsed, and everyone already knows exactly how and what they are going to play. Our drummer Sandro is a highly experienced studio musician who invariably lays the drum tracks in 1 or 2 takes MAX, and we always enjoy the pleasant disbelief of the studio producers and engineers when they see how efficient and well-planned this recording process is for us. More recently, working with rock producer Ethan Kaufman, we have begun to experiment with recording the songs with a less fixed and pre-arranged approach, and this, too, has yielded some excellent results although we would say that this more flexible approach is still new to us.

Is there a song on the EP that stands out and embodies Circle The Earth as a band?
All of the songs on the EP are strong representations of Circle The Earth, and it would be hard to pick one. ‘Sweetest Pain’ is strong, emotional, and rocking with great lead vocals and guitar solo, ‘Dead’ features Khadia rapping in a rock framework as well as a fabulous vocal delivery, and ‘Too Many Pieces’ features a synth solo from Sandy leading into a guitar solo from Kazuki and the rhythm section kills it on all of these songs. ‘Diamonds’ really seems to connect with the audience very strongly in a live situation, and we can all literally feel the crowd connecting with us as we perform this song in concert.

We’ve got to say ‘Hey Goodbye’ would be a 10/10 song to crowd surf to. Are there any upcoming tour dates where we can see you rocking it live?
We do currently have some shows in Southern California booked coming up: April 15 at The Stages Club in Orange County, April 19 at Long Beach State University, May 26 at Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, CA, and June 3 at Yost Theater in Orange County.

Do you have any big goals for 2023 that you’d love to accomplish as a band?
Our biggest goals for 2023 include a guest appearance on a TV talk show, new song collaborations with bigger songwriters, opening for national touring acts, festival appearances, and signing with an indie record label.

A Final Message From The Band!

We would like to conclude by thanking The Honey Pop for this interview and the opportunity to express our message of ethnic diversity, cultural inclusion, positivity, and spirituality. LET’S ROCK!!

We love you guys! Thank you for the messages and the music you’re putting out into the world! Make sure you guys keep up with Circle The Earth and stream their debut EP, Hey Goodbyehere!


Source:
thehoneypop.com

94
A Dirty Dozen with MICHAEL McBAY from CIRCLE THE EARTH

According to a recent press release: “It’s impossible to pigeonhole the sound of Circle The Earth. With a lineup featuring members from across the U.S., Taiwan, Brazil, and Japan, all of whom bring extensive professional experience to their music, the independent band craft a seamless combination of rock, pop, soul, hip-hop, and even emo. In addition to Khadia (a former background singer for Imagine Dragons, American Idol, and The American Music Awards who has also performed on gigs with Mya, Janelle Monae and Prince) and Tokaji (who was born in Japan and began playing guitar at age 7), the five-piece is rounded out by founding member, bassist and Atlanta native Michael McBay, Brazilian-born drummer Sandro Feliciano (who has toured with Ms. Lauryn Hill and Teena Marie) and keyboardist/music director Sandy Chao Wang, who grew up in Taiwan. Circle The Earth coalesced over the course of several years, first formed in 2018, driven by the vision of McBay and an overall message of bringing people hope, love and truth in a world that can feel maddening and hateful at times. They strive to produce music as positive and uplifting as possible, with messages of unity and inclusion that emphasizes the beauty of diversity and leaves good vibes in its wake. The band officially debuted in 2020 with their single “Could Be You” and have since released “Dead,” “All The Way,” and “Diamonds,” amassing over 2 million views on their official YouTube channel and nearly 750K streams on Spotify. Circle The Earth has also graced the stages of such famed LA venues including The Viper Room, Whisky a Go Go and The Mint as well as a performance at NAMM, building quite the reputation for their explosive live show. “Sweetest Pain” marks the band’s first release of many for Circle The Earth this year.” We get singer bassist Michael to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

On first listen of our new single “Too Many Pieces,” the overall excellent vocal delivery, song arrangement, catchy chorus, and engaging instrumental solos, I believe, are what strike the casual listener first. Then, after several listens and more careful analysis, the diehard fan will appreciate the stellar production value of Ethan Kaufmann, including the excellent blending of the vocal harmonies and the powerful delivery of the rhythm section as well as the musicality of the way Sandy’s keyboard solo segues into Kazuki’s guitar solo and the subtle atmospheric background sounds as well as the obvious strength of Jim McGorman & Kazuki Tokaji’s collaborative songwriting ability.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I was first introduced to music when the kids in my neighborhood all got instruments and started a band. I thought bass would be the easiest instrument to learn on my own since it only had 4 strings. I was introduced to the music of Sly & The Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix and Chicago, then the very first time I heard the music of Yes my soul literally came alive and I have been inspired to make music with beauty, harmony, integrity, intensity and a positive message ever since.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I am personally influenced by the excellent songwriting and underlying message of unity of the music of Sly & The Family Stone, Simon & Garfunkel, and any and all of the music of Yes – the tangible spirituality and power of their live concerts and the quality of people that attended them as well as the inspiring level of musicianship, songwriting and positive uplifting message of their music.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Any of the classic songwriters like Desmond Child, Dianne Warren, Jack Antonoff. But we are very happy working with Jim McGorman (Goo Goo Dolls / Gwen Stefani / Avril Lavigne) and we continue to collaborate with him very successfully.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Sandy (keys) and Mike (bass) practice martial arts quite seriously 6 days/week. Khadia (vocals) takes boxing lessons. Sandro (drums) is an amazing cook. Kazuki (guitar) practices guitar relentlessly and often unwinds with online video games.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

The music of Circle The Earth is commercial melodic pop-rock with an “edge” that features excellent vocals, quality songwriting, strong instrumental delivery, and an underlying positive uplifting message. I have actually heard Circle The Earth compared to Mötley Crüe once which I found quite surprising and initially disagreed with, but Mötley Crüe is a great band with great energy so I’m ok with it.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Generally, either Sandy or Sandro or our manager (Johnny Miller) cook at our gatherings and they are all excellent cooks. Kazuki invariably plays acoustic guitar.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Kazuki has actually shared the stage with Steve Vai (the leading virtuoso electric rock guitarist in the world). Khadia has worked with Prince, Imagine Dragons and Kanye West. For me, personally, meeting Yes was a wonderful experience.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

One of the best parts of being a musician for me, personally, is hearing a new composition fully recorded and mixed for the first time as well as the feedback from the audience when delivering a new composition live in concert for the first time. Other than being a musician, my dream job is being a medical doctor.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

“What about God?” is the one question I have always wanted to be asked by an interviewer. My answer would be that, “All true religions and spiritual paths lead to the same loving God and not one Soul will be lost.” Honestly, being interviewed about the music and message of Circle The Earth is an honor and a privilege that we have all worked and sacrificed tirelessly for, for many many, many years. There are no questions that we are tired of answering – each question is a blessing and an affirmation of all the hard work and sacrifice that all of us have put in together.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Personally, my 20 years of addiction to crack were a great mistake, however the process of recovery from that (I am well over 12 years sober now) has deepened my character, spiritual focus, compassion, humility, sincerity and determination as well as my respect and appreciation for the wonderful people in and around Circle The Earth in ways that are so profound that it brings tears to my eyes to write this. After all that I have been through including jail, homelessness, loss of employment and my medical license, multiple treatment programs, etc. to be where I am today and to have survived all of that and still have been blessed to put together such a team of beautiful people, both in and around the band, with this level of talent, character, professionalism and integrity is amazing even to me. It is only by the Grace of God that this has been accomplished.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would love to have been present during the recording of Close To The Edge by Yes. In particular during the closing outro where they are singing: “Now that it’s all over and done, called to the Seed, right to the Sun, now that you find, now that you’re whole…Seasons will pass you by…I get up, I get down. I get up, I get down. I get up, I get down.” Hearing the record Close To The Edge by Yes and experiencing the musical and spiritual intensity of it really inspired me on a very deep spiritual level from the very first time I heard it. My soul literally “came alive” as though it immediately recognized a spiritual frequency that was “brand new” and “ground-breaking” but also somehow immediately “familiar and precious.” for the first time, I realized that I was not at all alone in the search for knowledge of the one true God and The Light, that is common to all the religions and spiritual paths of the world, and I realized to what a tremendous extent music could be an integral part of seeking, sharing and delivering that Light with others.

In closing, I would like to say that all of the members of Circle The Earth (Khadia/vocals, Sandro/drums, Sandy/keys, Kazuki/guitar) as well as the team of people around the band are among the warmest, kindest, nicest, most sincere and most professional people that I have ever been blessed to work with and I don’t take a moment of any of this for granted! I (and all of us) try to push forward on behalf of everyone else – every single minute of every single day – pressing towards commercial success within a context of integrity, morality, diversity, inclusion and spiritual sincerity.

75
Sounds of the Underground

On October 20th you can see never before seen performance footage and interviews with Hollywood Undead and The Rare Occasions. You can also hear music from up-and-coming artists 2morrows June, Divided Minds, and Circle the Earth. This will be the third of five all-new episodes of Sounds of the Underground this year.

Sounds of the Underground is the first and only alternative music TV series focused on exposing up-and-coming talent alongside major artists in the genre. Developed by The Wildfires Projekt, and aired nationally on select CBS stations, Sounds is once again bringing exclusive content to a starving audience.

Previous artists include Craig Owens, Frank Iero, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Outline in Color. Future episodes include exclusive performances and interviews with Simple Plan, Maggie Lindemann, and Story Untold. The complete episode schedule and artist roster are below.

Episode Premiere Link HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bccPjK7K9RU

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Michael McBay of Circle The Earth

What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?

I was first introduced to music when the kids in my neighborhood all got instruments and started a band. I thought bass would be the easiest instrument to learn on my own since it only had 4 strings. I was introduced to the music of Sly & The Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix and Chicago, then the very first time I heard the music of Yes my soul literally came alive and I have been inspired to make music with beauty, harmony, integrity, intensity and a positive message ever since.

What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?

Outside of music, I practice Shotokan karate at a competitive level 6 days/week for many, many, many years. The serious practice of this artform from a spiritual perspective gives me drive, determination, discipline, the ability to rebound after setbacks, patience, humility, respect for others, sincerity, kindness, compassion, integrity and character, which I am honored to say that our project is known for. (It’s also a tremendous stress reliever!) 

Sandy Wang, our keyboardist, practices the martial art of Muay Thai equally avidly 6 days/week and we often share mutually inspirational training stories with each other to keep each other motivated to push ahead.

In addition to martial arts, I am also very active in my drug recovery program and have been sober for well over 12 years now. I also work full time in a medical clinic that provides services to low-income minorities and this keeps me grounded and allows me to be of service to others on a daily basis. I actively pursue spirituality (not formal religion) on a constant basis and I am a serious student of several well-known spiritual teachers (both living and deceased).

All of these activities directly enhance all aspects of my personality and character including my personal creativity and the pursuit of Circle The Earth.

How long has your band been around?

As the founding member, I first discovered drummer Sandro Feliciano 10 years ago and we’ve worked together ever since. 6 years ago I found singer Khadia, then 4 years ago our keyboardist Sandy Wang, and finally 2 years ago guitarist Kazuki Tokaji. So, the current lineup has actually been together for 2 years in its present form.

Where are you based out of and how does that influence your music?

We are based in Los Angeles which gives us access to the very best musicians, songwriters, producers, recording studios, and music venues as well as a huge resource of industry experts all from various cultures and backgrounds. Being in Los Angeles also puts us in direct competition with literally an estimated 8 thousand other local acts all striving to accomplish the same thing here in LA, so we are forced to work very hard and strive very hard to be a “cut above” the competition in every aspect including songwriting, musicianship, recording & production quality, image, stage performance, professionalism and integrity (all of which I am grateful to say we are known for!).

How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?

The name Circle The Earth refers directly to the international nature of our line up – Sandy Wang (keys) is from Taiwan, Kazuki Tokaji (guitars) is from Japan, Sandro Feliciano (drums) is from Brazil, and Khadia (vocals) and Mike McBay (bass) are from the USA. Our name symbolizes concepts like: ethnic inclusion, cultural diversity, international cooperation, religious tolerance, women’s rights, LGBTQ equality, and in general, all of the truly spiritual intentions common to all of the world’s religions and spiritual paths.

Tell me about your most memorable shows.

So many of our shows are memorable. The common theme to them all is the universal acceptance of our band and its music by audiences that at first one would consider highly unlikely to receive us favorably. For example, we have opened shows for completely Spanish musical acts playing to completely Hispanic audiences as well as opening for heavy metal/death metal rock acts to completely hard rock oriented Caucasian audiences, and we have also opened shows for old school R&B acts and also straight up Rap concerts with completely African American audiences and all of these audiences have reacted overwhelmingly positively to our music and its message (to our tremendous delight!)There truly is something in our music for everyone.

What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?

There are several wonderful venues in Southern California that we love playing in the tremendously including: The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano!!, The Regent & The Vermont in Los Angeles, and The Grove Theater of Anaheim, for larger venue capacities, and then The Whisky a Go Go, The Viper Room, and The Troubadour in Hollywood for smaller cap venues. We would really like to open shows at The Hollywood Bowl or The Greek Theater in LA.

If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?

It would be an honor to open a show for BTS (even though our musical styles are not quite similar). This wonderful group has a message that is the same as ours: international cooperation, ethnic inclusion, cultural tolerance and personal integrity.

What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?

My #1 advice would be to be sure to have a reliable day job and a secondary skill as a fallback position to support yourself while pursuing your musical dream and #2 to practice, practice, practice (both individually and together relentlessly), #3 constantly seek outside advice, constructive criticism and guidance from professionals with bona fide industry experience, #4 beware of the liars, cheaters, deceivers and charlatans that are literally everywhere in the music industry who literally make a living by preying on the hopes and dreams of the aspiring artists, and #5 beware of drugs and alcohol which also in their own way prey on the hopes and dreams of the aspiring artists.

If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?

I often go back to places that were significant in my musical past and pray and try to send advice to myself back in the past sending messages of: continuing encouragement, inspiration, discipline, dedication and patience for the unimaginably long road ahead.

Of your songs, which one means the most to you and why?

All of our songs have tremendous meaning to me because of the history of the band that they are associated with but currently:

“Sweetest Pain” expresses the pain of being in a relationship with someone whom you love tremendously and deeply however that person is not yet ready for this level of true love and the pain that comes with the slow but inevitable realization that this person will most likely never be ready for this kind of love and so must be slowly released and the relationship must be allowed to dissolve. This “sweet pain” can actually be an unavoidable anguish until the relationship is finally resolved and the person is released.

“The Other Side” expresses the spiritual aspects of our message describing the absolute reality of tangible contact and communication with the unseen spiritual world as a direct experience and the beautiful inspirations and guidance that can be received from pursuing this.

“Dead” displays the power of the band and the intensity of our collective drive to succeed together.

“Diamonds” expresses the challenge of overcoming tremendous personal adversity and the spiritual rewards that are eventually reached only by enduring these pressures with determination, faith, patience, sincerity and tenacity….”only diamonds are made under pressure.”

 Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?

All of the above songs and actually all of our songs are our favorites to play for different reasons for each band member, but I would say that pretty universally when we play “Diamonds” we can all literally feel the crowd being “won over” during that particular song because of its message and the intensity with which we deliver it. I would say that “Diamonds” is the song that touches all of the various audiences we have played to most universally.

What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?

Generally, our guitarist Kazuki Tokaji has a writing session with songwriter Jim McGorman (Goo Goo Dolls, Avril Lavigne, Gwen Stefani) and they generate a rough demo which the band then arranges, interprets, and twists to our musical style. During that process, Khadia often makes adjustments to the vocal lines and creates “rap” segments when appropriate. After this, the band goes into the studio with our producer Ethan Kaufmann (Dorothy) and the song is further modernized and updated into the powerful, edgy modern rock style that we are now known for.

What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?

The message of our music is based on concepts like: ethnic inclusion, cultural understanding, international cooperation, religious tolerance, women’s rights, LGBTQ equality, personal integrity and in general all of the truly spiritual intentions common to all of the world’s religions and spiritual paths.

Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?

Of course, we have disagreements in the band from time to time, but they tend to be minor stylistic differences that are easily solvable thru discussion and compromise. In terms of major issues like general direction and musical style and overall approach, we are all very much in alignment and agreement.

What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?

We are releasing 1 new single and video every 45 days thru the end of 2022 and will be releasing another single, a video and an entire EP at the end of Jan/early Feb in 2023. Several of our songs are up for placement in movies/tv/commercials and we are also being considered for some prominent talk show appearances that are in the works. Fingers Crossed on all of these developments, any one of which could really help to launch the band!

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I would like to close this interview with a message of inspiration, love, hope, sincerity, integrity, recovery and spirituality to the hearts of anyone out there who is open to hear it: “All true religions and spiritual paths lead to the very same loving God, and not one Soul will be lost!

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Talk This Way Podcast: Circle The Earth

The Los Angeles-based alternative rock outfit Circle The Earth checked in with the Talk This Way Podcast from the studio. The group is currently working on new material and planning a few upcoming live shows. Check out the chat above for the low-down on what’s happening with the band.

Circle The Earth just released their latest single “Sweetest Pain.” The track was co-written by Jim McGorman (Avril Lavigne, Weezer, Gwen Stefani, Goo Goo Dolls) and produced by Ethan Kaufman (Avril Lavigne, Ryan Cabrera, Dorothy). It illustrates the quintet’s diverse backgrounds and eclectic approach. Anchored by front woman Khadia’s yearning vocals and lightning-bolt rock riffs and solos from guitarist Kazuki Tokaji, “Sweetest Pain” laments the emotional tumult of a romance that’s slowly disintegrating.

It’s impossible to pigeonhole the sound of Circle The Earth. With a lineup featuring members from across the U.S., Taiwan, Brazil and Japan, all of whom bring extensive professional experience to their music, the independent band craft a seamless combination of rock, pop, soul, hip-hop, and even emo. In addition to Khadia (a former background singer for Imagine Dragons, American Idol, and The American Music Awards who has also performed with Mya, Janelle Monae and Prince) and Tokaji (who was born in Japan and began playing guitar at age 7), the five-piece is rounded out by founding member, bassist and Atlanta native Michael McBay, Brazilian-born drummer Sandro Feliciano (who has toured with Ms. Lauryn Hill and Teena Marie) and keyboardist/music director Sandy Chao Wang, who grew up in Taiwan.

Circle The Earth coalesced over the course of several years, first formed in 2018, driven by the vision of McBay and an overall message of bringing people hope, love and truth in a world that can feel maddening and hateful at times. They strive to produce music as positive and uplifting as possible, with messages of unity and inclusion that emphasizes the beauty of diversity and leaves good vibes in its wake. The band officially debuted in 2020 with their single “Could Be You” and have since released “Dead,” “All The Way,” and“Diamonds,” amassing over 2 million views on their YouTube channel and nearly 750K streams on Spotify. Circle The Earth has also graced the stages of such famed LA venues including The Viper Room, Whisky a Go Go and The Mint as well as a performance at NAMM, building quite the reputation for their explosive live show.

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