CIrcle the Earth Vents Magazine Interview

Vents is proud to welcome to our pages an exciting new voice on the music landscape, L.A. based rock band extraordinaire Circle the Earth; greetings and salutations, gangl Before we dive down the proverbial rabbit hole, could you all introduce yourselves to our reading audience?

Khadia (lead vocalist), Sandre Feliciano (drums), Sandy Chao Wang (keys), Kazuki Tokaji (guitars), Mike McBay (founder, bass)


Kudos on the recent release of your new single “Sweetest Pain”! Michael, what’s the story behind this captivating new tune?

“The Sweetest Pain” is a song written by our guitarist Kazuki Tokaji and our main outside songwriter Jim McGorman (who works with artists such as Goo Goo Dolls, Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne). The song describes some of the inevitable pains of life that are unpleasant but necessary for spiritual growth such as: relationship pains in which a sincere person opens their heart towards another person who is not yet on the same emotional level or not yet ready to be loved so deeply, the bittersweet experience of truly loving another person who is not yet ready for something so real and the inevitable pain that the sincere person feels trying to get the other person to change, to grow and to open themselves to this love, and the inevitable pain that the sincere person feels as they come to grips with the fact the person they love will likely never be ready and that they must slowly accept this fact and pull away, which can be a very bittersweet and painful process.


Khadia, the music video for “Sweetest Pain” is visually quite stunning and pairs brilliantly with the song itself. How much creative control was Circle the Earth given on the music video proper?

Our recent video releases for “Dead” and “Diamonds” were more expensive “concept” videos that involved multiple costume changes, for the video for “Sweetest Pain” we decided to go for a more organic “live” feeling that included much more informal backstage and behind the scenes shots that we hope will allow the fans to connect with us as a band on a more personal level. Of course, there are some exciting live performance shots included in the video as well. So the creation of the concept of the “Sweetest Pain” video was very much a collaborative decision between the band, management, and the videographers K.Haus Productions.


Michael, Sweetest Pain was co-written by wordsmith Jim McGorman. What sort of qualities did Jim bring to the table for this remarkable tune?

Jim McGorman is a wonderful discovery for us. He is a very gifted and experienced songwriter in addition to being a Berklee-trained guitarist who is very focused on strong hooks and memorable vocal melody as well as emotional impact. Also, his extensive experiences working with female rock vocalists, like Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne, and commercial rock acts like Goo Goo Dolls really makes him a perfect fit for us. Aside from that, Jim is a warm and real human being who fits in perfectly with our overall positive spiritual energy and integrity.


Kazuki, who was the producer on the Sweetest Pain session and what did that collaboration look like in the studio?

Finding rock producer Ethan Kaufman was another stroke of very good luck for us. Ethan is known for taking musical acts with strong potential and adding the “magic” that puts them over the top into a more marketable and modern rock sound on their recordings and this is exactly what he did with Circle The Earth. Ethan is also a guitarist as well with extensive writing and live performance experience on huge stages Gust as Jim McGorman does). Ethan took the song as it existed and re-recorded all of the tracks with a very hands-on approach and suggested very strong changes in the delivery of both the instrumental and vocal hooks that really made the recording much, much stronger and more memorable.


Sandro, what do you hope fans walk away with after listening to “Sweetest Pain”?

We hope that the fans walk away with a feeling of empathy and inspiration. A feeling that they are not alone in the challenges of life and also a feeling of strength and determination to push forward along with us on the road to spiritual evolution.


Sandy, can fans look forward to checking out Circle the Earth on the tour circuit this summer and into the fall?

We just completed recording 6 singles, produced by Ethan Kaufman, and our current plan is to continue to do local Southern California shows while releasing and promoting each of the singles and videos culminating with an EP release in late January of 2023. Hopefully that string of singles will grow our fan base sufficiently to warrant us to tour in the spring and summer of next year.


What are you most proud of in regards to the “Sweetest Pain” single?

The power and emotion of the song. The positivity of the message and the strength of the delivery of the vocals and instruments. The song has a strong punch to it.


With the release of the new single can we expect a full-length album rom Circle the Earth in the near future?

Yes, eventually. We’re currently focused on releasing a new single and video every 45 days or so, culminating in an EP release in early 2023.


Michael, how did Circle the Earth come together? Is there a Secret Origin story you could share with readers and fans?

I have been pursuing original music here in LA for well over 30 years. When I first arrived in LA, I was blessed to work with a musical genius named Jonathan Ivy, who was a keyboard virtuoso as well as a gifted songwriter and vocal arranger, for 1 0 years. He taught me how to put together musical projects and rehearse them. After working with him, I have a gift for choosing special musicians who have a magic combination of talent and heart. I’ve been working with Sandra, our drummer, for 10 years now, since the first day I met him. We met singer Khadia 6 years ago and she is such a perfect fit for us. Then came Sandy on keys 4 years ago and finally we met Kazuki, our guitarist, 2 years ago. Each of these people is a world-class musician but also a world-class human being whom I feel honored to work with. I would do anything for any of them like family.


A question for all of you: Musically, who turns you on?

The musical influences of the band include: Janet Jackson, Prince, Tina Marie, Paramore, Van Halen, Avril Lavigne, Journey, Yes, Too Close To Touch, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Rush, P!nk


Khadia, Circle the Earth is based out of the City of Angels, Los Angeles. How does that distinctive locale inform the music of Circle the Earth?

Los Angeles is a very unique place in that artists arrive here literally from all over the world to pursue their dreams and so the overall talent pool here is tremendous and also the level of competition here is equally tremendous. These conditions make it both easy and hard. There are literally 8 thousand musical acts here all trying to dot he same thing we are. This puts an enormous amount of pressure on us to stand out among the very crowded field here in Los Angeles.

Kazui, how is “Sweetest Pain” similar to the group’s earlier efforts in “Could Be You”? How is it different?

“Sweetest Pain” is the first single in which we feel that we have found our defining sound. We feel that we have a very good combination now with the Jim and Kazuki co-writing and Ethan producing. Our previous tracks were good, but we feel that we really have a winning combination at this point.


Final – SILL Yl – Question {for all of you!): Favorite movie about the music scene – This Is Spinal Tap, Almost Famous, La Bamba or Backbeat?


One thought on “Vents Magazine Featured Interview

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    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Vents Magazine featured interview with Circle the Earth, a Los Angeles based rock band. It provided fascinating insights into the band’s inspirations, creative process, and aspirations. The band members’ commitment to making music that is both valuable and enjoyable to their fans is highly commendable. I look forward to hearing more from Circle the Earth and seeing them achieve even greater success in the music industry.

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