Sylvan Circle is the solo project of James Cruikshank, an aspiring musician from Billericay, Essex. After his first release, Transition State, in May 2014, he didn’t keep us long waiting and came back with Maelstrom early this year. The record itself is a very neat combination of elements taken from post and progressive rock supported with some great heavier riffs.
I had the pleasure to ask James about the inspirations and concept behind Maelstrom and here’s what he shared:
I wouldn’t say there was one single inspiration or prevailing theme throughout, it’s very much a mish-mash of ideas, hence the title. There’s a little bit of storytelling, albeit only very loosely. For instance, the This Means War trilogy is an attempted concept about conflict, and The Veil and Maelstrom are meant to be about trying to hide something and the internal toil that comes with it, which is why they flow the way they do.
I took this one a bit more seriously than my previous release – I worked on my songwriting and tried to be less monotonous. I experimented with a few things, I’m incorporating acoustic guitars a bit more and plan on experimenting with other sounds as well.
While not a concept album in its entirety, the idea is present as seems to be quite appealing for you, so do you think it’s a direction you could see yourself following?
I think so, it can be easier to write a song when you know what direction it’s going in, however sometimes halfway through you end up doing a total U-turn. I don’t think I’ll ever be fully satisfied with anything I ever release. I write something, and during the process I become better so the by the end I’ll want to write more using what I’ve learned, and this continues on in a cycle until I can look back on a song and confidently say that, if I could go back and write it again, nothing would change. Panic Station and Silence Speaks Volumes were examples of that. The feeling of true satisfaction.
I can personally recommend listening to the This Means War trilogy as a standalone for an EP-like experience and a new way to discover the music composed by James. Even though Sylvan Circle is about to take a well deserved break, Maelstrom is expecting a physical release in a limited run of 100 CDs, so it is most certainly a good idea to keep an eye on the Facebook profile for updates. That being said I myself will definitely keep tracking releases by Sylvan Circle – as young as the project is, it shows lovely potential and, frankly, I’m quite interested in the direction it will head.