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 have you found it coming up in the scene as a female-fronted band?
Michael McBay, (founding member/bassist): In my opinion, there are absolutely additional prejudices and barriers facing the band specifically because it is female-fronted, and on top of that, there are more barriers because the lead vocalist is a Black female and the band members are all minorities. Having said that, we have been universally overwhelmingly and enthusiastically accepted at our live shows even when we have opened for the hardest of hard rock bands and even death metal bands, and we have also opened for hardcore rappers as well.
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 Goodbye, here!
Did you learn something new about Circle The Earth today or gain a new favorite band? Let us know in the comments, or drop us a tweet @thehoneypop! You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook if that’s where you like to rock instead.