“This album is 100 percent us, and there’s not one song on here that’s good for radio,” Green says. “When you’re working with outside people, sometimes a little bit of the energy or excitement gets chiseled out of the songs in order to make something that’s not too weird. And we’re a weird band, you know?” Case in point: Violent Waves is bookended by two seven-minute-long songs. “We didn’t intend for those two songs to be so long, but they both have all of these patient moments where there’s building and repetition that’s very called for and necessary, and we didn’t want to neglect that aspect of the band,” Green says. From the psychedelic sing-along “Phantasmagoria” to the moody meditation “Suitcase,” Violent Waves is an ambitious album. And judging by the fact that all of the deluxe packages—including 11 that cost $750 and contained handwritten lyrics and sketches from the band members—sold out, it seems as if they will be able to sustain themselves for a long time to come.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that Green—who suffered a highly publicized break- down and stayed at a mental institution during the writing of Blue Sky Noise—was in a much better emotional state this time around. Still, he has a constant reminder of that period of his life in the form of a head tattoo of the band’s logo. “Right when our last record came out, I was losing my mind and trying out all these different medications and antidepressants,” he says. “I shaved the sides of my head and while we were in Austin, TX, I got the idea that I was going to get the Circa logo on the side of my head. I remember telling someone about it and they were like, ‘Dude, that would be fucking brutal, don’t do that.’ And then the next morning I woke up and it was there.”