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Interviews : “So there’s always ideas floating around” – An interview with Ben Rechter (Circles)

By on June 3, 2019

Ben Rechter, the relatively new frontman and guitarist from Melbourne progressive metallers Circles, is a man who has music flowing through his veins and veritably flowing out of him like a tap. Formerly lead vocalist for his own band, the excellent but highly underrated Glass Empire, he also currently plays in another band called Cityhalls, produces other peoples’ music, plays multiple different instruments and generally lives to write, play and release music. In a recent chat, he confirms that he is the type of musician who constantly creates, doesn’t take breaks from writing, and finds that he has so many ideas they actually begin to encroach on his day to day life.

“Yeah, I can’t help it really,” he laughs, “when I come home I’ll always be sitting down with a guitar in my hand, or even when I’m out and about I’ll have ideas pop into my head and I just have to quickly run away for a second and hum it into my phone so I can remember to make it into a song later.” And it just so happens that the other three members of Circles are exactly the same. “Ted’s much the same way,” he continues, speaking of the band’s other guitarist, as well as backing vocalist and co-founding member Ted Furuhashi, “he’s got a massive library of riffs, so between the two of us there’s a fair few ideas. Even (drummer) Dave and (bassist and backing vocalist) Drew have thrown in ideas. Dave will come up with beats and send them to us and we’ll try and write something off of that. It’s good, everyone gets involved.

“So there’s always ideas floating around. Whether or not they’re good ideas or not is a different matter,” he laughs again.

As far as lyrical ideas are concerned, Rechter definitely has something to say about life and the world, although it may not be spelt out or spoon-fed for easy, lowest common denominator consumption. “As far as lyric writing goes, I think I come from the Ian Kenny, Kim Benzie world of lyric writing, where, if you read it you can certainly get some meaning out of it but it’s layered in a way that’s maybe not too obvious.”

For the uninitiated, Rechter joined the band some years ago as guitarist and backing vocalist. A year and a half to two years later he took over lead vocal duties from much-loved former frontman Perry Kakridas. Taking over from a well-known singer is always a daunting prospect, especially when the voice and presence of the two artists in question are so profoundly different, however, after some initial trepidation about it all, it is now locked in and is ticking over beautifully. “Now it just feels like it’s been forever,” he admits.

“It was definitely kind of uncertain, we weren’t sure exactly what was going to happen, I wasn’t sure if my voice was the right one for the band. But everyone came together to make it work. Drew took over all of the screaming, which is good because I can’t scream for shit any more! And Ted came in and started doing some more vocals as well, everyone is just more involved. So we got through that period and came out the other side tighter as a unit because we all work hard together to make it work.

“So, tricky in the moment, but I think it’s ended up being a pretty positive thing.”

Of course, the biggest litmus test of such a change is how the often fickle, ‘stuck in the ways’ fans react to it all, and while there have been a few rumblings of dissatisfaction here and there from a vocal minority, the overwhelming vibe has been that of openness and positivity towards it. “I’ve found it incredibly positive,” he states, “the same thing when we were figuring out how it was going to work, I was pretty nervous about if I was going to suit, about how older fans were going to react to ‘who the hell’s this dude? Where’s what I’ve gotten used to?’

“But they ended up being super-supportive, they would come up at shows and just be really loving and supportive of me singing, saying they knew it was hard to lose a lead singer, but then everyone came together to make it work, they seemed appreciative that we’d made it work. And we were really damn appreciative back that they accepted it.”

Now, well into 2019, things are turning over like a well-oiled, beautifully maintained machine, and mid-year finds the band on the road across Australia with Kiwis City of Souls and very promising Ballarat band Ebonivory. While the ‘Winter Tour’ may not be the most imaginative name for a tour in Australia in July, there is a deeper meaning to it as well. “Yeah look, we know,” he admits, laughing, “but it is also based around our song Winter too, so it’s multi-layered. We’re much deeper than we seem.

“We’ve been rehearsing the set for a few weeks now, and it’s all coming together pretty good. We hope to see a bunch of friends out there, and make a bunch of new ones and have some good times.”

Catch Circles on their upcoming winter national tour with special guests City of Souls and Ebonivory. Click here to secure your tickets through Wild Thing Presents. To find out more, head to the band’s official Facebook page.


Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine,, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.