Endorphins w/ Circa 2000
CIRCA 2000, the solo project of talented producer William Wiffen, creates swirling soundscapes with synth pop and electronic vibes. His debut album, ‘Thoughts in Vias’ is a real homage to those early motorik records, featuring arpeggios and sequenced rhythms aplenty. It glides through five tracks of Tangerine Dream/Cluster influenced electronics that also seem to draw from a space disco sound, evoking half-formed memories of lost futures.
Quick five-question Q&A with Circa 2000, Sheffield's Computer Club newest rooster – ahead of his headline performance at our first showcase.
Your excellent LP ‘Thoughts in Vias’ has been described as featuring elements of both synth-pop and experimental electronica. Since beginning the CIRCA 2000 project, how would you say your sound had developed – were either of these two relatively different genres more integral to your project at the start?
I think the main change in my musical direction, just before the C2K project, was when I decided to leave the restrictions of electronic dance music and focus back on my singing and performance. I developed my musical skills from a very young age in this way, playing guitar and singing, doing open mic nights and being in bands. It’s brilliantly obvious that turning to the environment in which you are most comfortable sprouts real true artistic ability and identity. The experimentation part of my music is really just a projection of my love of the componentry of electronic music.I feel electronic music has achieved at best, the abstraction of sound from traditional instrumentation that we’ve been confined to as musicians. This realisation has allowed me to relieve an artistic integrity that I think is strong and relevant for today.
While your moniker may be CIRCA 2000, your music evokes a real sense of nostalgia. How important to you are these obvious synth-pop influences, and who inspired you growing up?
I’m not actively trying to imitate early synth pop with my music; I just find the approach to electronic music in this era was very admirably rigid and simplistic. I think from then until now we’ve done lots of confusing things with electronically generated sound, in a way that we’ve over perfected the end product and made it sound too much like it’s something acoustically and naturally brilliant - but a dull fantasy to me. Saying this, however, I do love the 80s. I’ve always been a massive Talking Heads fan, and I’ve also been influenced by, Bowie, Arthur Russell, Orange Juice, Echo and the Bunnymen. Growing up, Soft machine, Japan, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kevin Ayers, Radiohead.....
Perhaps because of the sense of nostalgia underpinning your sound, your music can almost come across as mournful. Do you have a specific emotion or feeling you seek to evoke with your production?
The role of an artist is to project that which comes from within! Haha
How do you think being based in Brighton has shaped your music? Is the live music scene in Brighton particularly helpful in developing a personal sound?
I’ve never really been a part of the live music scene, I’ve been DJ’ing regularly with my pals; Jack Sirkett and Jack Lydon who did Soul City (In the first week of living in Brighton I met them and DJ’ed at their first Soul City); Barney Whitaker (Footshooter), Malte (Caldera) and Elliot who compose Gardenn (our DJ collective); the boys at Dulcet Tones; Chris Headcount, Ovi (Glu) etc. etc.
Can you recommend an artist you love whom you feel has been unfairly overlooked?
Jake Thackray - Check out Old Molly Metcalfe, The Bull etc. etc.
Words: James Langley