Interview: Steve Irons of Circle Of Thorns
When my good friend Steve Irons of Circle Of Thorns contacted me at Rock Show Magazine to attend an exclusive listening party for his new acoustic album entitled Wood, I had two questions; when, and where? The first song we heard was a song called Everything Is Beautiful, and beautiful it is. If you’re looking for bubble gum lyrics, you won’t find them here; dark lyrics that could only come from a person that lived them. Top that off with the most incredible guitar work I have ever heard. The second track Everything Has Changed starts off, “I have been guilty of some crimes, I might look free, but I’m doin’ time.” The guitar solos on this track floored me. I’ve been in this business a long time, and my friends I’m here to tell you, make sure your sitting down the first time you give this a listen, because you will be floored also. And that my friend is a good thing. I haven’t been floored in a long time; I needed this. And with tracks three and four; I Keep Away, and Woke Up Alive Again, Steve Irons has come full circle… Circle Of Thorns that is. P.S., This review was a pleasure to do because I stand behind this 100%! This CD kicks ass, enjoy. Okay now let’s get to our interview with Steve Irons…
Donnie Tranchina: So Steve when could we expect the release of Wood?
Steve Irons: That depends. I’m going to try & find a Major Label to release it 1st. If there are no Major Labels to support the music, I will release it on my own through iTunes & all the other digital distributors. I’ll be working with a publicist who is confident we can get a distribution deal with Best Buy. Unfortunately, stores that carry CDs & DVDs are disappearing rapidly. Stores that carry music are becoming or have become a thing of the past. I just learned today that the industry is looking to phase out CDs by 2014. The majority of people are only buying downloads. It’s apparently too convenient to use an iPod, and when did it stop mattering that CDs sound better than mp3s? Things are changing rapidly.
Donnie Tranchina: How did you come up with the title?
Steve Irons: “Wood” just came to me since all the guitars are acoustic, the drums are acoustic. The Bass is the only electric instrument on the CD. All the instruments are made of wood.
Donnie Tranchina: I love the art work; was the CD art work all your design?
Steve Irons: Thank you! Yes it was. I’ve always seen, as I’m guessing many have, that a woman’s body & the guitar are very similar. They are both beautiful works of art. I wanted to take a woman’s body & turn it into an acoustic guitar. Morph the two together. Being this CD is acoustic, it was the perfect time to use the idea & make it real. I think the end result came out really well.
Donnie Tranchina: Lyrically, these songs really hit home with me. Was it hard being so honest lyrically?
Steve Irons: For me it’s hard not to be honest lyrically since I don’t really like creating fictional stories for songs. I think a song has to come from the heart if you’re going to connect with it, or if anyone else is going to connect with it. I don’t really think of myself as a great singer, but I believe what I’m saying when I’m singing it. It’s what I experienced & how I feel, so it’s easy to connect with, and hopefully other people will connect with it.
Donnie Tranchina: Your debut Circle Of Thorns CD was very heavy & electric. What made you want to record an acoustic CD & what was it like recording this one?
Steve Irons: Yes it was! The next Circle Of Thorns full CD will be very heavy as well. I have always loved acoustic music. There’s purity to it that you can’t fake. It’s sincere. If you play acoustic well, it’s beautiful. If you are not dead on, it’s merciless. No effects or distortion to hide behind. I respect any guitar player who can play acoustic guitar well. So many people can rip up the electric guitar but put them on an acoustic & and they may not sound so good. It’s merciless, beautiful & honest. This acoustic CD is really just something I wanted to do between heavy albums. It’s not Circle Of Thorns new direction. That’s why I only wanted to do it as a 5 song EP. I really enjoyed recording it. I also wanted it to sound almost like a live album. There are no excessive overdubs; there are 3 guitar tracks, one track for each part. No stacking duplicate tracks. The vocals were simple. One lead track. Where there’s 3 part harmony, there’s one voice doing each of those harmonies. Just like it would be live. Simple. The other thing I’m weird about is I do not believe in punching in. All the tracks have to be played through without mistakes. No stopping in the middle of a song & coming in from the middle. All the tracks were played straight through just as you're hearing them. I am not a believer in copy & pasting parts in songs together either. If there’s a part that’s played 4 times, I say play the part 4 times. Don’t play it once & then copy & paste the other 3. I really wanted it to be real & genuine on every level. Yeah doing an acoustic CD is something I would like to do between every full length heavy album, and the songs for the next full length CD are extremely heavy!
Donnie Tranchina: Can we expect to see you on the road in support of Wood?
Steve Irons: Well that depends if there’s Label support. Also depends on if people legally purchase the songs. The debut CD had been illegally downloaded so much; it actually killed our ability to tour. There was one pirate site that was somehow giving my songs away the day after the CD became available. The site had a counter on it to keep track of downloads. In a matter of two weeks I watched the number of illegal downloads of Circle Of Thorns full CD go up to 147,000. That was one site in just two weeks. That was well over a million dollars that would have funded a tour & promotion. While I was very happy that so many people wanted the music, I was really disappointed they didn’t buy it legally. I don’t think they thought about the band or any band needing the money to fund a tour. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they even knew they were downloading it illegally. What most people don’t realize is that some of these download sites that you join for a small yearly fee that give you access to free downloads or really cheap downloads are actually ripping the bands off. By the time we were able to have them take our music off the site it took a huge chunk out of our legitimate sales. Who’s going to buy a download when you already have it for free? That’s why with this CD there are no samples of the music up & there won’t be any full versions of the songs posted. Just really short samples. I really want to be able to tour extensively everywhere so I’m hoping that if people like the CD, they buy it legit so we can bring our music live to all corners of the planet whether we have a Major label’s support, or we do it on our own.
Donnie Tranchina: How can your fans purchases Wood?
Steve Irons: Well it will be on iTunes for certain once it’s released as well as all other reputable digital stores.
Donnie Tranchina: Your guitar work on Wood is incredible, the production is dead on. Who produced it, and where did you record?
Steve Irons: Thanks so much Donnie ! I produced the CD. Rico Mancini engineered it & Marc Altman mastered it. I recorded it at Cacoon Studios. A division of Cool Music Inc. Cool Music Inc is the same company that makes the guitar picks I use as well! Cool picks! Awesome studio, and Marc & Rico are excellent at what they do! I’m very thankful to have the studios full backing into my musical endeavors. They are awesome people! Donnie, I want to thank you & Rock Show Magazine for you interest & support for this CD. I put myself completely into my music & this CD on every level, so I really appreciate the support you & the magazine have shown me.
Print : December, 2011