Sitting around in the basement where they practise, the five members of funk band Circadian Kingdom seem remarkably mature.
The discussion is ranging over musical influences, songwriting challenges and aspirations. But then Todd Schmid mentions how he keeps getting kicked out of the bandroom at school and everyone cracks up. They are, after all, teens, except for singer Brian Thornley.
Either current students or grads of Mount Doug secondary, they recently played their first gig. They took to the stage at Intrepid Theatre wearing a variety of top hats and long coats. About 80 people showed up – “and not just our parents,” Thornley says.
They rehearse twice a week in the basement of Schmid’s parents’ home. They’ve written enough material to record their first CD, Cerebral Aqueducts, but don’t have the money to record all their tracks – yet.
They are today’s incarnation of the garage band. They are young – Schmid, keyboardist Nav Ganti, and guitarist Kiaran McMillan are 16, drummer Stephen Lake is 19 and Thornley is 20 – and talented, writing smart lyrics to songs with such titles as “Dionysus Baroque” and “Absolute Alchemy.”
Although their postmodern funk sounds and lyrics about Freudian capitulations may seem egg-headed, McMillan says they attracted him to the band.
“Immediately the lyrics just popped out at me,” he says about when Thornley first shared them. Rather than distancing audiences, McMillan thinks the music will attract listeners. “It doesn’t matter the intelligence of the audience, they’ll always find something impressive about some aspect of our music.”
All but Schmid have played in Mount Doug’s jazz or concert bands. Their influences range from Prince to Hall and Oates to Colin Greenwood of Radiohead. Three of the boys work as ushers at the Royal Theatre and even the Victoria Symphony has given them pause.
All members, as well as good friend and band manager Garrett Peterson of Oak Bay, contribute to the songwriting process.
Although they’ve been together for just over a year, they’ve already discarded some of their earlier compositions.
“We’d like to make careers out of this and start playing bigger shows in bigger venues. To play the Royal Theatre – that’s the dream,” Thornley said.