Flobots Speak Out About New Record

| August 2, 2012 | 0 Comments


by Tim Wenger


Colorado’s own Flobots are back with their third album, The Circle In The Square. They recorded up at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins. Colorado Music Buzz got the opportunity to get the inside scoop on the record and how it came to be what it is.


CMB: Talk about the differences in the recording process between this album and previous records, and how your experiences as a band and gaining and losing labels affects how you went about this record.
Flobots: We recorded Fight With Tools sporadically over a long period of time in 2006 and 2007. We had no label or manager, and all of the funding was money we’d saved up. We all had day jobs, some of us multiple jobs, and a ton of different community activities, so we had to squeeze in time wherever we could. We completed and released that album in fall 2007, still completely independent. 6 months later when we got signed to Universal, they simply re-released it.

For Survival Story, everything was different. Suddenly, we had all the time in the world to work on music all day every day. But there was also the spectre of the label. They didn’t actually interfere, since we’d been very clear with them that we didn’t want any artistic input from them, but I still think it can be a little bit of a head game even just to KNOW there is this entity waiting to hear your music. Even so, the album turned out great, was well loved by fans and critics, and we were pleased.

For this album, The Circle In The Square, we were once again completely independent. No label, no manager. (We met our current label and manager after we’d already completed the songs). Just us making music. It was actually much more like the process that led with Fight With Tools, though we still had the luxury of large blocks of focused time. The result is something that we’re really proud of, and lots of people are saying it’s a nice mix between the best parts of our last two albums.

CMB: Can we expect a full tour after the release?
Flobots: Yes you can!

CMB: What are the main focuses of this album, socially and personally?


Flobots:  It’s definitely got a lot of songs that are much more personal, songs about loneliness and also celebration. At the same time, the thematics were very much inspired by global events. I think this album is ultimately about community. It’s about the power of community, and the challenges of community. It’s about all of us recognizing ourselves as members of the global community, and the struggles and possibilities of a world undergoing transformation.

CMB: Explain the title and how it came about.
Flobots: That’s a long story but here it is.

This song was born on a plane. Stephen (Brer Rabbit), and my brother and I had been on a two week visit to Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank. We had been only a few hundred miles away in Amman, when President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. It was quite an exciting time. The whole world was watching.

 Just as our flight from Tel Aviv to Denver was landing, a melody appeared in my head.  I decided to write a rap to it, and did so furiously.  The first few stanzas were nothing special, just me clearing my thoughts and playing with words, but the last line gave me pause.  I found myself writing “we’re the circle in the square”.

 What does that mean? I wondered.

 My mind began searching itself for an origin. The query yielded two results .

 First, in the last decade, there was a recurring phrase in conversations about  democracy in the Arab world. The commentators insisted that the two are not a natural fit, because “You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole”.  Hoping for an Arab democracy, they said, was like “Trying to square a circle”.

 But the Arab Spring turned that conventional wisdom on its head.  In Tunisia, and then in Egypt, young people braved bullets to proclaim that there is nothing contradictory about the idea, that people in the Arab world want to control their own destinies just like everybody else.

 And, how did they proclaim this to the world?

 They went to Tahrir Square. They occupied it. They made a camp in the center, in the shape of a circle.

 And what was the image that television commentators were now broadcasting to the world?

It was the very thing they had said was impossible, smack dab in the heart of the Arab world. It was, in fact, a circle in a square.

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Category: The Future, Local News

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