Ben Beddick

Stellar Circuits

Progressive Metallers STELLAR CIRCUITS are about to release their newest full-length album, titled "Ways We Haunt." Metal Temple Editor-In-Chief Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell was recently able to chat with vocalist Ben Beddick to talk about the album, their influences (we share an equal love of RUSH), and how the band finds inspiration.
November 3, 2018
Bed Beddick - Stellar Circuits interview
You released your debut EP in 2015. Can you tell us how the band came together, and what was your vision for the EP? How has that vision changed now with the coming of your debut "Ways We Haunt?"

We were just friends that were already playing music together…The idea to start writing our own songs came pretty naturally. Music is such an important part of our lives. It's an obsession. Our vision was/is to make compelling and interesting music that affects people and inspires them. We also want to grow as musicians and continuously push ourselves to become better. That vision hasn't really changed since the start.

You talk about how the new album came together as a concept album. At what point in the writing process did this become evident? When did you get that "a-ha" moment, and what did it do to the compositions that followed?

I don't think 'Ways We Haunt' is necessarily a concept record in the traditional sense…it's not a typical narrative from start to finish. There was something that seemed to fall into place when we began to sequence the songs toward the end of the writing process though. I had been dealing with the loss of a few people that I really loved before and during the writing of this album. While writing the song 'Matrioshka', I started to see how that was weaving its way into the intent behind the story and the lyrics throughout. I see this album as a journey from the dark to the light. It can be cyclical. In one sense, it's dealing with the darkness and isolation you feel when losing someone close to you. Coming to terms with those things is a necessary part of life. When we're in the middle of that sadness it can feel like there is no way out. It seems endless. Finding peace with that reality is the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with and writing this record has really helped me do that. A lot of it was also inspired by the writing by Nic Pizzolatto in 'True Detective'. There was an idea surrounding the series of our minds being like a locked room. That idea was then expanded to our minds having several rooms like a house. And if our minds are like a house…what if that house is haunted? I like to think of this album as exploring that house in a way that might be jarring, but one that will eventually lead to catharsis.

For me, the album was all about transitions…transitions from smooth and mellow music, to lashing out angrily and the back again. How do you know when to turn this on? Was is just when it feels right, or was it more calculated?

We really just like to go with what feels right. I think the most important thing is how a piece of music makes you feel. If it's affecting then it's done its job. Sometimes it can be so easy to get wrapped up in over analyzation that you can become paralyzed. Especially when it comes to creativity. I would have to say the mercurial nature of the music is probably a testament to our personalities though.

How did you land upon the name of your band? There has to be a good story behind this…

We honestly went through so many names, probably hundreds, before we came across Stellar Circuits. It really seemed like divine providence. We like to make music that has layers to it, so a name with such depth that resonated with our ideas quickly stuck. It's derived from a theory that deals with the expansion of consciousness. Activating what are known as the "stellar circuits" to transcend and evolve to a higher state of being.

I see we share a love of RUSH! I am proud owner of PA license plate "By Tor." Can you tell me what you think RUSH did for Progressive Music as a whole? More importantly, what did they do for you?

(Jesse answered this one) RUSH was always one of my biggest influences growing up. Later I learned they took progressive rock a step further than bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. I'd also say they didn't gain the respect they deserved until several years after… I think they not only pushed Progressive Rock to another level but influenced almost all rock bands that came after them. RUSH was the first band I ever remember listening to when I was a kid because it's my Dad's favorite band. I believe their music opened up my imagination and helped me broaden the creative side of my mind. There are several times in my childhood I can pinpoint what I was doing in that very moment, almost using their music as a road map to my life in a sense. It's obviously affected me enough to have it seep into our music.

How has touring been so far? Do you plan on touring for new album? What is your proudest moment touring thus far, and what is the craziest thing that ever happened to you?

We actually haven't been on tour yet. We've played a bunch of 1 or 2-off shows up and down the east coast over the past couple years but never an actual tour. We're really stoked because we'll be going on our first tour when the album comes out on November 9th and we'll be traveling around the southeast to support the album. After that we've got some big plans for 2019 to take Stellar Circuits to new markets across the US.

What has been both the best experience of being in the music industry, and the worst?

I'd say the best experience is being able to make connections with people. The idea that our stuff has a positive impact on someone is the greatest reward that we can receive. It always means so much when someone reaches out and tells us that our music means something to them. I think the worst part about the music industry is the actual industry. Constantly dealing with advertising, social media and a lot of other things can be less than inspiring. It's important to remember why you're doing it though. It's all about creating art and sharing it with the world.

Talk about some of your influences. How have they helped you mold your sound? Who were you listening to growing up, and how has that changed today? What are some of the bands you are listening to today?

I think our influences play a part in our writing just like any other band. Three of us were from California and then moved to NC in the 90's and I think being from the west coast really influenced a lot of what we listened to when growing up. Bands that had that west coast sound and that sort of danced between rock and metal were usually the norm. We all listened to a lot of different music but we really connected on bands like Incubus, Tool, Deftones, Rage Against the Machine… there's really too many to name. We also all shared a love for classic music like Hendrix, Rush, Zeppelin and a lot of others. These days there's so much music to choose from it can be overwhelming. I think we all have our own favorites but there's a few bands that really excite us all. Karnivool is absolutely amazing. I think we all really love The Contortionist. Night Verses. Circa Survive. Silent Planet. London Grammar. Tedeschi Trucks Band… there's just so many great bands making great music these days. It's really hard to think of them all.

What do you all do when you are not making music? Any crazy or fun hobbies or interests?

It's kind of hard to find time for things outside of the band. It's a full time job creating, writing, recording, marketing, playing shows and doing all the things that go into what it takes. We're all pretty big fans of film though. Movies are definitely a passion. I'd probably say video games too. But we don't really have time to play them.

Though you are a new band, do you yet have any musical regrets?

I can't say we do. I can't really speak for the other guys but I don't like to spend a lot of time thinking about what could have been if things were different. We make choices whether creative or otherwise based on the information that we have and who we are in that moment. Although that may change I think it's really important to be at peace with that.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in, let's say the past decade? Has it been good or bad, and in what ways?

I think we've all seen the music industry change immensely in the past decade, as it has since it really began in the 40's and 50's. It's kind of hard to touch on all of the changes that have been made but I think one of the biggest things has been the rise of music streaming. It's become the most common way for people to listen to music these days and is a little strange for someone with an affinity for physical records. I don't think you can really say that it's changed for the better or worse though. That's definitely subjective. I think music is just so powerful and it continues to amazing me in new ways every day. I'm just grateful to be able to listen to and make music myself.

What advice would you give to young musicians out there trying to make their mark in the music industry?

Make music because you love it and because you need to. Don't do it for any other reason.

What is the ultimate mission of STELLAR CIRCUITS? What are some of your hopes and dreams, and things that you really want to accomplish?

Our ultimate mission is to continue to make music for as long as possible. To support ourselves through our art so we can have the opportunity to continue doing so. Our dream is to travel the world and play music. We're so grateful to the people who are helping us achieve this dream.

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