Circleswitch: Certified American Hard Rock
The Midwest heavy music scene has a colorful assortment of bands representing just about every rock, punk, and metal style imaginable. One of the most recognizable bands in this scene is Milwaukee’s Circleswitch, a band known for their hard rockin’ grooves and fun-loving demeanor.
Formed in 2006 by Danny Rodic, Jason Wolff, and Mark Pollak, Circleswitch didn’t have a full time singer until they recruited now longtime lead vocalist, Kenny James, a year later. The audition for James took place in Rodic’s basement, who was suffering from a bad bought of gas. It was that day that they knew that Kenny James was the man for the job after Rodic slipped out a wicked fart and Kenny just burst into laughter, while the rest of his band stood in awe.
“It was an inadvertent test, but right then and there Kenny just passed with flying colors because he just cracked up.” Rodic says with a laugh. “That’s how our songwriting bond began. We literally started writing music from there on and continue to this day.”
The initial lineup complete Circleswitch set about with a harder rock feel that blends a multitude of inspirations including Van Halen, Soundgarden, Bring Me the Horizon, Metallica, Godsmack, and “anything with groove and melody.” While Wolff and Pollak focused on their respective instruments, James and Rodic became tag team partners in the writing department for their debut ‘Hard Rock Certified.’ Their partnership is one that continues to this day and kept Circleswitch alive during its darkest hour.
Shortly into the writing process of their second album, ‘Ritual,’ Mark Pollak left the band and was replaced by Mark Anastasi. Once recording began it seemed as though all was well for the band, but then due to personal reasons both Anastai and Wolff parted ways with the band causing the album to become something of a side project for James and Rodic. Rather than hang up their instruments, however, the band recruited Chicago-native Eddie Gunz on drums and bassist Johnny Rockit Whalen; the latter of which showed up to audition with a splint on his finger due to an unfortunate monkey bars accident while trying to impress a date.
With their band back to full strength Circleswitch released Ritual a several videos to support it, then began hitting the club circuit. Two years later the band would release their third album, ‘Daybreak,’ which came off a lot heavier than the previous albums.
“Daybreak was the first real, real album where we worked together from scratch. It was nice to see their influences and what they brought into the band,” says James of the band’s evolved style. “I guess you can say it’s borderline metal or borderline melodic rock. Sometimes we like to go heavy, sometimes we like to go light. It’s just a music that’s off the cuff and whatever we feel like. It’s the way rock’s supposed to be like.”
Coming out of the gate hard, Circleswitch was quick to release a video for the album’s title track ‘Daybreak’ followed the following year by ‘Alibi.’ As of this writing Circleswitch has released eight self-produced music videos, one blooper reel, and a documentary. Rodic, the mastermind behind the band’s video production, says he has a few ideas brewing including some live videos and perhaps an live action video for ‘Crawl.’ For now, the band is focused greatly on playing shows around the American Midwest including Summerfest, in which they will open for Skillet on the Harley-Davidson stage, the Wisconsin State Fair, and Metal at the Gates’ Shred Fest where they will co-headline with Archiver. For fans interested in seeing Circleswitch live, be sure to check them out on Facebook for show information. One thing that can be said about their stage show is that Kenny James is electric.
Now that it’s been a year since ‘Daybreak’ hit the shelves the band has played numerous shows and greatly grown their fan base. Rodic says he likes to plan at least a year ahead, so the band has big plans including the next album. Currently, Circleswitch is in the demo phase of their fourth album.
“This is the fun part. This is what I call the brainstorming part,” says Rodic. “Having my own studio really helps. You can polish that turd real quick.”
Though the band isn’t revealing too much about the new album just yet, it’s safe to expect a high degree of polish and growth on this next album. Circleswitch is one of those bands that doesn’t like to do the same thing twice, so fans can expect a few surprises the next time around. In the meantime, be sure to try and catch a show, check out their Youtube and Facebook pages, and check out their arsenal of music and videos.