Rising indie-pop band Running in Circles has just released their self titled debut EP available now for streaming on all platforms. The Philly-based group is composed of Aden Dubin and Zac Pacuraru, who work collaboratively to write and produce the band’s music. Running in Circles has released several singles in the past, but their newest project fully presents the band's sound and purpose to new and old fans.
“The biggest thing for this EP was honing in on who we are as a band and what kind of music we want to make and put out to the world. For returning fans who were used to the fun little songs that we would release occasionally, I think it's definitely a good EP that says ‘This is who we are. This is who Running In Circles is.’” -Aden Dubin
Running In Circles stands out in the industry for being unapologetically themselves. Along with their charming personalities and vibrant dynamic, the duo makes music that transcends the listener through multiple decades. Not defined by a singular genre, Running in Circles has an innate ability to blend together an array of sounds derived from both current and classic music trends.
Based out of Philadelphia, the band has been breaking into their local indie scene by playing shows around the city over the past few months. Since their fans last saw them, they have been working tirelessly to perfect their songwriting craft, and the new EP represents the group's most well produced body of work to date. The songs dig even further into the minds of the young artists, giving an honest account of their experiences through introspective lyrics which cut deep.
“With this project we’re establishing ourselves and transitioning from the two kids in your high school who release a song once every four months to setting a baseline for our sound, our band, and for more things to come.” -Zac Pacuaru
Running In Circles stands out for its immersive storytelling. The six-track EP follows the journey of a young adult navigating love, heartbreak, and maturity as they enter a new stage of their life. The project opens with “Just For Fun,” an upbeat tune has already become a perpetual earworm for me with a catchy guitar riff propelling the song forward. “Wait” slows down a bit, combining pleading lyrics and glistening harmonies from both singers to make a groovy tune that has a place on everyone’s driving playlist.
Next up on the EP is “Daydreaming”, which is a mid tempo, soulful tune that reflects on the singer’s gloomy state and draws the listener in with its immersive production layers. The song fills up the entire auditory space with chill drum beats and several instruments including a saxophone solo from Zac. The fourth song on the EP, titled “Answering Machine” brings something entirely new to the table with its minor groove. The band pulls even more from their old school influences with a passionate guitar solo which is clearly inspired by their classic rock roots.
Although the band keeps their youthful charm throughout the EP, songs like “Don’t Take it Away” illustrate the bands growth in maturity with its bold production choices and eloquent themes. The passionate tune builds intensity throughout, pulling on the listener’s heartstrings with vulnerable lyrics which reflect upon the singer’s desperate state. The EP closes out with “Can’t Help Myself,” an anthemic song for their audience of young adults due to its heart wrenching, raw lyricism that gets real about self reflection, regret, and taking responsibility. Each of the songs on Running In Circles stand out for their immersive layers brilliantly curated by the band to transport the listener into a glistening sonic landscape.
Born and raised in the city of Philadelphia, the band stays loyal to their Philly roots. Inspired from a young age by their creative and culturally rich city, these singer-songwriters have curated a well-rounded and individual sound. Their music blends together sounds from both the modern and classic indie rock music scene. The band pulls inspiration from Men I Trust and Mac DeMarco, contributing to the band’s eccentric yet familiar vibe.
"I feel like there is a different demographic and energy in Philly in comparison to other cities. Especially now that we live in the city for college, we're really inspired by other musicians and bands that are getting famous now." -Aden Dubin
Back in April of this year, Running in Circles released their fourth single, titled “So What”. The song accumulated more than 1000 streams in the first week, and the band has been consistently growing their fanbase since their debut release of “wdym?” back in October of 2021. As the band enters this new era of their artistry, fans of Running in Circles can expect music that is more bold and vulnerable than previous releases.
We recently sat down with the band to discuss the new EP, creative influences, and goals. Click HERE or scroll down to read the full interview or watch it on Modern Mixtape TV.
Watch the full interview on Modern Mixtape TV's Youtube:
Walk me through how you guys are feeling as you approach the release date?
Aden: “So it's been a wild journey since we started this in April and we're just so excited to be in the homestretch of this big project. But this isn't the end. It's just the beginning of so much that we have to do and that we have in store for all of our fans and people yet to be fans.”
If you could describe this EP in three words, what would they be?
Zac: “The EP is very diverse in terms of the kinds of tracks you'll be hearing. And I think that's sort of different from most EP's. Also, this is a very cohesive project from start to finish.”
Aden: “Cohesive is a great term. I would also say abstract and electrifying because of the new sound that we're exploring in a lot of the songs.”
Do you feel like this EP tells a specific story? Or do you think it's more of a collection of moments that you have experienced over the last bit of your life.
Aden: “I think it's more so the culmination of some of our thoughts while songwriting over the last year. You could say it's a story about our band and how we got to where we are now.”
Do you approach the songwriting process differently when it comes to more upbeat songs like “Just For Fun” versus slower, more intimate songs such as “Don't Take it Away”?
Zac: “Absolutely. Aden and I have been friends for quite some time now, so we bring a lot of fun and friendly aspects to our songwriting process, which definitely you can see shine through in more upbeat songs like “Just For Fun” and “Wait”. I guess our intimate relationship also allows us to create more honed in and serious type songs. It's a good dynamic we have.”
Can you walk me through your usual creative process for songwriting from start to finish?
Aden: “It definitely depends on the song, but we have the same general process. It usually starts here or at a temporary home studio in my dorm, but it's really just either one or both of us experimenting with the different sound that we have in our head or an idea and I’ll put it into a logic session. We get a good chorus down or some kind of structure to the song, record some instruments for a demo, and then Zac and I sit down for a day and maybe write a couple verses, or finish the song if we can. Then we go over everything, record it, and then Zac likes to have enough time to add more things that we weren't thinking about originally such as tiny little ear candies that pop up throughout the song. Once we're happy with it, which usually takes a while, we’re ready to release it.”
Were there any specific albums or artists that you were listening to during the writing of this EP that may have influenced how the songs came out?
Aden: “I was listening to a lot of This Old Dog by Mac DeMarco, which is one of my favorite albums. It’s pretty diverse, but it's also very intimate and emotional.”
Zac: “I've been listening to a lot of modern funk type music as of late, and I think that's certainly rubbed off on the last song that we made for the EP called “Daydreaming”. There’s definitely a lot more jazz influence in things like that as well, and I think that's sort of the direction that we want to take for future projects.”
Do you feel like your music identifies with a certain genre of music?
Zac: “I don't think we've really limited ourselves to a specific genre because we often go in these phases of making random stuff. If we wanted to make a disco song, we'd make a disco song. So at the end of the day, if it's fun to make and people like listening to it, then I think that's the direction we want to take.”
Aden: “I think that the more we put a label on ourselves, the more we limit ourselves to what we can do. It really all comes down to us messing around and making a song that we want to make and if we choose for other people to hear it, then that will happen. I think we've always had pop elements in our music, so I guess if you want to say indie pop you could, but there's so much of a world to our music that isn't really captured in that name.”
You both seem to have quite an eclectic taste in music, what kind of music was playing in your house growing up that may have influenced your taste in music now?
Aden: “My parents were crazy about alternative music from the eighties and New Wave music as well as classic rock like the Beatles. I've been a classic rock fan since I was probably 11, and I didn't really start listening to modern music until a few years ago. But I think that influence definitely plays a huge part in the music that we make now.”
Zac: “My mom is from Europe, so I had a lot of like Eurovision type music playing in my youth, just on CDs in my basement. That definitely has impacted the stuff that we make today and my mom's always excited to hear stuff that sounds like that. But also, my dad is a big classic rock fan so I remember listening to that all the time, and he's also a saxophone player, so a lot of jazz growing up as well.”
How do you think growing up in the city of Philadelphia has impacted your creativity and passion for creating music?
Aden: “Both of our families are from the city, different parts of it. But growing up in a small town right beside the city is a very interesting experience because we were sort of affected by the creativity in this area. I feel like there is a different demographic and energy in Philly in comparison to other cities. Especially now that we live in the city for college, we're really inspired by other musicians and bands that are getting famous now. We’ve had a great experience, but it's not always the same when living in the small suburb that we were.”
How did Running In Circles come to be?
Zac: “Way back in ninth grade, Aden got Garageband and I got a FL Studio, and we would make trap beats when we would hang out and then freestyle over it for fun.”
Aden: “We would make random fusions of different things and think it was so creative and crazy. Then we started actually taking it seriously and started wanting to make stuff that we were going to release.”
How do you feel like you have developed as artists since your debut single release of “wdym” back in 2021?
Zac: “First of all, our songwriting has definitely gotten a lot better. When listening back, they're good tunes, but there's a lot to pick out and be nit picky about in those four singles that we've released before this project. But I'm really excited now that we have six brand new songs that represent how we've grown to this current Running in Circles era as opposed to these more outdated projects that we've worked on in the past.”
Aden: “We definitely grew a lot. Both of us are in college now and being more intelligent and mature has allowed us to figure out what other people like and what we like.”
Where do you picture people listening to your music?
Zac: “I was actually thinking about that the other day. I remember Tyler, the creator, saying a similar thing for his album Igor. Honestly, I don't think there's a right environment to listen to this project. You can listen to it alone, listen to it with friends, listen wherever you want. It's such a diverse project that it has the ability to fit any environment. So whether you're happy or sad, you're going to find something you like in this project.
Aden: “It also depends on the song. I feel like some of the later songs in the EP like “Daydreaming” or “Don't Take It Away” could be best like in a bedroom or something like that, but a lot of our songs are just made for wherever you feel like.”
Would you say that you curate your music to a certain age group or demographic?
Aden: “Running In Circles is for everyone”
Zac: “Ages 6 and up. We should put that on the album cover. I’d say our music is very modern and has aspects of pop in it, but the way we make it also has these older influences. Our parents are also in love with it because it has like these older aspects of good music according to them. So I think it's really for any age group.”
What is one thing that you hope a fan will walk away with after listening to this EP?
Aden: “The biggest thing for this EP was honing in on who we are as a band and what kind of music we want to make and put out to the world. For returning fans who were used to the fun little songs that we would release occasionally, I think it's definitely a good EP that says ‘This is who we are. This is who Running In Circles is.’ It's also something to think back on later when we grow and improve the sound that originated from this project.”
Zac: “With this project we’re establishing ourselves and transitioning from the two kids in your high school who release a song once every four months to setting a baseline for our sound, our band, and for more things to come.”
If you could take credit for any album ever created, what would you choose?
Zac: “Oncle Jazz by Men I Trust. If we can create something at that level of production quality. That album really sets the tone of wherever you are. If we can get to that point or if Running in circles had released that album, I could die happy.
Aden: “This Old Dog by Mac DeMarco is one of my favorite albums, but also probably David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. I think that is such an amazing album from start to finish, and it definitely played a huge part in the songs that I like to make and stuff.”
What are your short term goals? What do you hope to accomplish within the next few months?
Aden: “Shows. Live performing is one goal that we're trying to achieve and we will be starting to do that very soon. As a short term goal, that's definitely top of the list.”
Zac: “One direction we took when writing this EP was making these songs sound essentially the same when they're performed live and in the recordings that you hear on Spotify or whatever streaming platform. So I think having that in mind for these shows can really help emulate who we are, and it's not like the recording sounds different than the performance. These songs are written to be performed, and I'm really excited to get out and show these off to people.”
What bands do you take inspiration from when it comes to live performance?
Aden: “Our first show that we played was a really amazing show. We were on the bill with another band that I've been wanting to see and especially wanting to play with called Wallace, Tonight!, and they were just amazing to watch. I think musically, they're definitely someone I'm inspired by. From song to song they just totally switch it up and use elements of surprise and musicianship in their music so well. I think performance wise, I guess I’m very inspired by older bands and the crazy flamboyant front man singers and guitarists from classic rock eras.
Would you say that performing is the most rewarding part of being a recording artist?
Zac: “I would say performing is definitely like the light at the end of the tunnel. We've been locking ourselves away working on this project, and after working so hard to make these songs perfect, finally being able to perform them for people and finally accepting that the songs are done and that people can listen to them is definitely the thing I look forward to most.”
Aden: “Yeah, same for me. We are always making things and songwriting, and I think it's definitely super rewarding once you get that groove down or some really cool verse and chorus and we look at each other like ‘yeah this is good.’ But performing is just so relieving. Just being able to play and express the songs we spent so much time working on.”
What are your long term goals? If you could have your ideal situation, where do you see yourselves and your career 5 years down the line?
Aden: “Definitely Record Label is the name of the game for us. Or just working with other people in general or other management, because for so long it’s just been zac and I. Now that we’re in college, we’re starting to make connections with different people. We’re trying to reach out to other people and maybe make a name for ourselves, and that's what we’re set out to do.”
Is there anything else you guys would like to share?
Zac: “I advise every single person who decides to listen to this EP to show it to their parents too, because they will enjoy it equally as much.
Aden: “For anybody watching, thank you so much. And any returning fans who used to know us when we released our songs last year, thank you so much for sticking around, because we have a lot in store.”
Listen to Running in Circles out now on all streaming platforms: