Arriving after an extended hiatus, the original line-up of Paul “Bee” Hampshire and Barry Jepson, are back together and very pleased to present a new glimpse of their first new material for some 34 years.
Originally penned in the mid-80s and long before the dawn of the internet, “Mercenaries” finds the literate London band return with a track that emphasises that old adage that the pen is always mightier than the sword. As Into A Circle say:
“”Mercenaries” is about the power of the word and how books can shape a person, and their ideals, in both constructive ways and destructive ways.”
With themes of literature, philosophy and religion often visited throughout the band’s oeuvre, “Mercenaries” marks a welcome return to true Into A Circle territory. As personal as it is evocatively potent, the single finds Bee unearthing memories of his childhood at a faith school and reflecting on how those experiences would ultimately influence his rebellious later years. As Bee says:
“As a young child, I attended a very religious school where each kid was given a personal bible. In the beginning, was the word! In my mid-teens, I put down the bible and picked up books by Brion Gysin and William Burroughs, whose mission was to cut up, rub out the word, lift the veil and explore the power and message behind the word.”
With Into A Circle earning a reputation for their visual innovations during the latter years of their 80s period, the release of “Mercenaries” is fittingly accompanied with a striking official video. Directed by Mark Jordan (a longtime friend of the band), the video holds a candle to revolutionary writers such as William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, while also paying homage to Throbbing Gristle trailblazer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge; all of whom have played a pivotal influence on Into A Circle. As Bee says of the video:
“Burroughs and Gysin showed me that there were different doors to perceive and grasp alternative interpretations but Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and the people around them, like Peter Christopherson and David Tibet, took me through those doors. The photograph of Robert De Grimston appears because the writings of the Process Church still thrill and confound me as much as the writings in the Old Testament do.”
Into A Circle AKA In2a0 are Paul “Bee” Hampshire and Barry Jepson. Barry (formerly a member of Southern Death Cult – a band that featured vocalist Ian Astbury and later went on to become The Cult) was introduced to Bee in the legendary post/punk band Getting The Fear). Splitting-off from the group in December 1985, they together formed Into A Circle.
Catching the attention of the legendary Arcadia label early-on, Into A Circle issued their debut single “Rise” (featuring the bittersweet accompaniment of Rose McDowall of Strawberry Switchblade), which shot to a No. 5 position in the UK Indie Singles Chart. Signing to Abstract Records in July 1986, Into A Circle then released the Top 20 denting ‘Inside Out’ EP (which featured input from seasoned guitar maestro Billy Morrison), which would pave the way for their seminal debut album: ‘Assassins‘.
Experimenting with a more electronic/dance oriented sound and with co-production by Larry Steinbachek of Bronski Beat, In2a0’s debut album would offer a suite of moreishly dark songs that touched on literature, theology, animism, sex, and spirituality. Featuring the fluid, funk-tinted Top 10 Indie Chart hit of “Forever” (ft. Rose McDowall) and the No.5 Indie Chart Hit “Evergreen” (with a video directed by Viv Albertine of The Slits), ‘Assassins’ would reach a peak of No.7 in the UK Indie Charts of Summer 1988 and become something of a cult classic in years to come.
Playing their last shows in 1989, a series of chance encounters would finally see Bee and Barry reconnect over three decades later. Discovering their potent creative chemistry still intact in 2022, Into A Circle have now begun hatching plans for what will be their first new material together since ‘Assassins’, as well as a clutch of live fixtures.
With a *special guest* appearance at Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival 2022 already confirmed for 29th October, new single “Mercenaries” is a tantalising preview of much more to come from Into A Circle’s long overdue reunion. Standby for further news from Into A Circle very soon.
INTO A CIRCLE – “MERCENARIES” – OUT NOW
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