By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 22, 2007 at 5:14 AM

It started as something of a lark, and the band’s name may signal an end, but The Farewell Circuit is ready to say hello again to Milwaukee after a year in the Twin Cities.

Originally from Brew City, the quintet relocated to Minneapolis in the summer of  2006 to get noticed. But that notice came, perhaps ironically, from back home when New Sense’s Kristian Riley and the Burst Collective’s Daniel Holter began talking to the band about recording at Holter’s Wauwatosa studio.

The result is a self-titled, five-song EP showcasing the band’s melodic, emotive rock and roll that’s got crunchy guitars and memorable choruses.

As the band is wrapped up in replacing a founding member and preparing for a summer-long tour – booked by the band itself – of the U.S., we talked to drummer Geoff Hartnell about the band’s first move, it’s return and what the next step is.

OMC: I see on your site that The Farewell Circuit is a "Minneapolis band." I thought the band was from Milwaukee.

GH: We are currently residing in Minneapolis, Minn. We are originally from Milwaukee and last summer decided to make the move to Minneapolis to a bigger city with more opportunity. Minneapolis is great and we've been meeting some wonderful people here. However, we will actually be moving back to Milwaukee this summer to save money and tour.

OMC: What do you think of the music scene here?

GH: The music scene, as with any place, has positives and negatives. We honestly had a harder time breaking into the Milwaukee scene than the Minneapolis scene, which seems backwards to us. Milwaukee does have some great places to play and as I said it's home to us so it has a special place in our hearts.

OMC: Can you tell us a little about the history of the band?

GH: The Farewell Circuit started in the summer of 2003 when we were all back from college. The band was much more of a project to have fun. We all returned to school and played shows during holiday breaks but finally started taking things serious 2006 a little before Daniel Holter expressed interest to start working on the EP. Actually, Danny (O’Brien, lead singer/rhythm guitar) and I are the only two now from the original line-up. The most recent departure was Zach (Hartnell) who left this past month to pursue finishing his education at Wheaton College in Illinois. We are currently working with a new guitar player for upcoming shows.

OMC: How did you guys decide to come to Burst to record with Dan Holter and Kristian Riley?

GH: We had been in contact via e-mail with Daniel for a while but it was nothing to take note of. It was more of an "it'd be cool to work together someday" contact. Then in early 2006 talks began to increase and we threw around the idea of an EP. We were really excited due to the fact of what Daniel has accomplished and he mentioned Kristian Riley working on the project as well which thrilled us. Kristian has produced some of the music we love -- Maritime, The Promise Ring, Headlights, etc. -- We started pre-production to see where it would lead us and we came out of it with an EP.

OMC: How was the experience? Will you do more work with them?

GH: The experience was amazing. We had never been in an actual studio. We had just done a lot of home demos and self-production. Pre-production was really rough at first because we had two guys telling us that our songs didn't cut it and that we needed to write something better for the parts/songs etc. It was a huge pill to swallow but looking back we've grown so much through that process. The actual recording process was a little nerve wracking since we'd never stepped foot into an actual studio but Kristian and Daniel made Burst our home and were extremely encouraging and it was such an honor to work with them. We plan to hopefully be working back at Burst in the near future for a full length.

OMC: So the EP is just a taste of a full-length to come?

GH: Yeah, the EP is five songs that we've put our hearts into and have been writing none stop since. Even though it's cliché to say, we're more excited than ever about our new songs. We've grown so much over the past year and have Daniel and Kristian to thank. So we plan to be working hard on a full length after we tour and promote the new EP as much as possible.

OMC: Looks like you've got a long summer tour on the books, sort of. It appears that there are cities but no venues, just a note that says,  "Help Us Book." Tell us a little about that.

GH: Ha ha. Well, we're currently booking ourselves. We're talking to a booking agent; however, it's not the easiest thing to book 40 shows across the Midwest and East Coast by yourself. So we're looking to the people who love and listen to our music for there help. We've been working with promoters and venues and others heavily as well but wanted to give the fans a chance to help out. So we're busy booking our summer and fall tours.

OMC: When and where is the next Milwaukee gig?

GH: We are working on booking shows in Milwaukee. So, we currently do not have any shows in Milwaukee but keep your eyes open for a bunch of dates since we're moving back in June. 

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.