By Catherine Twing, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – 2020 has been a disappointing year for fans of live music, and even harder on bands and venues. But an alternative rock group from Marlborough has something to celebrate.
Local band Circus Trees is up for Rock Artist of the Year in the 2020 Boston Music Awards, sharing the category with some of their idols like the band Caspian.
The band is made up of three sisters from Marlborough: Giuls McCarthy, a recent graduate of Marlborough High School (MHS), and Fin and Edmee McCarthy, current MHS students.
They proudly describe their music as “sad.”
“Our genre that we actually play is post rock,” Fin said. “It’s an underground genre that not a lot of people know. Circus Trees are trees people bend into cool shapes…I thought it sounded cool, looked cool, and we’ve always had a thing with nature.”
They mostly perform locally, but have received positive feedback from critics in Mexico, Germany and Italy. In 2019 they played some big festivals including the Lowell Town and City Festival, Post New England in Manchester, N.H., and Post Festival in Indianapolis, Ind.
Due to the pandemic, they have not been able to perform for almost a year. After having to cancel a show earlier this year there was more disappointment when several of their favorite music venues closed for good.
Although live performances have paused, the sisters have been hard at work recording new music and working on their family record label, Two by Five Records. Their album, Delusions, was released in August and is available to stream on Spotify, Band Camp and Apple Music.
Two By Five Records is run from the family home where they have a recording studio and represent five local bands.
“We all have our jobs on the label,” Giuls said. “Our older brother Eoghan has gotten big into sound engineering; Fin’s gotten really into video. Edmee built the whole Five By Two website. Our dad [Robert] runs the record label.”
Although music is a family business now, it wasn’t always that way.
“Our dad is not musical at all; we don’t have musical people in our family. But when we were super young our older brother was like, ‘I want to play the bass’ and everyone kind of freaked out because nobody does that in this family,” Fin said. “After that we all fell in line and started playing different instruments.”
Before they formed Circus Trees in 2018, the sisters and their two brothers played in a band together and played in groups outside of their family.
While some people may think it would be challenging working with family, the McCarthys enjoy it.
“I really like my family,” Fin noted. “We hang out all the time, just us, and fool around and joke, make fun of each other. We have a really tight-knit family and being able to work together is super cool.”
Giuls and Edmee agree that it’s easier to work with family because they aren’t afraid to share opposing ideas.
“It’s definitely nice getting into a big fight and the next day to wake up and be perfectly fine,” Edmee said.
Another artist on the label, Aaron Garcia who performs as Pillbook, is also very involved in the creative development of the record label. He received three nominations in the Boston Music Awards this year: New Artist of the Year, Pop Artist of the Year and Vocalist of the Year.
The Boston Music Awards are set to take place virtually Friday, Dec. 11, and voting is open now. Anyone can vote at bostonmusicawards.com/vote.