David Fuller wrestles with goodbyes on local post-punk trio's new release

The Circle is Not Round, the second release from Columbus post-punk trio Hidden Places, opens with singer/guitarist David Fuller singing as his 15-year-old self, grieving the loss of his mother.

“Don't you remember when you told me how you'd lie/One hand over your chest, the other at your side/Eyelids would both be sealed so you could not see past/Wearing your favorite clothes so they would always last,” Fuller sings, employing a plainspoken, Ian Curtis-evoking style that occasionally erupts into plaintive bleats on leadoff track “Commencement.”

“The first song is about immediate grief — just feeling this immediate shock. You have no idea what to do, and you're like, ‘I'm going to feel this way for the rest of my life,’” Fuller said recently by phone. “And then the next song (‘Baby Tracy’) is about the exact same loss, but from a completely different standpoint, where I don't really feel much about this anymore because it's been so long. And that makes me sad that I don't feel bad. It makes me feel guilty, like I should still be really upset about this. … Don't get me wrong — of course there's still a deep sadness associated with that. But also I've kind of moved past it, and I don't exactly know how to feel about that, and I don't know how to verbalize that. So I'm going to try to put that in art in some fashion.”

Fuller originally started Hidden Places with former bandmate Kiko Cvetanovski about four years ago. At one point, when discussing album titles, Cvetanovski sent him an image from an Eastern European art film. “It was a spray-painted wall that says, ‘Time never dies. The circle is not round,’” Fuller said. “That's a crazy phrase, and that put me in a big headspace [for the album] — for it to start on one character, and for it to end up being about somebody completely different.”

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And so, on the record’s final track, “Baskin 3,” Fuller says a different kind of goodbye. “Milo is a rapper, and he's one of my all-time favorite artists, and he has been since I was 15. The whole last song is about how he gave up that moniker and is no longer making music under that name,” Fuller said, referring to the Wisconsin musician who now performs as R.A.P. Ferreira. “The whole song is also about when we played a show with him. For me, that was like, ‘This is the best thing this band has ever done, and this is the only thing I've ever wanted to do with this band.’ It felt like the beginning of something really big for me, but also the ending of somebody’s career that put me on that path.”

Hidden Places, which now consists of Fuller, drummer Matthew McCroskey and bassist Nick Shew (of former Alive Band to Watch the Bascinets), recorded the album’s eight songs with Tristan Huygen (also of the Bascinets) in 2018 and originally planned to celebrate the new record with a cassette release show at the Big Room Bar, with more tour dates to follow. While those shows were canceled due to coronavirus-related closures, the band will still release the cassette on Friday, April 17, with all proceeds from the first week going to the BQIC Emergency Fund.

For Fuller, writing The Circle is Not Round during his last year of college helped him find a sense of closure in more ways than one, but he credits much of the healing to the band itself; the art-making was essential, but the people even more so. “Through this band I have made some of my best friends that I'll ever make — people that I will hold onto for the rest of my life,” he said. “It’s the people that I met and those conversations that I had, and I would have never had those conversations if I hadn't written those songs.”