Chameleon Circuit (band)

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Chameleon Circuit
ChamCirc VidCon 2011 3.jpg
Chameleon Circuit performing at VidCon, July 2011.
Background information
OriginLondon, UK
Years active2008 – 2014
LabelsDFTBA Records
Associated actsSons of Admirals
Past membersCharlie McDonnell
Liam Dryden
Michael Aranda
Chris Beattie
Ed Blann
Alex Day

Chameleon Circuit was a band known for creating music inspired by the British television series Doctor Who. Composed of popular UK YouTube vloggers and Doctor Who fans, the band released their self-titled debut album on 1 June 2009.[1]

At the beginning of 2011, Chameleon Circuit, in their new line-up of Alex Day, Charlie McDonnell, Liam Dryden, Ed Blann and American YouTuber Michael Aranda (who had originally signed up under a producing role), began work on their second album Still Got Legs. It was released on 12 July 2011.[1] and charted on the UK iTunes Album and Rock Album charts, and on the Billboard Heatseekers chart in the United States at #23.[2]


2008–2009: Formation & debut album[edit]

Inspired by the growing phenomenon of Wizard rock, Alex Day, a YouTuber and fan of Doctor Who, was inspired to begin writing songs about the TV series in summer 2008, and dubbed the resulting genre "Time Lord Rock" (or "Trock" for short).[3][4] Charlie McDonnell, also a fan, did the same, and released an acoustic video performance of "Blink" on YouTube.[5] With the addition of Scottish vloggers Liam Dryden and Chris Beattie, Chameleon Circuit were formed and immediately began work on their first album.[4] It was arranged to be released under the newly founded DFTBA Records, which had been set up by Alan Lastufka and Hank Green later the same year, to provide popular YouTube musicians an outlet for releasing their music professionally.

The release of Chameleon Circuit's debut album was delayed when conflict arose with their original producer, who did not want to complete production of the album. After unsuccessfully searching for a replacement producer, Chameleon Circuit were forced to release Chameleon Circuit uncompleted.[6] Regardless, it still received some critical acclaim, including a positive review on Den of Geek[7] and an article in Doctor Who Magazine.[8] Former Doctor David Tennant, in an interview, described Chameleon Circuit as "proper decent music". In July 2010, their song "Count the Shadows" also appeared on DFTBA Records, Volume Two, a compilation sampler that was given for free in grab bags at VidCon 2010.[9]

2010–2014: Still Got Legs[edit]

In late 2010, the members of Chameleon Circuit announced that work had begun on their second album, with American YouTuber Michael Aranda working as producer. In January 2011, Chameleon Circuit officially announced the departure of Chris Beattie and the addition of Ed Blann to the band, as well as the album title, Still Got Legs (so named for the Eleventh Doctor's exclamation upon his regeneration).

In April 2011 Chameleon Circuit found themselves struggling with producer trouble when Aranda was refused entry back into the UK by border officials after a trip to France. The band set up an online petition to help him re-enter England, and were successful. Aranda was granted a week's re-entry to the UK. Meanwhile, drink company Red Bull were made aware of Chameleon Circuit's predicament and offered to send the band to Paris to complete their recording.[10] Following this incident, Aranda was announced an official member of the band.

Chameleon Circuit finished their recording and played the album to a small number of fans at Red Bull's London studio in June 2011. The album was made available for pre-order the same weekend, and was released via DFTBA on 12 July 2011. The album charted on the Billboard Heatseekers chart at #23.[2][11] On 31 July, Chameleon Circuit performed songs from Still Got Legs as well as a few from their first album, in a live show at VidCon 2011.

As a part of YouTube's Geek Week in August 2013, Chameleon Circuit released their music video for their track "Teenage Rebel", filmed partly in the set of the TARDIS used in the TV series. [12][13] A second video for "The Doctor Is Dying" was released by the band in November 2013 as a part of BBC America and Nerdist's "Doctor Who Week", an event that took place on YouTube in the week building up to Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special. [14] The band were also heavily featured in "The Story Of Trock", a radio episode played on BBC Radio 1 on November 25th. The band provided interviews for the episode and songs from their discography comprised the bulk of its soundtrack.[15]

In January 2014, in response to a question from a fan on his Tumblr, Alex Day confirmed that Ed Blann had decided to leave the band.[16] After public condemnation toward Day due to accusations of emotional manipulation[17], the band began an unannounced hiatus; the band currently has no plans to continue in the future.


Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Heat
Chameleon Circuit
Still Got Legs 23
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released

Music videos[edit]

Year Name
2009 An Awful Lot of Running
2010 Type 40
2013 Teenage Rebel
The Doctor is Dying

Band members[edit]

  • Charlie McDonnell – vocals, guitar, ukulele, keyboards, melodica, stylophone (2008–2014)
  • Liam Dryden – vocals, keyboard, bass (2008–2014)
  • Michael Aranda – backing vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, percussion, turntables, sampling (2011–2014)
  • Chris Beattie – vocals, guitar, ukulele (2008–2009)
  • Ed Blann – vocals, guitar (2011–2014)
  • Alex Day – vocals, guitar, bass (2008–2014)


  1. ^ a b "Music – Chameleon Circuit – DFTBA Records LLC". DFTBA records. Archived from the original on 3 April 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Billboard Heatseekers Chart for July 30, 2011". Billboard. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  3. ^ Wilkes, Neil. "Introducing Trock: Songs about 'Doctor Who'". Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b Harvison, Anthony. "Chameleon Circuit review and interview". Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  5. ^ McDonnell, Charlie. "Still got Legs". Charlie McDonnell. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Chameleon Circuit Review and Interview- Den of Geek". Anthony Harvison. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Chameleon Circuit – Doctor Who Magazine – Benjamin Cook". Benjamin Cook. Archived from the original on 30 July 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Available for FREE, exclusively at VidCon". Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  9. ^ "Chameleon Circuit's Teenage Rebel – YouTube". Alex Day. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  10. ^ a b Nielson Soundscan (30 July 2011). "Heatseekers Albums". Billboard Magazine: 61.
  11. ^ "The Official Doctor Who Video With Alex Day For Chameleon Circuit's Teenage Rebel – Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors". 5 August 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Chameleon Circuit: Alex Day's New Doctor Who-Inspired Video "Teenage Rebel"". SFX. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  13. ^ "Chameleon Circuit – The Doctor Is Dying – YouTube". Alex Day. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  14. ^ "BBC Radio 1's Stories – The Story Of Trock – BBC Radio 1". BBC. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  15. ^ ""Is Eddplant still a member of Chameleon Circuit?"". Tumblr. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  16. ^ Butterly, Amelia (20 March 2014). "Vlogger admits 'manipulative relationships with women'". Retrieved 4 April 2018.

External links[edit]