Prime Circle

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Prime Circle
Prime Circle Live.jpg
Prime Circle performing live on-stage
Background information
Origin Witbank, South Africa
Years active 2000–present
Labels David Gresham, EMI, Prime Records
  • Ross Learmonth
  • Dale Schnettler
  • Dirk Bisschoff
  • Marco Gomes
  • Neil Breytenbach
Past members
  • Gerhard Venter

Prime Circle are a South African rock band, operating out of Johannesburg. The band has released six studio albums to date and achieved multi-platinum-selling status in South Africa.

After notching up six studio albums, several chart-topping singles, a string of awards and countless sold-out gigs, Prime Circle have earned their status as South African rock royalty. Now they are also making strong inroads into the European market, gigging intensively and being playlisted on German radio – and to crown it all, the band is headlining major German rock festivals.

In mid-2016, Prime Circle's single Ghosts reached the top 150 of Germany’s weekly airplay charts. This came on the back of performing at mega-events such as Rock im Revier, Rockavaria and Rock in Vienna in Germany and Austria alongside Iron Maiden and Iggy Pop, to promote their first official European release, Let the Night In – Deluxe Edition. Prime Circle were also the headline act at the Kieler Woche, the world’s leading sailing event, as well as Hamburg Harley Days – the biggest annual Harley Davidson gathering in Germany. They also took their powerful live act to football audiences at the UEFA Champions League Festival in Milan.

Between July and September, Prime Circle were booked to open as special guests for Berlin superstars The BossHoss during a succession of German festival dates. And in August, the band was invited to headline the Rock Auf Der Berg Königstein and the Pflasterfest in Hameln, also in Germany – an outstanding achievement and a fitting tribute to their persistent hard work and dedication.

Formed in Witbank, Mpumalanga, in 2001, Prime Circle have demonstrated unparallelled staying power with a dynamic signature sound that continues to evolve in exciting, progressive directions. The five members have shown it is possible to be a successful and enduring South African rock act by constantly challenging themselves while exploring new geographical and musical horizons. Their six albums – Hello Crazy World (2003), Live This Life (2005), All or Nothing (2008), Jeckyll & Hyde (2010), Evidence (2012) and Let the Night In (2014) – have all reached gold or platinum status, morphing in style from commercial, anthemic radio hits to a harder, edgier sound.

Prime Circle have won several South African Music Awards for their albums and music videos, including Best Music Video of the Year at the SAMA XXI category as well as nominated for the MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Pop & Alternative Act and Best Music Video of the Year for their single DOORS off their album Let The Night In. The band was also nominated for Best Artist in African Rock at the All Africa Music Awards.

Over the past few years, they have taken their well-crafted tunes and powerful live energy to international markets while not forgetting their massive South African fan base. They have toured extensively throughout Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Spain and Switzerland – as well as Germany, which is fast becoming the band’s second home. Says singer-songwriter Ross Learmonth: “Without the fans, we would be nothing. And I don’t ever want to do anything else. Creating music for a living is a privilege, and we never forget that.”


Early years[edit]

The band initially signed with independent local label, David Gresham Records with a two-album deal. These albums produced the signature sound and style of the band yielding songs such as "Same Goes For You", "Hello", "As Long as I'm Here", "Father", "Shed My Skin", "My Inspiration", "Let Me Go", "Weaker Still", "Live This Life", "Fall Too Fast", "New Phase", "Miracle", "the Way It Could Be" and "Maybe Wrong".[1]

Hello Crazy World (2002)[edit]

Their July 2002 debut album, "Hello Crazy World" was a success in South Africa with the first single, "Hello" topping the national charts for 28 weeks.[2]

This was followed in 2003 and 2004 by “Let Me Go”, “As Long As I Am Here”, “My Inspiration” and “Same Goes For You” all topping the charts in 2003 and 2004. The album achieved platinum sales status.[2] The follow up album, “Live This Life” was already in the making and was released in 2005.

Live This Life (2005)[edit]

Their second album "Live this Life" (October 2005 release) reached gold status early in 2006 and “Miracle”, “Maybe Wrong” and “Way It Could Be” joined the title track of the album in chart success through to 2007 with a remake of “As Long As I Am Here” following on their heels. The two albums cemented their position as the biggest selling South African rock act of 2003/2004/2005/2006.[3]

In 2007 the band performed internationally at the Dubai Desert Rock Festival with names like Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Robert Plant and later that year sharing the second 46664 stage with acts like Peter Gabriel, Live and GooGoo Dolls.

Living In A Crazy World (DVD) (2006)[edit]

In July 2006, a DVD entitled Living in a Crazy World was released, which featured hits from their first two albums performed live at The Function Room in Johannesburg.

Best of (box set) (2007)[edit]

In 2007 David Gresham Records released a CD / DVD Best of box set which followed the success of previous albums. The CD featured 17 tracks including some acoustic, live and remixed versions of previously released tracks and a new track, Moments which reached no.1 on many local radio charts.[4]

All or Nothing (CD & DVD) (2008)[edit]

Neil Breytenbach joined the band on the keyboards in July 2007 and pre-production of “All Or Nothing” commenced before the end of the year. Neil's arrival opened the band up to adding more keyboards to their songs, especially in live performances.

All or Nothing was released by the band's new record label, EMI Music South Africa in June 2008 followed in 2009 by a live DVD recorded during the launch of the album. The DVD release coincided with an international release of the All or Nothing CD.

In 2009 "All or Nothing" reached platinum status and charted with “Out Of This Place” and “All I Need”, “Consider Me”. The album was nominated for a SAMA in that year,[5] and "Consider Me" brought another nomination for the band the following year.[6]

2009 saw Prime Circle depart for a tour of Dubai, Bahrain and London and following on from the exposure gained from their performances around the 20/20 cricket series held in South Africa, embarked on a Hard Rock Cafe tour of India.[7] Their first foray into Europe came that year with showcases in Berlin and Cologne.[8]

In 2010 the band returned to India playing the Rock in India concert[9]

Jekyll & Hyde (2010)[edit]

In early 2010 the band began work on their 4th studio album "Jekyll & Hyde". Kevin Shirley mastered the tracks.[10]

"Jekyll & Hyde" was released in South Africa in September 2010 in derivatives: A single CD, a double CD featuring the live audio recordings from the "All Or Nothing" DVD and a CD/DVD pack featuring a documentary shot during the band's second tour to India.

The album's first single Breathing, released in August went no.1 on regional stations in the first week[citation needed] and repeated the chart topping success on national radio.[11] The track topped the radio airplay charts for that year (most played).[citation needed]

Evidence (2012)[edit]

In July 2012 the band entered the studio to record their fifth studio album "Evidence" which was released on 12 November 2012.[12]

The first released single from this album, "Time Kills Us All" played on radio for the first time on 28 September 2012 and just missed the top position on the KIA Take 40 SA 15 weeks later reaching position 2 but staying in the charts for 18 weeks.[citation needed]

In November 2012 the second single and title track of the album was released on national radio station, 5FM followed by a South African national "Evidence" tour.

On 7 February 2013 the band announced the dates for their return to Germany to launch the album in Europe. The band was barely back in South Africa before announcing that in June 2013 they would be opening for 3 Doors Down in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland during that band's Best of album tour.

Let The Night In (2014)[edit]

The band released their 6th studio album entitled Let The Night In on 13 June 2014 under their own label. For the first time, the band will be visiting countries like France and Spain in the initial leg of touring the album in June, and will feature at Graspop in Belgium for the first time too. On their return to South Africa they embarked on their first ever arena tour of the country with 3 sold out dates at The Teatro, Montecasino, and their first appearance at the Grand Arena, Grand West. The first single from the album, "Gone" was released 21 May 2014. The song received critical acclaim with its rock/hip hop styling receiving airplay on stations previously the preserve of more urban sounds and topping radio charts across South Africa. The second single, Doors, was released on 21 August 2014 immediately entering the charts on numerous radio stations. On 6 October 2014, the band returned to Europe for a month-long tour including Germany, Austria, Belgium, United Kingdom and for the first time, Italy.

Keep Marching On (2017)[edit]

Prime Circle in association with RADA Unearthed, present Keep Marching On. RADA Unearthed is a project established to support the musical arts. RADA Unearthed caters for all artists from all genres of music, whether you are an aspiring singer songwriter, an established artist, or a DJ wishing to make a mark.


The list of acts they have shared stages with over the years including:

Queen, Annie Lennox, Katie Melua, Will Smith, Seether, Metallica, Collective Soul, Rasmus, Iron Maiden, Incubus, In Flames, Mastedon, Robert Plant, Prodigy, Peter Gabriel, GooGoo Dolls, Live, Korn, Limp Bizkit, W.A.S.P., Skillet, Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, Sabaton, Muse, Hugh Masakela, Chris Cornell, Good Charlotte, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Kaizer Chiefs, Simple Plan, 3 Doors Down, Dropkick Murphys, Slash, Guano Apes, Soulfly, August Burns Red, Puddle Of Mudd, Richard Marx, Megadeth, Rob Zombie, Alice in Chains, Anthrax, Slayer, Bring Me the Horizon, Steel Panther, Black Label Society, Sepultura, Mastodon, Trivium, K's Choice, Billy Talent, Feeder, Ugly Kid Joe, Stone Sour, Beth Hart, Johnny Clegg, The Bravery, Jamiroquai, Alter Bridge, Garbage, The BossHoss, Iggy Pop, Rammstein, The Subways, Royal Republic, Nightwish, In Extremo, Kreator, Gojira, Powerwolf, Zakk Wyle, Shinedown, Scott Strapp and Biffy Clyro.

International Tours[edit]

International stages that have hosted the band include:

2007: Desert Rock Festival, Dubai . Headliners for Dubai Desert Rock Festival included the likes of Iron Maiden, Stone Sour, Inflames, Incubus, The Prodigy, The Bravery and more.

2010: Rock ‘N India, India

2011: Reload Festival, Germany . Headliners ranged from Dropkick Murphys, Slash feat. Miles Kennedy & the Conspirators, Guano Apes, Puddle of Mudd and more.

2012: Homelandz Festival, UK

2014: Graspop Metal Meeting, Belgium. Played on the main stage alongside headliners Black Sabbath, Carcass and Napalm Death.

2016: Stage was shared with the likes of Rammstein, Slayer, Anthrax, BABYMETAL, Iggy Pop, Biffy Clyro, Monster Truck, Nightwish, Shinedown, and Iron Maiden

  • UEFA Champions Festival, Milan
  • Live from the official football festival of the UEFA Champions League
  • Rock im Revier Festival, Dortmund
  • Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Sabaton, Anthrax, Apocalyptica, Slayer
  • Rockavaria Festival, Munich
  • Iggy Pop, Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Anthrax, Slayer, and more.
  • Rock in Vienna, Austria

2017: 02 Academy Islington, London


  • 2005 — Johannesburg Choice Award
  • 2005 — FHM Awards
  • 2009 — SAMA "Record of the Year": "She Always Gets What She Wants" (Nominated)
  • 2009 — SAMA "Best Rock Album — English": All or Nothing (Nominated)
  • 2010 — SAMA "Record of the Year": "Consider Me" (Nominated)
  • 2010 — SAMA "Best Global Chart Live DVD" for All or Nothing LIVE DVD (Nominated)
  • 2011 — SAMA "Record of the Year": "Breathing" (Nominated)
  • 2011 — SAMA "Album of the Year": Jekyll & Hyde (Nominated)
  • 2011 — SAMA "Best Duo or Group" (Nominated)
  • 2011 — SAMA "Best Rock Album – English": Jekyll & Hyde
  • 2011 — SAMA "Best Producer": Theo Crous for Jekyll & Hyde (Nominated)
  • 2011 — SAMA "Best Album Packaging": Jekyll & Hyde (Nominated)
  • 2011 — MK "International Break Through Act"
  • 2012 — SAMA "Record of the Year": Turning in My Sleep (Nominated)
  • 2013 — SAMA "Best Rock Album — English": Evidence (Nominated)
  • 2013 — SAMA "Best Video": Evidence (Nominated)
  • 2013 — SAMA "Best producer": Theo Crous for Evidence (Nominated)
  • 2015 — Short&Sweet Music Video Awards Cape Town "Best Rock Video" for "Doors"[13]
  • 2015 – SAMA "Best Rock Album": Let The Night In (Nominated)[14]
  • 2015 – SAMA "Best Producer": Denholm Harding for Let The Night In (Nominated)
  • 2015 – SAMA "Best Engineer": Brendyn Rossouw/Heritage Sound for Let The Night In (Nominated)
  • 2015 – SAMA "Best Music Video": Doors [15]
  • 2015 – MTV AFRICA MUSIC AWARDS "Video of the Year": Doors (Nominated)
  • 2015 – MTV AFRICA MUSIC AWARDS "Best Pop & Alternative" (Nominated) [16]
  • 2015 - All African Music Awards "Best African Rock" (Nominated) [17]

Band members[edit]

Current Members
Past members
  • Gerhard Venter


Studio Albums[edit]

Compilations, special releases and DVD releases[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Powerzone Website [1]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  2. ^ a b George Herald Newspaper [2]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  3. ^ Pe Express Newspaper [3]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  4. ^ [4]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  5. ^ Media24 News website [5]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  6. ^ Media24 News website [6]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  7. ^ MIO news website [7]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  8. ^ Eventful Website [8]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  9. ^ Radio & Music [9]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  10. ^ MIO News Website [10]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  11. ^ Music Review website [11]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  12. ^ Rolling Stone [12]. Retrieved on 12 June 2013
  13. ^ Short & Sweet [13]. Retrieved on 2 April 2015
  14. ^ SAMA 21 Nominees [14]. Retrieved on 2 April 2015
  15. ^ SAMA 21 Winners [15]. Retrieved on 21 April 2015
  16. ^ MAMA 2015 Nominees [16]. Retrieved on 12 June 2015
  17. ^ Afrima 2015 Nominees [17]. Retrieved 02 October 2015

External links[edit]