It was our honour to have gotten the chance to get Jon (gutiarist/ vocals) from Conan (Burning World/ Head Of Crom) to answer a few questions.
After seeing them play at Royal Park Cellars with Wizard's Beard, Five Will Die, ZARK! and Sloth Hammer we were eager to find out more about the existence of the these 3 heavy gentleman.
These questions were fielded to Jon Davis via email on 17th September, 2011 and here is what he said:
How long has Conan been a band and are there any interesting stories surrounding the formation?
We've been called Conan since 2006. The name Conan came about when I wanted to change the name to something which fitted the music better. Interesting story - hmmmmm, I once turned up to jam with a drummer (been waiting weeks to meet him) and when I walked in there was a room full of people who were all auditioning for this classic metal band he was trying to put together, they tried to get me to jam over Voodoo Chile - I'm still fucking annoyed about it now!
Are there any things (if any) that specifically inspire your music?
I am influenced by slow music (Slomatics, Zoroaster, Sabbath) and faster more aggressive stuff (It's Casual, Sick of it All, Black Cobra). Theme wise, I like mythology / science fiction and escapist stuff. It's much easier writing about how it might feel to destroy an Evil King with a storm of flaming spears than it does to sing about some boring shit from 'real life'. We have to live that stuff day to day, I don't see any point at all in 'reliving' it at shows.
What would you say made you first start being passionate about slow heavy music?
At the most basic level there are three things - fuzz pedals, valve amps, volume. When I think about it for longer - I've played in bands that did the whole 'rock' thing and it was ok but I remember starting to get into 'slower' stuff and writing a few tracks along these lines - one track was called 'Project Bloat' - blast from the past. This was a bout 4 or 5 years before Conan was formed. Back then I had a 50 watt sound city, a Marshall 4x12, big muff and a Fender Jaguar.
What has been your favourite gig to date (if there is one)?
Since HBBH was written we have played quite a few shows and I would be hard pressed to favour one over another in terms of how much we enjoyed the crowd or the venue or whatever but I've mentioned a band called Slomatics a few times and since I first got to know them a few years ago I have become a huge fan and pretty good mates with them. Slomatics are a huge influence on me and the lads have helped me a lot through the formative years of Conan. Well, recently we played three dates in Ireland and two of the shows (Dublin and Belfast) were with Slomatics. All three shows were amazing but the two with Slomatics were just fucking unreal. Hanging out with them was just an amazing experience and seeing them play twice was just mind-blowing. Slomatics are simply essential listening for any one into heavy riffs.
What bands are you currently listening to?
Right now I am listening to a lot of Bolt Thrower, It's Casual, Earth (my 18 month old Daughter and I really enjoy listening to Angels of Darkness together..... and Black Cobra (she doesn't like Black Cobra as much as I do though.....).
What rig set up do you have to get that crippling distortion (if u can divulge)?
Live I use a mixture of cloned pedals - a rat, a muff, a fuzz face and a tone bender mk3...... Matamp and Marshall valve amps with a mix of 4x12s and 2x15s. In the studio it's different..... Maybe.....
Who recorded your Horseback Battle Hammer EP and how was it to work with said engineer?
Our engineer for HBBH was Chris Fielding and we recorded it at Foel Studios. First off, the studio is just an amazing place on many levels. Moving onto your question, Chris was just perfect. He is a guy who is clearly very talented at what he does - he both understood, and helped us to get, the sound we were after. All of this and he is a fucking great guy too, we enjoy hanging out with him amongst everything else. He's just fucking cool, and amazing at what he does - we couldn't ask for more....
What do you have planned in the near future in terms of recordings/ gigs/ releases?
Between now and Xmas we play Leeds twice (Filthfest and Damnation Festival), we play London, Birmingham (one of these Birmingham shows is the the Meltdown Festival), Cardiff and Edinburgh. Early october will see the release on cd of the split we did with Slomatics. This is out on Burning World Records (Holland). In December we go to Foel Studios to record our new album, this is due to be released in Feb / March 2012 by Burning World Records also. In our opinion the new material is sounding great so far.
Anything else you would like to add (plug away)...
Well, all we would like to say is thanks to anyone who has ever said anything positive about us.
Thank you to Conan letting us probe them. Such nice guys, let's hope the mighty sword of Conan outstretches to regions further afield, we wish them the best for the future. And with the release of their new album with Burning World records (the guys that bring you the ever popular Roadburn festival in Tilburg) we predict big things, no... GIANT things for the future.
Here is some footage of Conan at the Leeds gig 15/09/11 playing "Krull" off their EP "Horseback Battle Hammer", courtesy of Jez Walshaw: