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Interview with UK doomsters – Conan

UK doomsters Conan  have been propagating their skull crushing music since the past decade. Last month, they released their 3rd album ‘Revengeance’ which is their heaviest yet. I spoke to vocalist/guitarist Jon Davis about ‘Revengeance’, recording the album and state of doom metal around the world and in India.

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Transcending Obscurity (Peter): Your sound has been described as Caveman Battle Doom. What about doom metal appeals to you and made you start a metal band?

Conan (Jon Davis): I think I like the simplicity and the heaviness. It seems like a very honest type of music that does not seem to be written by total pricks. Some other forms of music don’t have that appeal to me.

TO: Your new album ‘Revengeance’ sounds bone crushing heavy. Tell us a bit more about the album.

Conan (JD): Well, it’s 6 tracks long and is around 46 minutes (our longest record to date). The album is the first one to have Chris Fielding on bass and Rich Lewis on drums and I believe that their addition has made for a much stronger album with track that better show off the dynamics within the band.

TO: The album was recorded at your own studio, Skyhammer Studio. What do you feel are the main advantages of having your own studio?

Conan (JD):  The main advantages are that I don’t have to travel far when I get up in the morning and we can record in shorted gaps and not be so tied up in the availability of the studio – for example if the studio was empty we would call in and do a few hours mixing.

TO: This your second album to be released on Napalm Records. How did you get signed to them?

Conan (JD): They heard about us through the band AHAB, who we played with in Germany. (Liepzig). They contacted me and we got talking and then before you know it we have an album on the way.

Rich Lewis has been added to the lineup on drums. Has the change in lineup had an effect on the band?

Conan (JD): I would say so yes, the tracks sound a lot more aggressive now and he’s a cool guy to have in the tourbus. We have a blast.

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TO: The cover art for ‘Revengeance’ look awesome. Who is the artist? You cover artwork stands apart from the digital imagery that other bands use. How important is the visual aspect of the band for you?

Conan (JD): All of our artwork is done by Tony Roberts (www.blackmindseye.org) and he has been with us since day one. He’s a great artist and has done some great art for some great bands. Having cool album artwork and merch is very important to us as it kinda forms part of who we are.

TO: What do you think of originality in music?

Conan (JD): I think it is important.

TO: What are your interests/hobbies outside music?

Conan (JD): I don’t have any really aside from trying to stay sane. I run several businesses  so I juggle that really when I’m not with family.

TO: Did the Conan the Barbarian books and movies inspire your band name? What did you think about the remake of the Conan the Barbarian movie in 2011?

Conan (JD): The books were a definite inspiration, in addition to the works of Tolkien and others. I love Bakshi movies and old sci fi. I thought the new Conan movie was better than the originals as the action was more visceral, but let’s face it the movies aren’t as good as the books.

TO: Last year had the awesome doom metal releases from veterans like Paradise Lost and even newcomers Crypt Sermon. What are your thoughts on the current state of doom metal?

Conan (JD): The current state is healthy I think. There are lots of great bands, a good groundswell of good bands starting out and plenty of opportunities for them to aim for. It may be frustrating for those bands that don’t make it out of the starter blocks but for those of us to do the right things and tour / release good stuff there is a lot of fun to be had.

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TO: What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?

Conan (JD): I’ve been listening to a lot of Iron Maiden, Weezer, Slomatics, The Bendal Interlude and also dark wave bands such as Perturbator and VHS Glitch.

TO: India also has quite a few doom metal bands, some of them are Bevar Sea, Shepherd, Djinn and Miskatonic and Dormant Inferno. Have you heard any metal bands from India?

Conan (JD): They’re all cool as fuck. I have spoken to Srikanth from Bevar Sea a few times and he is awesome. I’m not very familiar with the movement as a whole but what I have heard has been awesome.

This month, Conan are touring USA with Serial Hawk and in April touring UK with The Bendale Interlude. If you are in any of the cities that they are performing, don’t miss the shows.  

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