|Label:||Burning World Records|
Jon Davis of rising Liverpool doom leviathans Conan took time out from vaporising crania with riffs to answer a few questions for us.
BR: For readers who are new to the band, what would be the motto on the Conan coat of arms?
I can't speak much Latin but it would be translated into English as 'Less is More' (something like 'minis est magis' – internet search ed.)
BR: What are you up to at the moment?
Currently getting back to normal after a tour throw Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. We're playing with Sleep on the 5th of May so I'm trying to post out some merch orders before we go.
BR: I'm intrigued by the minimalist approach to lyrics on 'Monnos', it fits your 'Caveman Doom' tag perfectly, but the images are strong. Do you start out with more expansive language and whittle it down to the bare bones, or is it really just a case of whacking a few basic phrases about barbarian life in there?
Well generally speaking we will write the music first with a 'theme' in mind. Normally we have some broad lyrics in there to set the scene but during the writing process we whittle them down. We like to leave some to the imagination and so keep sentences to a minimum and we also don't like to use long passages of vocals - instead preferring to let the guitar, bass and drums do the talking.
BR: Has there been any change in the guitar/bass set-up you used on 'Horseback Battle Hammer'? Both albums are dense as fuck, but I wondered if there was any attempt to take on even more heavy artillery for 'Monnos'.
Well yeah a bit, when recording Monnos we used our entire live rig to get the sound you hear, it was brutally loud in the studio and I think that came across in he recording. In terms of effects, on HBBH guitars and bass were run though fuzz pedals, whereas on Monnos the bass had no distortion at all. Our overall setup for both albums has been pretty similar in the studio but live we now use twice as many cabs for more volume.
BR: What is that tuning? I think if I tried it on my £75 guitar, the bridge would collapse, and the strings would sound like Ravi Shankar falling off stage.
It's dropped F. We first tend to C, but thn thought we'd take it as low as we could just to see. It sounded pretty cool in practice so we stuck with it. There is only one set of bass strings capable of the gauge we use as far as I am aware. We just like how it sounds but we do play higher up the fretboard too.
BR: Outside of music, what is your biggest influence?
I would say outside of music my parents and my Grandparents are a big influence. They've been through more of life's ups and downs than I have and I have learned a lot from them about working hard and enjoying life. They've helped me feel like part of a cool family and that is something I want to pass onto my own kids.
BR: What are you listening to at the moment?
Right now demos for the new Slomatics album. I've been a fan and friend of theirs for years now and this new stuff is just fucking amazing. They've a new drummer and you can definitely see a slightly different path to these tunes.
BR: I hate questions like 'What's the scene like in.....?' but how much enthusiasm, support and opportunity to be heard is there for your type of music in Liverpool? Any bands you'd recommend?
In Liverpool I'm not sure to be honest as we don't get asked to play there very often. We play there on the 30 th June in the Lomax so I can tell you then - but I guess heavy music is popular but the city has less promoters willing to invest the time and effort into promoting it. We're trying to change that but we'll play anywhere, it doesn't have to be in Liverpool. From Liverpool, you should check out Black Magician, Iron Witch and Bendal Interlude as they're pretty cool - some great riffs there!
BR: The world is fucked, what are we going to do to change it?
I'm not sure there's anything that can be done to change its path to be honest. For some people the world is great, for others it's shit - it's all relative. There has always been bad politics and natural disasters and serial killers and all. That. If you look into history there has always been difficult times..... Ask anyone who was around during world war 1 and / or 2 and hey'd think the modern world was pretty fucking cool :)...
BR: PC or Mac?
PC, but I use an iPad sometimes at home too.
BR: Sabbath or Zep?
For me Sabbath, but Led Zeppelin are awesome too. I guess Sabbath are more 'metal' so they get my vote.
BR: If the world was going to end tomorrow, how would you recommend our readers spend their final hours?
I would recommend they get their friends and family and take a nice walk somewhere peaceful. They should sit down and eat some food and forget the onrushing doom, scary events aren't the problem - it's being afraid that ruins it for everyone..... Bad times will wash over you from time to time but you don't need to hold your breath until you are underwater so fuck it - enjoy what time you have left...
BR: Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Valhalla awaits you.
You're welcome man. Thanks for the positive comments about Monnos. We are really happy that you enjoyed listening to it.
Posted: Sun 29 April 2012