Conjurer
Conjurer

Interview: Dan Nightingale and Conor Marshall of Conjurer

There’re some sounds that feel like they’ve been in slumber for thousands of years, that are only now starting to stir; biding its time until the hour of reprisal draws near as it slowly claws from the dirt. Conjurer have unearthed a monstrosity in all its gruesome glory that they’ve titled Mire. A tapestry of filth it’s nothing short of pure nightmare fuel at its most poisonous.

You can pretty much gather that this record isn’t exactly a cake walk. Putting your mind, body and soul through their paces, Mire stems from the darkest and most soberingly honest recesses of the human conscious. So much so, the band have only recently introduced the daunting track ‘Hollow’ into their live set as it exposes past wounds that depression has inflicted on the them.

Despite the darker tendencies they express in their music, guitarist/vocalist Dan Nightingale and bassist Conor Marshall are in a good mood as they express their disbelief to this overwhelming reaction to the album. Sitting down with the two at the Hold Tight offices in London before they headline the Black Heart on the second date of their album release tour, RAMzine has a quick chat to the band that’s got the underground shitting itself.

RAMzine: Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, we really appreciate it. Getting straight to the point; the album that you guys have coming out next month is nothing short of outstanding. We don’t say that lightly and we’re not blowing smoke up your arse – We generally can’t sleep! What’s interesting is that the hype behind this record has just been snowballing like crazy. Did you even expect a reaction like this at all? What are your feeling towards this kind of attention?

Dan Nightingale: Uh, confusion ha, ha! It’s something that you never expect to happen really.

RAM: Confusing? How so?

DN: As I say, it’s not something that you expect to happen. Like, when you go in and do an album, an EP or whatever, you don’t really think about the critical reception. You’re just doing something just because you like the music that you like playing with your friends and that’s all this has ever been really. As much as we really appreciate the praise and all the opportunities we’re getting, it’s not at the forefront of your mind. When it happens, it takes you by surprise and you’re just like, ‘Oh, okay; let me process this for a minute!’

Conjurer

Conjurer

RAM: They say uncomfortable art comes from an uncomfortable place. Where did this sound come from for you guys?

DN: It’s really difficult to say really. When me and Brady [Deeprose, guitar/vocals] started the band, there were a few influences that we were spewing over like Mastodon, Gojira, Black Dahlia Murder; and I was getting him into Converge at the time, so those were the kind of bands that were in our heads when we’d wanted to write, but nothing ever settled. It wasn’t like, ok we’re going to settle and go in this direction. There was no decision on the genre. We all like the same kind of music so I guess we should sit in the same room and play guitar.

RAM: Do you think that by putting the creative aspect first that heaviness will naturally follow and take care of itself? Like, are people wanting something that goes beyond simply sticking 10 tons on top of the last thing that came out?

DN: I think it’s a case of; for instance, just for this example I’ll use black metal with blast beats, if you are basing your entire sound on that one thing then you’re kind of screwed.

Conor Marshall: Nothing can come out of it except that you just have an album of blast beats.

DN: If you use heaviness as a tool and not as your main vehicle then if you just sprinkle it every now and again it sticks with you a bit more. Like with deathcore because it’s constant pummelling, pummelling, pummelling; you eventually become immune. If someone is punching you in the face constantly for 15 minutes, eventually it’s not going to hurt – saying that, it probably will ha, ha!

CM: I think a lot of it now has to do with the access you have to music, especially through the internet. Say, if you grew up in a thrash scene and that’s all you were really exposed to and you didn’t hear much else, chances are you’ll write a thrash album. Like using what you were saying as an example, it would be weird with the amount of music that you listen to from all different genres even, even if you just confine it to metal sub genres and all that, why would you want to just stick to one thing?

Conjurer

Conjurer

RAM: Agreed. We’ve also noticed a lot of debut albums these days sound much bigger and more mature than they have any right to be. Since you’ve been sitting on some of these songs for about three years, do you think that’s contributed to it sounding as massive as it does?

DN: It was interesting writing for this album because it wasn’t a case of, ‘Right, EP’s done, now we’re starting from scratch and doing seven songs for an album.’ It was more like we had these three songs that are quite old that we can work on. They were always going to come back, but it was a case of improving on them. Once they were done, it was kind of like what songs can we write now that fit with these? The two slower songs on the album, which are the first track ‘Choke’ and the third track ‘Thankless’, it was kind of, what can these songs do with? It was more about what fits with everything, what will make it feel like a complete full circle? We literally just had three or so years to come up with this whole thing and I think that really helped. But it does make me worry when it comes to the next album that we ain’t got that long to write something new! Ha, ha!

RAM: The 360° video for ‘Retch’ was awesome and is killer to watch on a VR. Where did that idea come from?

CM: I think the initial idea was we wanted to do a live footage video for ‘Retch’ because that song fits in with how we are live. We had that plan anyway but we didn’t really put it forward, but Holy Roar were like, ‘We want to put ‘Retch’ out as the next single and we want to release it end of January.’ So, we wanted to do something for people to see, share and take notice of especially with these dates we’re doing now. We just started thinking about a few ideas, but I think Brady must have been the one who said, ‘Oh yeah, I got a mate with a 360° camera,’ and we were just like, ‘Yeah sure, why not?’

RAM: What album would you love to see put to VR?

DN: Oh god, that’s a really tough one! In all honesty, I’m probably going to go with a Baroness record, either Red or Blue purely because those two albums to me sound like a massive jam that’s ended up as being this mystical, psychedelic thing. I’m obsessed with their guitar playing anyway but because of that jam element if you put them in that situation, just to be able to look around at all of them while they’re doing all the kind of stuff, there’s all sorts of cool stuff you can do with that.

RAM: Conner? Bananarama?

CM:  Oh, that’s up there! Ha, ha. I don’t know, in terms of seeing the album and experiencing it, I’d lean towards a Coheed [And Cambria] album just because it’s on conceptual and so seeing like how they’d do the ‘Neverender’ tours and seeing it from start to finish, that makes sense to me.

RAM: Last question before we take up too much of your time; what is your proudest moment on this album?

DN: The fact that it’s been released really. This is going to sound a bit arrogant but I always knew it was going to be released, but the fact that it’s done as much as it has before it’s even come out has just been bizarre and wonderful at the same time. Even if it hadn’t got all the praise it has, I would still be proud of it. We were proud of it when we came out the studio and we’re proud of it now, whether it bombs or does really well. Not to put anyone else’s critical praise down or anything, but that’s all kind of secondary because again, you don’t expect it to happen, but it’s been wonderful. The fact that it exists is my proudest thing about it.

Mire is out via Holy Roar March 9.

About Hywel Davies

Full metal ginger. Based in Cardiff, love nothing more than feeling the pure adrenaline that metal music gives me. Been head banging since I was a childling, I've grown up with all manners of music from rock to orchestral. Simply put, I love music. Movies are great too.

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