Date: 10 February 2014
MM - Hey great to meet you, why the name Conan for the band ??? are you influenced by the actual Barbarian?
Jon - We chose the name because it summed up our music..... Heavy, slow and loud. Conan 9the Robert E Howard character is one of a number of characters that I grew up watching on TV. The Conan movies were there alongside the likes of Krull, Lord of The Rings (the animated version), Fire and ice, Sinbad, Clash of The Titans, Jason and The Argonauts for heavy movies that I used to watch when I wasn’t out running around in the street with a football or playing computer games.
When I was looking for a decent name for the band back a few years ago the name ‘Conan’ just jumped out at me. The name summed up our sound quite nicely in the early stages because it was quite distinctive (I mean, who would ever think to call their name Conan?) and the image created by the character, with the Frank Frazetta artwork and swords and all that stuff just seemed rely fitting. As we progress and keep writing, the name seems more and more fitting and I guess we’re trying to live up to it now.
MM - You are known as a cave, battle doom metal band .. are there many cave and wild men running around Liverpool these days?
Jon - I don't think I've seen many lately - I guess the police are doing a good job.
MM - What can we expect from your soon to be released album?
Jon - It's heavier then what we have released before. It mirrors our live on stage pace more - so expect more mid paced riffs. We’re pretty keen to not try anything in the studio that we can’t do live on stage, so you will find this album to be an honest representation of what we sound like live. We used the same gear that we use live and play just as loud in the studio - all in all, the album shows clear progression from our earlier efforts. I’m not saying I think it is better, or whatever, but we feel like it shows that we are a band that has a bit more control over what we’re doing and I guess it shows us as being a little bit more ambitious.
MM - Personal favorite track on the album?
Jon - I don't have one to be honest, but the intro riff to Horns for Teeth is cool to play live, I think Crown of Talons was my favourite during the writing process as we wanted to create something that had the gravity of the track Krull (off Horseback Battle Hammer) whilst not copying it in any way, I’m really happy that it turned out the way it did. I think the WHOLE album works really well as there is no let up… There is no downtime, it is riff after riff after riff and then more….. We didn’t put any filler in and even then still struggled to keep in under 45 minutes. We’re really happy with it.
MM - If I had never heard your band before what tracks would you point me towards?
Jon - I would say listen to the albums as a whole, that way you will get the full picture. But if you wanted me to pick a few from our back catalogue I would suggest Krull, Sea Lord, Hawk as Weapon, Grim Tormentor, Retaliator and Older Than Earth.
MM - How do you feel the UK is for bands on the live scene at the moment?
Jon - Very good, there are loads of great bands and some great promoters. We have a few very nice festivals now such as Desertfest and Temples fest so things are looking up for this sort of music. What is important though is that there is a VERY healthy scene for underground bands, underground promoters willing to put on shows for these bands and it’s really great work with these people. The bigger tests are cool, but unless you know people in high places you don’t just get to play them straight away - it’s more likely that you will play the underground shows and work your way to these types of show.
There are some AMAZING bands in the UK live heavy music scene currently and we’re happy to be in there with them as their equal. Bands like Bast, Bismuth, Slomatics, Iron Witch, Coltsblood, Black Magician, Serpent Venom, Crypt Lurker, Wizards Beard, Ommadon, Jackal Headed Guard of The Dead, Monolith Cult, Dead Existence, Spider Kitten, Space Witch, Rise to Thunder - the list goes on and on and on and on…..
We are really lucky in this country that we have so many awesome bands playing regularly, you don’t have to wait long for a great band to come and play in your town and that is great. There is a pretty warm community feel to it all, the shows are normally well attended and people talk to each other without any fighting or nonsense - it’s a really good at the moment.
MM - Personally I think you should move to Sweden, they would love you guys, I feel the Metal scene is very healthy in central Europe. Are there plans to venture abroad?
Jon - Thanks, but I like my home in England too much and the beer is too pricey in Sweden. We play in Europe often and are heading over in both April and May this year with another tour planned for October and a trip to Australia in the pipeline for September. We’re really excited to be getting out playing live again. We had to reign it in a bit towards the end of 2013 so we could make sure the new album was given the attention it needed and now we are all done with the recording process we have a lot of shows to look forward to. Playing live is the best part of being in a band and we are lucky enough to have personal situations that allow us to play live often - this year will be very busy for us but thanks to the support I have from my Wife I am allowed to step out and make some noise once in a while.
MM - Who would be your ultimate bands to share a stage with?
Jon - Nirvana, Yob, Fudge Tunnel, Slomatics, High on Fire, Neurosis, Hexx.
MM - What's on your ipod today?
Jon - Lots of stuff, but I am listening to Rainbow - Rising.
MM - Coming from a footballing city, are you a fan of Liverpool or Everton?, and if you had a choice between being a footballer or a musician which would you choose?
Jon - I am a fan of Everton although I do not go the games currently as I don't have the free time. If I had to choose, I would be a musician as I am too fat to run around.
MM - Three words to describe Conan?
Jon - Horseback Battle Hammer……. Riding into battle, hammer aloft, astride a huge battle Elephant (was how Matt Pike described us back when we played with Sleep in Oslo - May 2012)
MM - Thanks for your time, anything you would like to say to our readers?
Jon - Thanks for writing. Ummmm, I would say thanks and Happy New Year.
Interview by: Seb Di Gatto