Most times when a band is gearing up to put out an album, there is a lot of meticulous planning involved. Not so much with the UK Doom trio Conan with their highly lauded latest release “Existential Void Guardian”. After having a chat with frontman Jon Davis, it would appear as though they have discovered between each other the perfect balance of talent to put together an incredible album.
“We were up against a deadline really for the writing of the album and the urgency that that gave us really helped us to feel like we were under pressure to get it done effectively. The writing sessions ended up being quite spontaneous and because of that and we felt it best to just basically go with it. There wasn’t a lot of material going into the sessions either, just jamming out drums for around seven songs or so before our drummer went away for a bit. I started working a bit more on the riffs that we came up with and the structure of the songs. Maybe the weekend or two after that Johnny come back and we started recording the drums properly, getting them finalized in the process.
Once we got into the rhythm of things, we just relaxed a lot and just went with it and just kind of whatever come out come out and we didn’t waste material. There was a great creative flow throughout the process and I’m really happy with how it came out . The songs sound fresh! They sound different from what we’ve done but at the same time they sound very much like Conan and are delighted with the way it all added up. It was great to work in this solid team, you’ve got three people who have all been in heavy bands and are all accustomed to playing on the big stage, all comfortable doing what we do. This album came together brilliantly and we got on like a house on fire which is extremely important for any band really. Honestly, we couldn’t be happier at the moment, things are brilliant! We got the songs written in record time really and had them all done and dusted in time for the submission day which was a bit of a tight proposition!”
Earlier in the year, Conan had a change of lineup with Johnny King taking up position on the drum throne. It can be quite a proposition to get so much done and set so soon and to get it done right. Conan were very fortunate that Kings style played very much into their favor.
“Johnny actually plays in Malthusian and Dread Sovereign. Of the drummers that we’ve had, he’s probably got the darkest back catalogue. I think that his drumming style lends itself more to a heavier sound like, the habits that he has when he plays fills and uses as symbols lends themselves to a sort of darker music. I think that kind of you can feel that in the drums on this new album. I know that’s hard to say because drums don’t have a note in a way that most people would think. So to me the drums and his style made the album sound darker and heavier in a way that’s really hard to describe. He employed blast beats and death metal and black metal drones, But he’s also got a really solid groove great technique as well as being a heavy hitter. He can play a bit like Paul, he can play a bit like Rich. He’s got his own style as well. So I mean we got really lucky and I’m just really grateful now that we gave him an opportunity to show what he could do because we almost said no. And that would have been a huge mistake.”
With their album tour extending to Australia in early November, Jon expresses his enthusiasm for landing on our shores and getting the show underway.
“Every time we played in Australia the crowd has been awesome and we’re looking forward to getting back to Melbourne and Sydney because they’ve got like a great scene and the other cities that we’re playing in are also awesome. I don’t think we played Canberra on our last trip through so that’s particularly exciting. The Australian shows last time were awesome and we came over with Weedeater and the crowds were great . This time around we are coming over as the headline with the band who we respect and admire in Bellwitch, they’re an excellent band and we’re really excited to share a stage with them. It’s going to be a nice contrast because they play generally quite slow and we’re starting to build a pace a little, a bit more mid paced kind of stuff so it’s going to be a really good fit. The crowd is going to enjoy it you know they’re going to get a good variety of music with two bands who at the moment are doing pretty well, The new Bell Witch album “Mirror Reaper” has been received really well and rightly so, it’s an amazing piece of music” Of note, Bell Witch do not feature a guitarist.
When asked if there were any expectations on the crowd, Jon explained that it’s often a mixed bag.
“Earlier in the year we played this amazing show, one of the best shows we’ve had! It was at a place called The Black Ram or something like that, a DIY venue. A girl took her top off, which we’ve never had happen before during a set, and while she was partying away she slipped over and smacked her head on my Wah pedal, thankfully she was okay! Later on, everyone ended up being part of a whiskey round and it was quite a wild for us considering we’re not really a party band so yeah, it was pretty insane!”
Australia, the bar has been set.
Nov 7th – Canberra, The Basement w/ Mental Cavity
Nov 10th – Brisbane, Crowbar w/ Lizzard Wizzard
Nov 12th – Wellington, Valhalla w/ Opium Eater
Nov 13th – Auckland, Whammy w/ Mothra
GET TICKETS IN YOUR LOCAL CITY HERE
GET YOUR HANDS ON “EXISTENTIAL VOID GUARDIAN” HERE!