Conjurer kicked off their UK tour supporting Conan in Nottingham Trent’s The Loft last Friday in their usual blistering fashion, opening with “Choke”, the first track from this year’s outstanding ‘Mire’, and continuing with tracks from that album and their debut EP ‘I’, including “Scorn” and “Hadal”. From the very start their pounding energy got the initially static crowd quickly moving, with pits beginning as soon as vocalist and guitarist Brady Deeprose called for them, however the poor layout of the venue was a hindrance to the moshers, with the column directly in front of the stage blocking the view of most of the audience and also curbed the size of the pit. Nevertheless, the energy of all four band members was unmistakable, with bassist Conor Marshall and both guitarists headbanging like mad and whirling their hair, mimicking the energy in the pit.
Conjurer were by far the best act of the evening, and surely proved that they should be headlining shows like this rather than supporting, with their live show proving why they have been so highly critically acclaimed, as they worked as a slick unit and have stage presence that even bands twenty years older than them sometimes lack. Conjurer are without a doubt going to be leading British extreme metal for years to come.
Interview – Dan Nightingale (Guitar and Vocals) and Conor Marshall (bass)
Who are your biggest influences?
Gojira and The Black Dahlia Murder initially, and then onto Mastodon and Neurosis and a general mix of different styles of metal that we like certain aspects of.
What does it feel like having so much critical praise for ‘Mire’?
We all love it, was unexpected at first but we never really considered that it would be rated so highly.
Any pressure from critics for album 2?
Yes and no – we’d hate to see our review scores drop but at the same time we aren’t writing for critics, we’re writing for ourselves. We’re striving to make things a bit different for the next album, and making sure we can make the best album we can make.
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard of you?
We get this a lot, and it’s a really hard one to describe – we call ourselves post-sludge, but Jan [Krause] (drummer) calls us loud shouty music, while we also use UK based riff music as a term. There’s too many sub-genres to pigeonhole us into – not out of our personal choice, we just haven’t found a term that we think fits us yet, and we don’t want to be forced into making a certain type of music forever because we’re stuck in that genre and that’s what fans expect – we like to take different bits from different genres, e.g. some songs are more black metal and some are more hardcore.
What’s been your favourite show to date?
Two different options, one of them being the release show for ‘Mire’ at the Black Heart in London, I [Dan] couldn’t stop smiling despite being supposed to look all angry and moody but I couldn’t contain it with all the people who were there getting completely into our music, and the other one would be our 2000 Trees show this year, headlining the Neu tent, not expecting anyone to come and watch us with Creeper being on at the same time, and then suddenly the tent is completely packed out, which was incredible to see as we didn’t expect anywhere near that much crowd support.
What was your Curse These Metal Hands show like at Arctangent festival with Pijn?
We got to experiment with much more different songs than people would usually expect from a Conjurer or a Pijn show – I [Dan] managed to expand upon a small Irish style riff that I’ve been experimenting on for years. We didn’t want to do anything that sounds like either of our bands, so we wanted to do something that neither of us could get away with, taking influences from Queen and Baroness and just trying to make something new that we could let loose and have fun with jamming with mates on stage
Who’s your dream band to tour with?
Gojira makes sense with musical sense – but touring with Metallica would be wicked cos we’d get to play arenas every night. Gojira is definitely the one that makes the most sense, with their size and their similar musical style?
What’s been your album of the year?
Conor: Press To Meco- ‘Here’s To The Fatigue’
Dan: Daughters- ‘You Won’t Get What You Want’ or Anna Von Hauswolff- ‘Dead Magic’
We’ve all been listening to the new Rolo Tomassi album and the new Dirty Nil album as well.
Any guilty pleasures/unexpected non-metal releases you love?
Brady loves the new Cardi B album, and we’re all huge Carly Rae Jepsen fans but our favourite album is from a few years ago now. Idles’ new album is really good, far better than Slaves and Sleaford Mods’ musical output.
Any let-downs for you this year?
I [Dan] was disappointed with the new Architects album, it’s well written and it will absolutely kill in arenas, and from an emotional point of view you can completely understand it but there is something musically that just isn’t completely blowing me away. I still wish all the best for them and it was a reminder of our mortality when Tom passed as we realised it could be any one of us.
Have you started thinking about what’s next?
It’s a very slow process with us, we’ve got this tour with Conan and got nothing planned until February with a tour that we’re not allowed to speak about yet, but we’re certainly going to be quiet until then and try and knuckle down with writing but we’re still lining up gigs and tours for next year.
What’s your writing process like?
It’s very slow and methodical, it has been for the EP and the album, and it mostly comes from Dan and Jan, Dan creates the riffs and then Jan begins arranging it all and then they create the most of the song but I [Conor] and Brady chip in with our additions. We work hard on them, before it even gets to Brady and I it’s already been through several iterations as we try to perfect them as much as possible. It’s also about knowing the correct time to introduce new ideas to everyone, just to see if it works with whatever we already have written or if anyone can help us move through a block. We’re certainly not a jam band, we generally do it in pieces on our computers and then piece them together.
Who’s the best band you’ve ever seen live?
Conor – Rammstein for the production certainly, I’m not certain about solely musically.
Dan – Corey Dick (Scottish Jazz drummer) in Cambridge a few years ago, he’s very compositional and takes you on a journey and it completely blew our minds being used to big metal academy shows and getting moshy, whereas here we were sat on sofas with table service – something I reckon we should do ‘An Evening With Conjurer’ with all the cheese and wine and a much more chilled atmosphere and have a fucking lovely time. Seating could be used for way more metal bands, like we went to see Nightwish a few years back and that sort of orchestral metal is way more suited to seating, if you’re going to be standing then you want the music to make you to move or there’s no point in standing and being uncomfortable.
What’s your favourite festival?
As much as we loved 2000 Trees this year, I’d never been to it before, so maybe Arctangent just because it feels way more intimate than any others I’ve been to – certainly compared to the humongous size of Download just removes any sense of that community spirit. Or Damnation Festival, despite the fact that there’s not often much that’s to my taste there it feels very tight-knit but it’s in a huge building so there so much going on and it was great fun to play.