Photo: Carl Battams
It's difficult to name a UK metal act who's debut record had much of an impact this year as Conjurer's. Since releasing Mire earlier this year, the Rugby four piece have devastated the nation's inclusive metal scene, establishing themselves as the future leaders of the UK metal scene. We sat down with them after their set at ArcTanGent to chat about Holy Roar, collaborating with Pijn, the reception the Mire received and the sacred art of shitposting.
So you've had quite the year thus far, did you ever imagine Mire would get the massive reception it did?
Connor (Bass): Nah.
Dan (Guitar/Vocals): To be fair I didn't really think we would get to the point where we are now, I mean not as in us collectively, but meeting these personal goals and stuff. Like I never ever thought that I would be in a band that's here now. So doing that (the album) was like "Oh yeah wicked, we're done now', that sort of thing. And then Holy Roar put it out and then we did the release tour and all these offers just kept coming through. Since it's all stuff we would never expect it just knocks you back every single time you get any sort of recognition. It's still really bewildering.
Jan (Drums): Especially that we come from a small town where there is no real music scene. We've all been in bands that have pretty much done nothing in their careers or haven't really gone anywhere so it's just really unlikely that this would happen.
Connor: We've never played our home town. There's a scene in Rugby but not anything that would fit us. They have an acoustic singer songwriter scene but around that area it just seems to be all cover bands. We had to shift around to get gigs and stuff.
So how have you found all this unexpected praise?
Brady (Guitar/Vocals): I mean it's nice!
Jan: It's better than people saying that we're shit.
Connor: I don't really know. I try not to think about it I guess because I think that's when you see bands starting to listen to and believe in the hype and all of that nonsense. I think it starts to effect their sound and it's never in a good way, almost exclusively never in a good way. But I don't really know, it's weird.
Jan: On a day to day basis you don't really see it. Like we don't get stopped in the street or any of that.
Brady: It's hindsight, it's only when you look back really, like today we had so many mentions on twitter saying our set was good so that really nice of them.
Dan: It's usually times like this when we're being interviewed when someones like "Oh yeah, everything's going really well" and we're like shit oh yeah, it actually is.
So what was the recording process of Mire like in comparison to your first EP?
Brady: It was better, but to be fair it was the same but longer.
Jan: And it was better.
Brady: Yeah, we didn't do much different in terms of the general process but it's always you go in, you do the drums, then you do the guitars and then do you the vocals. There was nothing particularly special or out the ordinary. It was just a lot smoother and - I find this really weird because bands always have these crazy stories from the studio where they would sniff bats until they're sick and stuff like that. But we just went to a place and recorded our songs.
Connor: The changes that we made in the studio were minuscule, there was maybe two or three changes in writing on the whole album and they were just tiny things like what if we push these certain bits. It's literally just tiny little things we changed. It was very very simple.
Jan: We played a lot of Fifa, I think that was it.
Connor: Oh my god we're so boring.
It's a cracking game to be fair. So you've been on tour with Pijn recently and you played a collaborative set with them yesterday, how did that come about?
Connor: In the most contrived way possible.
Jan: Yeah we got an email from Alex from Holy Roar and James who runs this festival and 2000 Trees asking if we could do a collaborative set at ArcTanGent.
Brady: With Pijn, it was Pijn specifically.
Jan: Yeah it was that simple. We said yes and then thought about it...and then we started to panic. But basically we made it happen over the last couple of months.
Connor: You think we would have worked on it on tour wouldn't you, but no, no work was done on tour.
Brady: But yeah it was one of those weird things. We were really confident to begin with and then did nothing for ages, thinking it would be fine, it would be a big ten piece on stage using loads of different instruments. But Pijn are impossible to wrangle so in the end we had one rehearsal with them basically and it was a nightmare to sort out. But it all came together in the last three weeks.
Jan: But it worked and it was good. I was out in the audience and I enjoyed it.
Brady: Better than expected I think is where were at and we're going to record it apparently. Alex really wants to release it.
Speaking of Holy Roar, what do you think is so special about that label?
Connor: I had a chat with Alex about this at a gig recently and I asked "why is it that this label is so good" and he said "because I have better taste than anyone else." He'll admit that. It is one hundred percent that he will not waste his time working with a band that he doesn't absolute believe in. He's confident that if he backs stuff that he thinks is good then other people will come onto that and that's the way it's been. It's why there isn't a Holy Roar sound, where as if you go to some labels you know what you're getting into. But it tends to be if you go to Holy Roar you know it's going to be interesting and good. I think it's a fact that they're really into what they do and they aren't in it for the money, or the fame or the glory because there is none in the industry. They're just passionate about music. It's a really good place to be.
So it's your first time playing ArcTanGent and most of you guys played two sets. How did you find it?
Connor: It's like when we play a normal gig in a small room and there's loads of people there, it's basically just a massive version of that.
Jan: The line-up here is absolutely good so we get to really enjoy our weekend.
Connor: We call it mates fest. It's nice it's well, we don't really get to see each others mates bands playing that much, like with Wren, who we played with once and I've only seem them once or twice outside of that so we get to see them today. It's the best thing about festivals, especially this one.
Brady: We came here last year to this festival as punters then immediately bought tickets for this year and then got booked for it.
Connor: And guess what they did?
Brady: Oh yeah they refunded our tickets! Yeah it's just a really awesome atmosphere here and they're very much like Holy Roar, they don't really give a fuck about being on trend or anything like that, they just book bands they want to see and legitimately give a shit. We've played festivals that don't really give a fuck about the bands. We don't ever get to ever feel like rockstars or even like a real band most of the time but when you come to somewhere like this you get treated like a proper band which makes it real easier to shout at people.
Jan: They even gave me a goody bag! They gave me a goody bag with drum sticks in, they just asked what I play and I got a bag with ArcTanGent sticks in.
What angels. So you're online presence. Let's not go into memes but do you think it's necessary for bands to have a good and engageable online presence these days?
Jan: I mean goods a strong word, I mean it's active.
Connor: It completely depends which social media platform your viewers are on. Facebook is very down the middle, promotional, like here's what we're up to, there might be the odd cheeky thing here or there.
Dan: It's only because I moan about it.
Connor: Instagram's sort of similar, varies a little more and that's were it starts to sway a bit. Then there's Twitter which is just Brady's personal mess.
Brady: I feel like, as a boring, serious band, it needs a little bit of personality, which none of these cunts have.
Connor: Anytime I post anything on Twitter I just get "for fucks sake you can tell when you've posted."
Brady: Yeah because it's shit.
Connor: What because it makes sense?
Brady: When me and Dan were talking about starting a band we were like no social media at all, like nothing. Then we started playing some shows so we felt we needed a Facebook page. We weren't going to post anything, we were just going to post gig announcements with a date and a time. Then we got a Twitter and that just spiraled. The funny thing is, as much as a joke our Twitter account is, we've got so many cool shows and met loads of people and got opportunities that have come just from shitposting. It's just fun, it's just good old fashioned fun and like 89 percent of it is not serious at all. Like I didn't storm out of an interview last week because they asked me about memes, loads people got really upset about that, they thought I was being serious.
Is that how you got on Nervus's release show?
Brady: Yeah, just from banter with Em from Nervus. We did a tour with Telepathy just from flirting with them on Twitter. There's some other stuff, like really bizarre stuff, all from using this one site. It's a lovely website.
Incredible, cheers guys!
Conjurer will be ripping up the UK later this year with fellow heavy weights Conan. Check the dates below and get down to a show.