Since their formation in 2006, Conan has become a leading metric when measuring the heaviest that doom metal has to offer. Albums like Blood Eagle and last year’s Revengeance have helped give the band a worldwide following and the momentum is as furious as the battles that make up their brutal lyrical themes. In anticipation of their return to Indianapolis on May 18th, Indy Metal Vault reached out to guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis to ask him about lineup changes, music evolution, and everything else in between.
Indy Metal Vault: You just released your third full-length album Revengeance last year. How was the reception for it compared to your past efforts and what are your feelings on the album one year later?
Jon Davis: The reception was awesome thanks. We toured hard and worked a lot to promote the album, after producing it ourselves. We definitely did the record justice and we are rightly very proud of what it became. We are now focussing on the next record, it’s important not to rest up just because things are going well.
IMV: Revengeance saw the addition of drummer Rich Lewis and Chris Fielding on bass and vocals, the latter of whom seems to have been your producer since the beginning. Had it ever been considered to bring him on earlier in the band’s career and how has the band’s dynamic changed since he came on?
JD: Chris has been our producer since day one so he had actually been ‘in’ since the earliest recordings. Obviously he is closer to things now as he is there from the very first riff and because of this the songs are maybe more rounded, which I think is what they needed.
IMV: One thing I noticed about Revengeance is that the songwriting seems to be more vocal-oriented than your past albums. Was that an intentional move or something that you could see being further developed on future efforts?
JD: It kind of did go in that direction. Some songs had more words than others. I like both sparse vocals (“Sea Lord”) and more plentiful vocals (“Every Man Is An Enemy”) so expect more of this diversity on our next recordings.
IMV: What songs do you think best represent Conan and what the band stands for?
JD: They all do.
IMV: Conan’s doom influences and place in its community are prominent and well discussed. What bands have influenced you that may not be as readily obvious?
JD: You probably don’t hear a lot of Weezer or Sick of It All or Neil Young in there but they are definitely an influence.
IMV: If I may take a brief political moment: As an underground band from the UK, has Brexit changed anything about the logistics of international touring?
JD: We will never comment on politics directly but we do get slightly more when converting our € to £. I cannot comment on the pros and cons of Brexit though as I don’t believe anyone truly knows what is actually going on.
IMV: What bands have you been checking out lately and are there any particular ones that you think deserve more attention?
JD: You should check out Pyreship, Grim Ravine and Abomnium. All bands who have either recorded at Skyhammer or have been released by my label Black Bow Records.
I went to Ball State University and graduated with a BA in Creative Writing. Currently specializing in writing album reviews when I should be working at my day job.
My Grading Scale
A: An essential classic regardless of genre preference
B: A good album recommended to fans of a given genre
C: A flawed album with elements that are still enjoyable
D: A dull album that may only be redeemable for fans
F: It is a goal of mine to never review an album like this
I also play in a couple different bands and take it as much as I dish it out. Feel free to check them out!