Thrilled by the immersive and imposing power of Mire, we had an in-depth conversation with Conjurer to find out about their origins, the creation of their debut album and how they found their signature sound.
There’s undoubtedly not many left who haven’t heard the immense potential of Conjurer’s I, an EP that helped secure their place as one of the UK’s hottest prospects. It’s been two years since their debut release dropped, but the hype has not gone away. In fact, this period has seen the band ascend on a constant upward trajectory, soaring into the collective conscious of the metal world and steadily amounting a large amount of hype for the eventual full-length. Said debut LP, Mire, is now set to release on March 9th through high-flying label Holy Roar Records, and in the build-up to its untethering, it has felt much like this hype is about to reach critical mass.
The excitement is more than justified. If I hinted at a prospective new frontrunner of the UK underground metal scene, Mire confirms it, offering a more diverse and yet just as cohesive style that fully realises the immense potential of one of the country’s biggest underground names. The quartet’s greatest asset is their uniquely multi-faceted approach, which takes the best bits of the modern metal scene and comprises it into a singular cohesive sound that spans hardcore, sludge, post-metal, black metal and beyond. Though their sound would be well suited to an ambitious concept, there’s no greater theme to Mire. Its ambition comes in its dynamic sound, one that, on paper, would seem a messy affair, overcrowded with too many opposing ideas, but in practice proves potent and poignant in equal measure.
Thrilled by the bleak atmosphere, immersive beauty and imposing power of Mire, we had an in-depth conversation with vocalist/guitarist Brady Deeprose to find out about their origins, the creation of their debut album and how they found their signature sound.
You’ve noted previously that your sound was closer to death metal when you started, what inspired the change?
I think it’s been more of a natural progression than a specific decision – we were listening to a lot of Revocation and Gojira when we started which swiftly became Code Orange, Oathbreaker and Yob. I think that shift in listening really affected the noises we were coming up with. I’m definitely keen to revisit some of that earlier material though, we have a few solid tracks waiting to go. But yeah, as Dan [Nightingale, vocals/guitars] and I got to know each other better and started talking more about music, my tastes certainly rapidly grew and it just felt more natural to be making the music we ended up doing (also, I couldn’t play any of the fast stuff).
Did you feel a lot of pressure going into this album, given that you’ve been heralded as one of the UK metal scene’s most hotly tipped names?
While a lot of the press and ‘hype’ surrounding the band has been cool recently, we really try not to take too much notice either way. Don’t get me wrong, having people want to support the band in any way is a genuine privilege, but we’d be doing exactly the same with or without the attention. We love making music, we love playing music, we can just about tolerate each other – that’s all its about.
What do you think it is about your sound that makes you unique and hard to classify?
I’ve thought about this. I feel like with a lot of bands, there’s usually one or two primary influences that the band are either vocal about liking, or that you can tell from listening – that, or a band has grown up being close friends and all had a lot of the same musical experiences and journey. We haven’t had any of that – we’re four guys with totally different tastes and musical backgrounds that by rights shouldn’t have ended up in a band together, yet it works. So if I’m writing something thinking “this will be a really cool black metal bit”, Jan [Krause, drums] will come along and make it sound like Rolo Tomassi, or Dan will suggest some different chords to echo Torche etc. – we don’t let ourselves fall into clichés because we’re never on the same page from the start.
As a band that combines black metal, hardcore, doom, sludge, post-metal and more, can it be hard to write a cohesive song that doesn’t sound too jarring?
This is a weird one – because we’ve set a template for doing it, as long as the parts work together, we don’t really see the different genres as we’re putting the song together. It’s only when you sit back and listen to a finished song that it really becomes apparent. We like to think that as long as a song sounds like us, then it’s not a problem what actually makes up the parts.
Your sound covers a lot of genres, who/what would you list as inspirations when writing?
I’ve definitely said this a lot recently, but being a part of Holy Roar – the whole ethos of the label, the bands we get to interact with and the music that surrounds it – is such a massive inspiration to us and has definitely given us the confidence to push ourselves on this record and take a few risks. I have a lot of respect for the tastes and opinions of the other guys in the band too, so if we’re working on something and someone is really passionate about a riff, I kind of latch on to that enthusiasm, which helps.
Would you say that Mire is more musically progressive than the EP? If so, did this change come naturally or was it a conscious choice?
Absolutely. I think it’s definitely natural, we’re more open to experimentation. We wanted the EP to be as cohesive as possible, so tracks like ‘Of Flesh Weaker Than Ash’ and ‘Retch’, which we could have put on the EP, we left off because they need a bit more context than four songs to make sense. I think both tracks stand out as opposite ends of what we’re about on the record.
Your fanbase has been steadily growing since the EP dropped, has it surprised you how much support you’ve attained before even releasing your debut full-length?
Yes and no. We work hard on all aspects of what we do, from writing to playing shows and doing press (I should be asleep now), and so I’d like to think a lot of what we’ve achieved has been down to effort. But I’m not naive enough to know just how insanely lucky we are – a lot of people have taken risks on us and given us chances we very much did not deserve, especially early on. I think we make music that gets people excited and we play it honestly and with passion – there’s just no bullshit, which I think resonates with people. This is well pretentious, thanks to everyone for putting up with my bullshit.
Your growth has been very organic, is a DIY work ethic important to you, or just more of a necessity when you’re starting out?
I find the concept of DIY very interesting. There are so many people that live and die by it, like it’s more important to have done it yourself than it is for the thing to be good. Fuck that, I think the art should come first – don’t turn down help or advice because you think it makes you more edgy. We’ve put the hours in and will continue to do so, but having people like Holy Roar, Tone Management and Hold Tight PR helping us is an absolute lifesaver. I put a lot of hours into the business side of the band and without all of those people, it’d be a lot more DIY, but it would also be a lot more shit. We are a team. Do It With Friends.
Holy Roar have gone from strength to strength recently, how has being signed to them helped you out?
I always end up talking about Holy Roar in several answers in every interview – I fucking love this label. Alex and Justine are the shit. You can trust that they 100% support every band they work with because they have too much integrity to back something they don’t believe in. This is the most exciting place to be for heavy music in the UK at the moment and next year will, I hope, bring them more success. Actually, they’re releasing new albums from Boss Keloid and Rolo Tomassi, it’s going to be a mad one.
You’ve toured fairly relentlessly in the last couple of years, how do you think this has contributed to the growth in your popularity?
Yeah, we had to slow down recently because I think people are getting sick of us. We’ve managed to get in front of so many people, we were kind of impossible to ignore for a while and it’s shit like that which attracted Holy Roar. I think there are too many bands that won’t (or can’t) put in the hours needed. This is our ‘thing’ – we don’t really do much outside the band because it’s draining and expensive. Wouldn’t change it for the world. Well, I’d make it less expensive.
Did you consider having a greater theme or concept running through the album? If so, why didn’t you?
I would love to do a concept record. The issue is, they can end up really shit. Albums like The Hazards Of Love by The Decemberists and Mastodon‘s Leviathan really set a standard for how to do a concept record, it’s daunting. Even a record like Deep Blue by Parkway Drive has a real link between the themes, music and artwork, which is really cool. Our album was essentially written over three years and we’d evolved so much since we started it that any of the above isn’t really achievable. Luckily, the placement, production and writing have helped the album feel pretty cohesive. We’ve started writing the next record and we’re starting fresh so I’d like to think that it will all feel linked, if not conceptually, then musically. Who knows?
Looking beyond the album, what can we expect from Conjurer in 2018?
We’ll be playing in Europe for the first time which is beyond exciting as well as playing some very exciting UK festivals. We also have a really ambitious project in the works which I can’t talk about but will see us doing something very different. An exciting year, for sure.
Mire is out via Holy Roar Records on March 9th. Pre-order here.
Words: George Parr