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Interview - Jon Davis (Conan)

Interview with Jon Davis from Conan
by H.P. Buttcraft at 27 August 2014, 12:05 PM

The English stoned mongers CONAN have been out there grinding with Doom since 2006, yet began escalating with the release of their debut album. Now, signed to Napalm Records, and with a second release under their belt, “Blood Eagle”, they spread out their wings. H.P. Buttcraft talked with Jon Davis of the band regarding the new release, band and more…

Hi Jon, how have you been? Thank for taking the time for this interview for Metal Temple.

You’re welcome man, I’m good thanks. Just relaxing on holiday in Spain.

Let’s jump right in. When you first began writing songs for “Blood Eagle”, what did you set out to accomplish in terms of both music and lyricism?

Musically we wanted this album to be more dynamic and more crushing than Monnos, without losing the more polished production too much. At the same time we wanted some of the raw feel that we had with Horseback Battle Hammer. Basically we wanted the best from both albums and I think we accomplished that goal. In terms of lyrics, we had no particular aim that was different to the other releases - our influxes have stayed pretty much the same in that respect.

What things did CONAN do on “Blood Eagle” that they couldn’t or weren’t able to do on “Monnos”?

Record in our own studio and not be constrained so much by a budget. In May 2013 my Wife and I employed a specialist recording studio contractor to convert a 2 story coach house situated right behind our house into a recording studio (you can see all the info here - (www.skyhammerstudio.com)). In August 2013 this was completed, and now we are just about 12 months into studio ownership. Chris Fielding (now Conan bass player) has taken on the mantle of producer at there studio and we have worked with bands such as Electric Wizard, SSS, Serpent Venom, Winterfylleth, Hooded Menace to name but a few.

Now for some music tech. Can you give us a run-thru of your guitar rig?

Sure. My main guitar is an EGC flying V, it’s an aluminium neck and bodied guitar that weighs a ton, but sounds fantastic. I tune to dropped F. I run this guitar into an ABY pedal and out to two amplifiers. Firstly I use a 1st generation Sunn Model T (one of the old ones) that powers a custom made 6x12 speaker cabinet (made from oak, with a cedar wood veneer). This cabinet will sometimes be ran by a 1978 Matamp GT120, but currently the Sunn Model T is the amp for that cab. Because the cab is a 6x12 it was difficult to get the impedance right and I blew a speaker after about 5 shows. Since then I have had it changed so that instead of being wired as a16 ohm 6x12 with one speaker connection it now has one input for the top 4 speakers (Celestion v30s - the 60 watt versions) at 8 ohms and another input for the bottom two speakers (Celestion hot 100s) at 8 ohms. I set my amp to 4 ohms and plug into both speaker inputs. The second guitar channel goes to the bass heavy side of my setup. Until recently this was a late 60s MK3 Sound City L200. This is a fucking awesome amp. However, it blew a cap (the last tech left in the original 60s caps for some reason) and basically I had to get the whole amp rebuilt after that as the caps spewed itself out all over the entire circuit board. This amplifier blew a fuse on our recent tour and died during a show in some sweaty club in Leipzig. I decided to trade it in then. I got a buyer in the UK and hen spoke to the guys in Ki (formerly Moghul) about one of their Matamp Gt200’s. Adam (bass) had one for sale and we came to a deal. Therefore, from this day forward this second ‘more bass heavy’ channel will be a 200 watt Matamp head into a custom built 5x15 (Celestion Truvox). On my pedal board I have a Korg Pitch Black tuner, a Ned Clayton built ABY, a Dunwich Amplification Fuzz Throne, a Boss Space Echo RE20, a green Sovtek Small Stone phaser and Budda Bud Wah way pedal.

Do you have a favorite effects pedal?

I’d say my Fuzz Throne currently.

Has CONAN ever tried to tune your instruments to 438 or 436 Hz before?

Nope, not yet.

Do you do recreational drugs play any part in the songwriting stages of music you make?

Nope.

Who is the artist behind the cover of “Blood Eagle”?

Tony Roberts (www.blackmindseye.org) has produced all of our artwork to date. He’s the only artist we want to work with.

Do they get to listen to the music before they begin making the album cover?

Yeah, we send Tony demos and lyrics and half completed songs as we go along - he then uses them for inspiration / referencing when he is doing our album artwork.

Will CONAN have any plans for a North American tour? 

We play Maryland Deathfest 2015 (just announced this week) but this is a one off show. We may tour at some point of course but nothing is planned just yet.

What are some releases in 2014 that you’re enjoying and/or looking forward to?

I’ve enjoyed Bast’s new album, Coltsblood released a great album earlier this year (both recorded at Skyhammer Studiowww.skyhammerstudio.com) of course the new Yob album is on the way.

Jon thank you very much for your time for this interview, I wish you guys all the best. Any last words for the readers?

You’re welcome man. To your readers I’d like to say hi, and tell them to support the bands they love.



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