"We always try so hard and put so much of ourselves in. So why wouldn’t we focus on the importance of every little thing?" - Conor Marshall
Conjurer recently released their hotly-anticipated new album 'Páthos' via Nuclear Blast.
An excruciatingly heavy, emotionally dense and expertly crafted collection of songs, it's a record that not only extends the band's fascinating world but also shows off, even more, their musical prowess. It's a lot to take on, and even more to digest, but it's a record that will stick to you like tar and live within you and your psyche for weeks on end. It's that powerful.
To discuss the creation of it, we sat down with guitarist Brady Deeprose and bassist Conor Marshall and found out about what it is like to craft extreme art...
How do you feel your process has shifted from where you were back in 2018 on ‘Mire’ to where you are now?
Brady: "The thing is that on ‘Mire’, we didn’t really know what we were doing, and some would argue still to this day. But we put it out there with zero expectations and no idea that anyone would really like it. And now, not there is an expectation, but we don’t have to win everyone over from zero. I’m now confident that if we like the music, there is an audience for it. And writing what we think is sick has been our mantra since the very beginning. We’re always going to be writing this for us. Of course, we have an obligation to pay back the people who have supported us and been excited about this. But fulfilling that came from writing an album that we all thought was fucking sick. We just wanted to be able to do it right as well."
Conor: "That obligation also extends to each of us when we write it. We spend so long arguing about the tiniest little things, the things that only we will even notice. But when it comes to those details, we always try so hard and put so much of ourselves in. So why wouldn’t we focus on the importance of every little thing? And the same comes to touring and artwork and vinyl. Why wouldn’t we put the same effort and care into those things as we made the music?"
So what would you say was the core objective of this album, beyond being something you all love?
Brady: "When we started writing for the record, it was the first time since me and Dan had initially sat down to jam that we had no material whatsoever. ‘Mire’ was written at the same time as the first EP, so it took seven years for us to be at a place where we were starting from scratch again. But what that allowed me to do was feel the benefits of just being a band again. We came from being some guys in shitty little local bands to being a band who had toured the world and been able to move out of parents’ houses and live this as our life. You would imagine that your music would change as well because of that new life experience, and this was the first time we could consider the benefits of that. And with that clean slate, we also knew we didn’t want to make ‘Mire Pt. 2’. We didn’t want to say, ‘This will be this album’s ‘Wretch’’ or whatever. There was no blueprint. It showed how we as people have evolved over the years. It’s a more in-depth exploration of the heavy music that we all enjoy more than anything."
Conor: "There were points when Dan said he wanted the whole album to feel like ‘Rot’ does. Just utterly disgusting and discordant and horrible. But when you hear the album now, you can hear that it didn’t end up like that at all. What comes out comes out. A few ideas would always get floated around about specificity, but we will write whatever we think is as good as possible. That can take off in any direction."
It’s cliché, but that’s the way that life works as well. It ebbs and flows and shifts and changes, and that’s what these songs and this record do throughout the run-time. And that’s beautiful in its own dark way…
Conor: "And that’s the duality of all of this. We zoom in and work on those little things and argue through them because then when you zoom out, it all makes sense and can flow in that way. We’re trying to make this music feel as seamless as possible and make sense. That’s always been an aim. Be that something belonging somewhere or us bringing in a surprising heavy part, it needs to have its place. It’s a weird process when you’re in the middle of it, but it’s a vital part of all of this."
Brady: "And that’s one of the main differences between Conjurer and any other bands I have played in. Those transitions from song to song, section to section, note to note, riff to riff. We have always focused on making them invisible, exciting, smooth, or shocking. I think that is the difference."
What was the central feeling that you feel like you wanted to get across throughout these tracks? There’s a lot of unease, fear, and trepidation built into the walls, but was that what you were aiming for?
Brady: "I wouldn’t say we ever did it on purpose, but I think those feelings come down to meticulous songwriting. If you are writing classical music or a movie score, everything is placed there for a reason. I can see parallels with us on that front, but I don’t think it’s something that we ever set out to achieve."
Conor: "It’s one of those things where we ended up more than anything. We never set out for this whole project to centre around fear, even if it does pop up in the themes of some of the songs. We went with ‘Páthos’ as the title because it’s the Greek word for suffering, but that wasn’t until the end of the process. We felt like it represented much of what this meant to us, but it was never the aim. The lyrics and the musical themes centred around sadness, the harder parts of life, and how you deal with them. It’s about the darker side of the human experience."
Brady: "I don’t think we will ever make a record that forces limitations in what we have to write about. That’s not what we will ever be about."
And how are you feeling as you consider taking the record out into the world and playing it on stage? Have you considered the life it might take or how it might evolve in that environment?
Conor: "I feel like we have hammered so much of ourselves into this record. We will be proud of this album regardless of anything else. But to then consider how it will feel with us taking it to the stage, everything still weirdly feels tied into the pandemic. Like, we needed the pandemic to be able to get this album done and out. And I’m proud of where the band is at this point. But we really don’t know where things will go from here when it comes to being on stage. I feel like we are back to the place of being as good as we were before the pandemic, which is a nice place to be. So it’s a case of looking at our plans and seeing what happens."
Brady: "We love this band and making music together, and that will never change, regardless of everything else."