Circuit Sweet Interview, Circuit Sweet Introducing, Feature

Introducing Conquistadors [FEATURE + Interview]

June 7, 2011
Introducing Conquistadors or Conks for short. Their name is the only thing that can be reduced for their sound is full on alluring large spirited, vibrant melodic fun math pop rock.

The 4 piece hail from Birmingham and consist of:

Adam Jaremko- Guitar
Andy Palmer- Drums
Oz Powles- Bass, Vocals
James Sharp- Guitar, Vocals

In May the band released their 7 track EP “On Tape” which is streaming below and available now via their bandcamp.
The effort highlights more maturity following previous releases; priding itself on catchy verses, stop start riffs, punchy guitars, enticing basslines, bold beats and overall a diverse collection of harmonious hits.

I stumbled across Conquistadors bandcamp page which bought such attention to my music needs, the feeling to share the band was a must.

Any of our hardcore followers may already be aware of Conks, we featured a forthcoming gig including this 4 piece earlier this month. The gig is featured HERE and takes place this saturday.
Circuit Sweet will be covering this date, a live review will of course follow but for now we’ve got an introducing interview feature thanks to Conquistadors drummer Andy taking the time to be a part of CS.

Firstly thank you Andy.
  • Firstly tell us a little bit of background info. How did you all meet and form the band?  
 It started with myself and James being in a generic, Green Day wannabe pop-punk band which lasted just over a year I think until the bassist left. We were friends with Oz who we knew played bass so invited him to meet us for a jam. Pretty much straight away we all realised that we had all moved on from pop-punk and wanted to play music that was more challenging and reflected our evolving musical tastes; and thus would be ultimately more rewarding. After a couple of months of jamming the odd verse and chorus but mostly going on rambling 20-minute structureless nonsense, James and Oz went to Uni and I went to work, leaving our band time extremely limited to a couple sessions in holidays. It was at Leicester uni where Oz met Ad, who just so happened to come from Birmingham, play the guitar, and have similar opinions on music as us – so Oz invited him round for tea and to play some music. 
 We all hit it off, and with the addition of a second guitar we finally started to be able to establish some kind of a structure for our songs. It was then the Conks were established – around 5 years ago now.
  • Interesting band name, but where does it originate from?   
 The Conquistadors were a Spanish/Portuguese army who went to South America to explore, conquer and generally steal a shit load of gold. They’re the reason why so many South American countries are predominantly Portuguese/Spanish or variations there of in language and culture. James and Oz will insist that everyone should know about this, and anyone who doesn’t is nothing short of ignorant; I would argue that those people just went to a junior school that didn’t have South American history on the curriculum – i.e. mine; as I had no idea who they were before the name was touted by Oz.  
 Regardless of all this, the name was chosen because it sounds cool, and not because we have any particular affinity with the continent of South America.  Saying that, I do love a quesadilla.
  • What are your collective influences, or your personal own which reflects in your compositions?   
 The main thing behind the Conks music is despite all having a mutual appreciation of bands like The Mars Volta, Reuben, Queens of the Stone Age and Rx Bandits; we all have our preferences which we like to incorporate into our individual styles of play.  
 Personally, my biggest stylistic influences that I bring into the band come from listening to bands like The Living End, McLusky, Bullets and Octane and still holding a torch for old favourites like Offspring and, indeed, Green Day.  Listen closely enough and you can tell that all of us have very different musical styles, but this band allows us to put all this diversity into a big ol’ pot and some how make a sexy rock stew out of it. 
 Yep, that’s right – Conquistadors: Making Sexy Musical Stews Since 2005.
  • Previously myself and Andy have spoke about Andy’s air drumming and how you started air drumming before you played. But what actually got you into making drumming more than just a fantasy?  
 Convenience. The reason I initially joined the band with James was because I overheard him saying his drummer had quit. I moseyed on over and said I’d give it a go. Couple of weeks later I got a cheap crappy old set of drums, and fortunately my air drumming was so geeky and precise it was relatively easy to transfer from pots and pans to real drums. The rest, fans of cliché say, is history.
  • How would you best describe your sound in 5 words?  
 Catchy, melodic, mathy, thrashy pop.
  •   Is the song writing a join effort, or do you have your own role?   
 Our songs usually start one of two ways: a good riff/bass line will come from a jam, and we will work from there; or one of the guitarists will have thought up something at home for us to jam through and work from. We very rarely – if at all – have specific ideas for song structure or development. Our songs are almost exclusively organic compositions. Christ, that was a good sentence.
  • The EP we are featuring for your introducing post is your latest May release found in “On Tape”. Following this release your last effort was “Rochelle, Rochelle” which was brought to the world in October of 2009.  Between that time frame what were you all doing to get to point you’re at now? 
 Practising and improving! We are ridiculously big critics of ourselves, so with each new song we record we find new problems with our song writing, song structure and individual playing – so we work on that. We’ve also been playing a lot more gigs than we used to. As a result of this, we feel we’re better as a band and individual musicians than we’ve ever been.
  • On Tape is resonating in maturity. It’s pure melodic fun and highlights how you’ve grown from your 09 release. What inspired you all to write this? Whats the reason behind this record?  
 As I said before, we’re always improving and we feel On Tape highlights this.  We also think the songs on the EP represent the diversity of our sound, and we’re confident that despite only being a 4-track EP, that there is a song on there for everyone. When people speak to us about their opinions on the record, there isn’t a clear unanimous favourite – and that is a great example of our range.
  • Tell us of the recording process for the EP/ where it was recorded/ time/ gear/ any awesome stories etc.   
 We recorded the EP with the fabulous Johnny Fowkes, with the drums recorded at Mat Hat studies in Wolverhampton and the guitars/vocals recorded in Johnny’s own Secret Lab studies in Hinckley. The final mix was done by Sam Manville (ex-Blakfish and now regularly gigging with his new band Hymns). 
 As with everything the Conks have done, the recording path was strewn with ridiculous bad luck: Me not being able to record with my own drums, so had to borrow a kit – but ended up borrowing the kit of the wrong band (who just so happened needed it that night for a gig), and then not having the right stand for the floor tom so had to use one of my socks as a makeshift tied clamp; to guitar amps breaking; Ad sleeping next to a radiator on full-blast whilst lying on a stuffed horses head the night before his guitar parts were recorded; To one of the songs that should have been on the EP being accidentally recorded too slow, so it had to be dropped and replaced by an updated version of Rochelle, Rochelle’s Bake Your Cake and Eat It. 
If you want ridiculous bad luck, see the Conks.
  • Where did the name for the EP arise? 
 A couple years ago, James went travelling around Asia (that’s the kind of interesting, worldly guy he is, y’know) so that left us 3 (myself, Ad, Oz) alone. We spent our time recording silly instrumental pieces in our practice room. We called this project ‘On Tape’, and we liked the name so much we thought we’d use it for our EP title.
  • How are you feeling about the positive reception the release has received so far?  
 Bloody annoyed! No, obviously we are dead chuffed it’s proving as popular as it is. Speaking for myself I love the record, so it’s brilliant to see. I’m a naturally pessimistic man, so I can never really appreciate someone liking something I have done for any reason other than politeness; but people seem to genuinely like On Tape, which is awesome.
        You recently premiered a new video for track Black Swans. How did 
        this video come about? (please all grow Mexican moustaches) Did you 
        have much input to the filming?

 The day we spent shooting the video was an absolute blast. We filmed it with Simon Clarke (of Simon Clarke Video Production), who was brilliant. 
Basically, he let us loose with a bunch of stupid masks and told us to mess around, which we did. It was a ridiculously silly day, and that was shown in the video. We don’t take ourselves particularly seriously, so I think the video is a brilliant representation of our energy and humour.  And trust me – I’ve tried to convince the others to grow ‘taches but alas, no dice.
  • Circuit Sweet has already featured a forthcoming insane gig you will be playing, where we will be concluding this feature with a live review. You are set to play support for the legendary outfit Tera Melos. And for those that have so far listened to how vibrant your music is but yet to see you live; what do your live performances capture?  
 Our live performances are always fun: we play our songs with smiles on our faces and our live shows reflect that. We also have little lights on our instruments. Who said pyrotechnics are dead?
  • All featured artists are asked this- What album or track has been stuck on your turntable, ipod, cd player for a while now?  
 I finally got around to buying ‘Kill The Man That Shot That Man’ by &U&I the other week, and really cannot stop listening to it. I’ve also been listening to Shapes’ debut album ‘Monotony Chic’ a fair bit; and always, ALWAYS end up going back to the brilliant ‘Mandala’ by Rx Bandits.
  • Finally What does the future hold that we can all look forward to?  
 We’ve already got a couple of songs under our belts and we’re planning to start writing some more from the end of June. With work and some good luck we will hopefully be looking at another release by the end of the year. We’re also planning an Autumn tour with a good friends Il Brutto, so keep an eye out for that.
Not a bad introducing feature!
Join the lads live this saturday alongside &U&I, Shapes, Tangled Hair and Tera Melos
The radical event being put on by new booking/promo team Stone Cold Jane Austen, who happen to be 2 of Conks. Providing their hometown with a fantastic live scene. More reason to adore this band.
Tickets for the event still available online to collect at the box office here- Tera Melos @ HMV Institue Tickets
This isn’t the last this band will be featured here.

The EP is also available via I-Tunes –

Get closer to the four:!/conksband

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