(Earlier this year the Heavy Psych Sounds label announced a series of splits called Doom Sessions, and Volume I (released in mid-July) featured songs by the UK’s Conan and Italy’s Deadsmoke. This prompted Comrade Aleks to reach out to the label and the bands with a few questions, and we present the results today, along with music from the split.)
It’s important to keep some unity during this shitty time. Paradise Lost says “Faith divides us, Death unites us”, but indeed there’s a damn lot of things which divide us – politics, Covid, politics again, etc. Split albums always offer this sense of unity inside the heavy scene, and here we have one.
As Heavy Psych Sounds Records have launched a series of splits entitled Doom Sessions, I made the decision to support it with such short interviews as you’ll find below. Doom Sessions‘ first edition includes songs from the almighty crushing Conan (UK) and their younger sludgy brothers Deadsmoke (Italy). A few words from the label’s founder Gabriel Fiori (Black Rainbows band) clarify a few details about this series as well.
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS
Gabriel why did you choose Conan and Deadsmoke to represent the series of split Doom Sessions? Why do you think these two bands look well alongside each other?
Hey, Hello! Well when I heard that Conan were into the Doom Sessions split project I was very happy, and yes I thought about a band who could fit with the sound of Conan, and immediately I had Deadsmoke in mind. Conan was a big thing, ’cause they are pretty well-known, and because the number of bands who represent Doom-Sludge-Occult are limited of course. Anyway, the sounds of the two bands I think work really well together
Did you ask the guys for some special songs or were you ready to accept everything they could offer at the moment?
Well we discussed this with each band, and of course something brand new is always something great and more welcome, but we can’t pretend that the bands could go into the studio in the time frame when we asked for the songs. Deadsmoke were able to record something new and they did, and Conan had this long piece of music already released but in low pressing, so we thought it could be good for the split.
( Discussion with Jon Paul Davis )
Hi Jon! So you’ve prepared the song ‘Beheaded’ for this split, and seven years ago it was presented on a split album with Bongripper. Why did you choose it? Does it channel the band’s spirit at full capacity?
Well, when Gabriel wrote to us we were (and are) in the process of writing a new album. The option of giving Gabriel a new and unreleased track wasn’t possible because all our new material is going into the new album. ‘Beheaded’ is a cool song, that I reckon it presents the band well. It’s pretty long too, so it fills out the side of the record nicely.
Did you record it anew for Doom Sessions?
This version is the original version.
Conan – Beheaded
Who was beheaded in your song?
I think the listener can choose, and in the current political climate I think there could be a long list.
Your full-length album Existential Void Guardian was released back in 2018. May we expect new material from Conan before the end of 2020?
I don’t think the new album will be out in 2020. The Covid pandemic has severely restricted our ability to tour and record because we don’t live in the same town. Travel for Johnny is difficult currently, because he is in Ireland. Once that frees up again, we will operate more freely.
As you took part in Doom Sessions… which musical qualities does Doom personify for you?
Doom metal is watered down now I think – many who claim to belong to the genre present a watered-down version of this particular strand of HEAVY music. I think that is sad. Doom metal is meant to be supremely heavy, and most doom bands don’t live up to that.
How do you see Deadsmoke’s tracks, considering your vision of Doom?
Deadsmoke worship the riff and they slay, so that’s good enough for me.
Hi Deadsmoke! There are two new songs in Doom Sessions from your side. Did you record both exclusively for this release?
Yes, of course! We had them almost ready, so we decided to get them finished, record them, and put them in this split album. We didn’t have much time, as the deadline was quite close, but Pola and Fabio really supported us with the recording and sticking with the deadline.
How do you see these songs in comparison with your previous works? Do you see it as essential Deadsmoke material?
These songs contain a lot of essential-Deadsmoke, but also a good amount of future-Deadsmoke. We tried to add some more fevered tempo here and there, in order to highlight the reflexive hypnotic heavy psych parts of the songs. Actually we think we are changing a lot, but friends deny this… “no guys, everything always sounds exactly the same”… so the answer to your question is YES, IT’S DEADSMOKE ESSENTIAL MATERIAL
How well do you think ‘Dethroned Concrete’ and ‘Dead Minds Army’ work together with Conan’s ‘Beheaded’? Would you say that both bands are on same wave?
They work perfectly together, even if they are two distinct concepts. Conan’s ‘Beheaded’ is a full immersion in deep chasms to the gist of life. Our songs are a kind of a chaotic sinister climax heading to disorientation. In the aggregate the album is a well-balanced journey into yourself.
What are you talking about in these songs?
Nature and Humanity, a colliding existence, a preview of a failure.
Deadsmoke – ‘Dethroned Concrete’
Did the Covid quarantine change your attitude towards music? How did you endure this period?
During the lockdown we missed our rehearsal room a lot, also because we knew that it is the most sterile room existing, due to the huge amount of alcohol it contains. We also missed live concerts. So actually Covid highlighted the importance of playing and listening to live music, and made us better understand that music should be felt with the whole body, not just with ears.
What does Doom mean for you considering your musical tastes?
Best discovery ever. The ultimate Milestone of a long musical path. That’s the music which is going to escort us in the grave.
Heavy Psych Sounds Records