Hey guys, thank you for being here. Would you like to introduce yourselves and the band?
Thanks for having us!
T: I’m Toby, I sing and play guitar.
S: I’m Sam and I play the bass
R: I’m Rob, I play guitar
E: I’m Ethan, I play drums
How did you guys choose the name ‘Conflare’, and if you were forced to choose another name, what would it be?
T: We were still in school and I remember being sat with Ethan brainstorming ideas and getting absolutely nowhere, and I eventually just said to him “I’m having a melt down over this” and we put ‘melt down’ into a translator out of desperation and Conflare came out!
E: I can’t even remember what language we put it in
R: As for another name, I’m thinking something along the lines of ‘Rob Hawkins and the…’ and you three could be the backing band.
S: Absolutely not!
Describe the music you make in just three words for those who aren’t familiar.
T: Pop-infused alternative rock… Does the hyphen make it count as one word?? If not, we’ll go pop-infused alternative
You’ve mentioned before that you got the inspiration for Conquistador from a hotel name. Is that typical of your writing process? How does it usually work?
T: It changes from song to song, with that one, I had the name before any of the lyrics or music. But I like to try new things when I write! Like my favourite track from the New York EP is a song called Dirt, and that was loosely based on a movie synopsis that I changed around to suit the song and it’s now a story about a journalist that’s a bit fed up with life and sees red light districts as a bit of a release, without saying too much.
I can’t tell you the movie though because when I finished writing the song, I watched it and had to turn it off halfway through because it was just so bad.
R: Yeah it’s different every time, for a track called Piece By Piece, I brought the chorus and Toby built the rest of the track around it. I remember when we wrote a new one called Lies, Toby burst into my room panicking that he couldn’t finish the rest of the song, and between us, we finished it in 10 minutes – and now it’s one of our favourite songs!
‘Jacket’ is a particularly moving song from the New York EP. Was there anything that inspired it?
T: Jacket was the first song we wrote for the EP, it even came before Real, Coñquistador and Tempted. But we were just waiting for the right time to release it and track 4 on an EP seemed perfect! It came from being friends with a couple that were going through a breakup and hearing both sides of the story, and having them both tell me that their bed still smelled like the other and things like that, so a lot of the lyrics to Jacket came from actual conversations I had with them both. And they’re engaged now so it’s all good!
You’ve played together now for over half a decade, and probably know each other better than you’d like to. What are your pet peeves about each other?
T: Ethan is a terrible snorer, I’ve known him the longest out of all the lads as well so it’s something I’ve had to put up with for a very long time
S: Rob’s accent, because we’re all from Leeds and he’s from Birmingham, a little bit of Brum sometimes slips out and it gets on my nerves!
R: Right then… Toby fidgets in his sleep and it annoys me so much and I want to throttle him! He’s nice when he wakes up because he makes me food but he gets me so mad!
E: Rob says ‘yo’ and ‘ennit’ far too much and I think that, if either of us ever kill him, that will be the reason why
T: And we’ve all started saying ‘ennit’ now just from doing it ironically, so we’ll all end up being just as bad! And as for Sam, I don’t think he could annoy us if he tried! Sam’s just so chilled out, he’s the perfect person to have in a band because there’s just never any arguments with Sam!
Who did you guys grow up listening to? What are your musical guilty pleasures?
R: Guilty pleasures, Shayne Ward and James Blunt, 100%, don’t even care! And I grew up listening to Green Day, literally just Green Day! I spent all the money I had on every Green Day CD… It’s kinda bad.
E: Well the first CD’s I ever owned were ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ by 50 Cent and a Beyonce album, so things could have turned out very different. Thankfully, my brother forced me to listen to Foo Fighters and I basically just listened to them and Linkin Park for 5 years, with a bit of 3 Doors Down and Akon mixed in. Nickelback are 100% my guilty pleasure. Chad Kroeger does bits.
S: I grew up listening to primarily classic rock thanks to my mum, but as I’ve grown up I got much more into alternative rock and pop punk. I mean my favourite band of all time is definitely The Strokes. As for guilty pleasures, I don’t even feel guilty anymore ahaha, can’t beat a bit of Robbie Williams and I hate to admit I liked Carly Rae Jepson’s last album.
T: Yeah I don’t have guilty pleasures, I’m a shameless Take That fan! I grew up with chart music which probably informs a lot of the poppy elements of Conflare, but now I’m into more alt-rock and pop punk as well!
You’ve described the Packhorse show as the craziest one yet. What was your favourite show you’ve ever played together?
E: Two and a half years on, the Packhorse gig is still probably my favourite. It’s not the biggest or most spectacular venue we’ve ever played but it was the first headline we ever did in Leeds and the crowd made it crazy. Air-con wouldn’t have gone amiss though…
S: My favourite show has to be Belgrave for the New York EP launch, the venue is perfect, we had some amazing supports and the crowd was wild
T: Yeah, the Belgrave show was special, it felt like everything we’d done as a band prior to that night was all building up to playing those 10 songs. But I loved playing with In Your Prime at The Wardrobe in April too, they’re one of our favourite Leeds bands at the minute and the crowd always lose their minds at IYP shows!
R: I loved the Wardrobe show as well, that was my mum’s first Conflare gig! There were pits all over and it was one of those shows that reminded me why I do this – but I have a feeling that our headline at Chapel, Leeds in October will blow it out of the water!
I’m sorry to hear you were robbed of the chance to play Slam Dunk Festival this year. What would be your favourite festival to play and what would your dream line up be for that festival be?
T: For me, Slam Dunk would have to be up there! Which made it that bit worse for us because I’ve seen some of my favourite bands play that festival! But my dream is Reading and Leeds, and on the lineup, I’d want Biffy Clyro, the Foo Fighters, Don Broco and somebody like Post Malone for the after party!
E: Glasto for me – it’s the festival init. Leeds and Reading would be sick too though. Lineup wise, I’d want the obvious ones like Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro, but I think a Glastonbury headline is clearly the perfect time for the reunion of the best band ever to walk the planet – Blue.
T: YES! BLUE! Make it happen boys!
S: I would obviously love to play Glastonbury, that’s a classic. But I really like the idea of Kendall Calling, always looks really cool. Playing with Catfish and the Bottlemen would be amazing.
R: I’d love to play Warped Tour but it’s over now! So probably Reading and Leeds, because its Reading and Leeds ennit! And on the lineup… Lil’ Pump, no I’m joking…
T: You’re not
R: No I’d definitely have Lil’ Pump… Also Green Day, Eminem, Slipknot and Blondie, and maybe Catherine Jenkins! But we headline it obviously.
If you had to be stuck on a desert island with any band, who would you choose and why?
S: If I was stuck on island it’d have to be a band with some stories. Gotta be Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl has had an interesting life.
R: Paramore, so I can marry Hayley Williams and I’m not lonely for the rest of my life… That’d be great
T: Biffy Clyro for me, I know we’re going on about the same 2 bands but they’re my favourite band and I reckon I could wangle myself a guest vocal on their next record if I spent enough time on the island annoying them
E: I’d say Don Broco. They seem hilarious and I reckon Rob Damiani could probably kill animals with his bare hands if needed, so we wouldn’t go hungry.
Why should people care about Conflare?
T: Because we’re not doing what everyone else is doing, we’re not ‘just another indie band’, you might like it, you might not, but that’s Conflare
R: And because we’ve got bops that no-one knows about yet
Finally, what can people expect from a typical Conflare gig?
E: Basically, you can expect to have a good time. We’ve worked a lot on improving our live sound lately and we write songs that are easy to dance or jump around to. Our fans are really cool and always create a good atmosphere so it’s always a good show!
S: To listen to us we’re exciting, something new. I think we’re a breath of fresh air for the music scene. We’re easy listening but can go mental when we want to. Multiply it all by 10 and that’s a Conflare show.
Check out Conflare on Twitter @conflaremusic and keep up to date with all their shows and new music!