Conquistadors
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Conquistadors

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
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Oct
15
Conquistadors @ Flapper and Firkin

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Opening the night, and blitzing through a quick firing set in order not to overrun into the next bands time was Circuit Sweet’s recently featured Birmingham based, fun loving, large spirited, melodic math pop 4-piece Conquistadors. In the short time frame the boys still managed to deliver and convey exactly what they are about and what they’re capable of. It’s always tough being the opening band to any night but this was no fear to the four as Conks managed to immediately set the standard. As the crowd continued to pour into the venue, the compositions connected with all gig goers and drew them into their performance. Replenishing their set with contagious riffs and consistently offering harmonious orchestrations from start to finish. Conquistadors provided a blistering live act. Their sound filling the temple (HMV Institute) with fast paced warmth and amongst the melody still offering a ferocious bite. Their sound spanning a cross of genres highlighting their abilities to fuse collective influences and do it well. This band left a distinctive taste for more. - Circuit Sweet


According to reviewer Stephen, Conquistadors are; "Four lads from Birmingham who play some of the most exciting music ever to come out of a guitar."
A Level History taught me many things. Chiefly, that you could always spot a Habsburg by his enormous chin, and that one of the most important jobs in England during the Middle Ages was to accompany the monarch on his visits to the smallest room.

Conquistadors

Another factoid that I acquired back then was that the Spanish spent much of the sixteenth century sending out people to relieve the Aztecs and the Incas of their land.
History lessons
These kindly souls tore through the Americas massacring anyone who got in their way in the name of civilisation. They were called the Conquistadors and a more delightful bunch of people it would be impossible to meet (probably because the Conquistadors would have killed them first).
What the history books did not tell me was that centuries later, the name of these adventurers/anti-heroes would be taken by four lads from Birmingham who play some of the most exciting music ever to come out of a guitar.

Conquistadors

Sweet dreams are made of Conquistadors
Conquistadors are a reviewer's dream and nightmare rolled into one: nightmare because their music is impossible to pigeon hole as purely "indie", "prog rock" or "new wave"; and a dream for exactly the same reason.
In the space of a single song such as "Ave Maria", the style sweeps from a Spanish influenced instrumental introduction through to Ska-ish sounds and Prog-Rock meanderings.
Similarly their other songs mash genres together with careless abandon. "The British Are Coming" mixes Lo-Fi indie with early eighties New Wave, all held together with rhythms more commonly associated with the music of Mali.

Conquistadors

In the mix
To say that Conquistadors are eclectic is to do them a disservice. Their melding of musical ideas puts them in an impressive league of their own. They are unlike anything ever heard before.
While the lyrics are largely unintelligible, and those that are audible are largely undecipherable ("Oh when the time goes/There's no happy accidents" - anyone?) this should not put you off.
Conquistadors' music transcends lyrical content. And who needs words when you've got the panoramic glory of "Ave Maria"?

Conquistadors

Words
Nevertheless, (vaguely) comprehendible lyrics can be found in places. The relentless verbal onslaught that is "DCD" features such gems as "Tear your eyes away or I'll oblige/and I'll show no remorse." Well, quite.
Conquistadors pride themselves on their musical diversity. Their MySpace page boasts of each song sounding different from the last to "accommodate all of our influences". And it is a boast of which they should be proud. It may be the first case of a band getting together over musical differences.
Here's to more of the same differences. Much more. - BBC Music


My favourite Birmingham based, Spanish Imperialism themed, rabble-rousing 4-piece, Conquistadors, are back with a new EP. It’s been a while since we’ve heard a release from them, but in that time they’ve progressed and matured more than any band of their stature has a right to. It’s a chunky release this time, a full 7 tracks of intricately woven angular post-punk, entitled On Tape. So what have the boys produced for us this time?

Well the EP opens with the sounds of radio static punctuated by brief glimpses of what is to come, before launching full speed into Black Swans, a wonderfully uplifting piece of perfectly crafted alt-rock that is faintly reminiscent of Wowee Zowee era Pavement. The off-kilter intro to the song swiftly leads into one of the catchiest verses I’ve heard in years (I use the word ‘verse’ tentatively as Conquistadors care little for traditional songwriting structures) - interlacing guitars, punchy bass and driving drums building to a crescendo of barely-contained chaos that will have you reaching to start the track from the beginning.

But resist the urge! Homework, my personal favourite on the EP, follows with 6-odd minutes of sweeping guitar melodies, soaring vocal harmonies and a ‘chorus’ featuring a line one could imagine Professor Brian Cox using on a lady (not sure what that says about my imagination but there you go). The perfect mix of progressive, intricate musicality contained in a framework of pop sensibilities on this track typifies Conquistadors’ ethos and is a perfect example of why you need this band in your life. Without a doubt, one of my favourite songs of 2011 so far.

That isn’t to belittle the rest of the EP at all though. Homework is followed by the Daughters-esque furious stabbing-tempo and razor vocals that comprise the first minute of Oh, Luxembourg!. The chaos subsides as quickly as it appears, shifting effortlessly into an escalating refrain of beautiful vocal harmonies and catchy rhythms that is simply a joy to listen to. The manner in which Conquistadors blend two vastly contrasting styles together in one 3-minute song, without it sounding disjointed, shows just how versatile this band are.

The EP also features a remastered version of Bake Your Cake And Eat It from the excellent 2009 release Rochelle, Rochelle, a review of which can be found here - unfortunately demand was so high that all handmade copies of Rochelle, Rochelle have sold out, however I am assured that the entire EP will be available for free download in the near future.

Rounding off the EP are remixes of the tracks Homework and Nails by Si Irving (of Inspired Insomniac/Tin Can Radio fame) and Sam Manville (former Blakfish member, now plying his trade with Hymns and Greatest Hits) respectively. The Inspired Insomniac remix of Homework is a wonderfully fresh take on a great song comprised of ambient electronic beats and loops that reminds me of Dntel, or some of Four Tet’s more restrained pieces. The Greatest Hits remix of Nailshas a darker, brooding quality replete with droning strings, threatening to, but never quite collapsing into a wall of static noise, perfectly suited to the feel of the original track.

In summary, On Tape is a bold release, broad in it’s scope, and daring in it’s approach. Never content to settle into one style or genre, Conquistadors have created a real gem here, an intricately woven tapestry of alt-rock with a smile on it’s face, the perfect way to kick start your summer. Released on May 14th through Godmonkey Recordings, you have absolutely no excuse not to check On Tape out, it is simply f*cking brilliant. - A Girl Called Sam


Daring with sounds is a rarity from most artists but the reason for making music for Birmingham band Conquistadors. Well whether truly the reason or just a cool bonus for us, it is what the foursome produce with relish. They understand sounds and how to make which on the surface appear are random noises work perfectly within the structure of their compositions. I have always been a lover of bands that bring that discordant array of sounds together ever since the emergence in the mid 80’s of The Fire Engines so it is a real joy to find Conquistadors continuing those ideas with their forthcoming third EP ‘On Tape’. Shamefully not having come across them before I feel a loss and from hearing this 7 track release it is something I will be rectifying right away.

The ‘On Tape EP’ begins fully after a brief intro with the track ‘Black Swans’ which upon the opening disarray of scaling notes gives notice of what is ahead. It is a delightful slice of indie pop kind of like Hot Hot Heat with balls and some real inventiveness and taste of adventure in sound that the Canadians have never discovered. I use the word pop loosely as they and their music are truly rock of the highest order skirting at times punk and more so progressive rock but this track is maybe the most accessible to many people who like a lighter formula approach. The progressive sound is fully on show with the 6 minute slightly jazzy grooved track ‘Homework’, maybe for me slightly overlong but never dull and always intriguing, something all tracks can be labelled with. The guitars of Adam Jaremko and James Sharp are exceptional throughout the track and the whole EP, more than once rivalling anything At The Drive In or Mars Volta, renowned for their musical ability in this genre have created. The bass and drums of Oz Powles and Andy Palmer respectively create an inventive framework of rhythm for the adventurous sounds to mould to and the twin vocal attack of Sharp and Powles are great instruments to compliment the overall sound rather than simply lead it.

Fourth track on the release ‘Oh, Luxembourg’, is an aggressive attacking clash of noises starting out with a punky and almost metal front line slowly mellowing as the song passes through its movements and fights for the best track on show. The ‘On Tape EP’ has the added bonus of a remastered version of ‘Bake Your Cake & Eat It’ from their last EP and it is the track that grabbed me most of all, a simply wonderful piece of sound that defies you not to have at least 2 parts of your body grooving as you listen. There are also a couple of remixes, one of ‘Homework’ remixed by Simon Irving of Tin Can Radio, under his solo-project pseudonym Inspired Insomniac and of ‘Nails’ remixed by Sam Manville, ex-Blakfish and currently in Hymns andGreatest Hits. I am no fan of remixes, just a personal thing, but I have to say the latter track is a neat atmospheric piece of music that had me imagining it as the backdrop to a slow motion desperate historical battlefield with men dying as they fall.

Conquistadors with the ‘On Tape EP’ have created simply a musical masterpiece in its ingenuity and inventiveness. It may not be to everyone’s tastes; being too out of the box for those liking simplicity in their ears but this is stuff that inspires new musicians to think and try different avenues for their ideas, just for that Conquistadors should be checked out. The EP is released on May 14th on the Godmonkey Recordings label and the band will tour it so try and catch them when dates are announced shortly. Find out more at http://www.conksmusic.co.uk/ or www.godmonkey.com - RockPulse Magazine


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.



Conquistadors - Black Swans from Simon Clarke Video Production on Vimeo.
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 - http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/on-tape/id436891439 - Circuit Sweet


If you’re looking for some home grown music with a bit of edge and bite, you could do far, far worse than listening to Conquistadors. The four piece act have been producing challenging (in a good way) music since they first started up in 2008. Apart from a brief hiatus for sight-seeing around the world, Conquistadors have been honing their trade as loud musical experimentalists with fantastic results.

A great start:

Their opening EP featured a whole plethora of sounds and styles. In one song alone (“Ave Maria”), the band took the listener on a sonic voyage of discovery from Spanish flavours through Ska-ish sounds to Prog-Rock meanderings.

This was followed in 2009 with a shorter two track EP called Rochelle, Rochelle, named after a Sienfeld in-joke. One of these tracks, “Bake Your Cake and Eat It” now reappears remastered on the band’s latest offering, “On Tape” - a mini album full of noise, radio tuning, fantastic experimental noodling and yet more noise. Conquistadors’ (Conks, for short) third EP/mini album is their first with their new label, Birmingham’s own Godmonkey Recordings.

The record is an excellent summary of where the band are (and have been) to date featuring new songs, the above mentioned remastering and two remixes of band favourites. Apparently a further EP will be on its way after recording restarts in April. It’s all go in the land of Conks.

Track by track:

So what can we expect from On Tape? Well, the EP proper starts off with “Black Swans”, a fast paced indie track interspersed with dirty guitars weaving between each other chaotically, constantly upping the pace and the ante. Next song, “Homework” starts off slightly more sedately while maintaining a busy sounding mechanical guitar riff, but soon escalates into another explosion of glorious noise before dying away towards something poignant and rather lovely. Who’d have thought!

All of which makes the following track “Oh, Luxembourg!” all the more startling, commencing as it does with a series of yells, the volume of which hasn’t been heard since Angie and Den Watts split up on Eastenders. But for all that noise, things eventually calm down to a less headache inducing level with a nice little bit of waltz time counterpoint taking the song towards its close. Don’t expect them to be gliding round the dance floor on Strictly Come Dancing this Christmas, but there is something rather charming about it.

The EP closes with the elegiac “Nails”, a remix of one of the next EP’s tracks. It’s full of haunting strings and despairing yells. Painful yes, but heartbreakingly beautiful as well.

“I can’t hear a word you’re saying!”:

Lyrics, as ever, are often intelligible, but for the occasional nuggets of clarity. Whatever the songs are about, there seems to be a pervading theme of science and science fiction. “I’ve got a spaceman’s suit” runs one line in “Black Swans” while “Homework” features the “You need time travel to repair what you’ve done”.

To brand Conquistadors’ sound as being just noisy (however glorious) is to undersell them. And to undersell them a lot. This band is no Slipknot or Cradle of Filth. Theirs is not noise designed for noise’s sake (and the additional benefit for teenagers to annoy their parents).

The real gloriousness to be found in Conks’ music is their playfulness, their inventiveness. It is the sheer scale of these four musicians’ imagination that any glory can be found. And the fact that their music can, at times, be a little loud is just an added bonus. Great stuff! - Reviewage.net


We haven't got a softcopy that we can get the text from, so we've put a scan of the article in the photos section :) - The Metro


Discography

1. Out Of Experience EP
2. Rochelle, Rochelle!

[Signed to Godmonkey Recordings between these two...]

3. On Tape EP - Available on iTunes. Airplay on student radio, live set for DemonFM, Leicester.

Photos

Bio

Conquistadors are four friends from Birmingham making music without boundaries.

Eclectic tastes and an unstructured style make for high-energy, catchy songs that can be infectious pop one second and hellish noise the next.

Our ethos is one built of a conscious desire to develop new sounds whilst bucking old trends; if anything’s true about Conquistadors, it’s that we're almost impossible to pigeonhole.

The last year saw us record ‘On Tape’, film a video for ‘Black Swans’, and playing myriad shows including the now legendary Blakfish farewell show, the second Off The Cuff festival and live with Tera Melos at the HMV Institute.

Since forming, Conquistadors have shared the stage with All Or Nothing, Blacklisters, Blakfish, Greatest Hits, IO, The JCQ, KONG, Shapes, Shoes and Socks Off, Talons, Tera Melos, These Monsters and &U&I amongst many other distinguished and hardworking bands.

Affectionately labelled ‘Conks’ by our fans, we're the latest band to join the Godmonkey roster with our EP, ‘On Tape’.