Courtesy of Travis Barker’s cultural renaissance and the prominence of artists like Machine Gun Kelly …
With a sharp, modern take on nu metal, alternative rock, rap and industrial elements, Perth’s liveconformdie, aka Conform, are what genre-defying dreams are made of.
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Currently in command of close to 7 million streams on Spotify and snapping heads since forming back in 2015, there’s little that the DIY-driven quintet can’t do, thanks in part to their defiant drive to break down gatekeeping and tell it like it is (while shattering bones with their riffs, beats, and grooves for good measure).
Now in possession of a brand new EP, with liveconformdie’s latest outing Vol II: Music For Living Failures releasing earlier this month, the Conform gents have furthered their dramatic emergence beyond the underground complete with anthems, moody electronics, and even a quick vocal intro from Ms. Britney Spears herself on one of its tracks. No longer simply “ones to watch” but instead now ones settling in to set the Aussie heavy scene on fire, liveconformdie will imminently celebrate the new EP in a live setting at Amplifier Bar in Perth this Saturday August 27. But before the show, guitarist and producer Jez opened up about finally having Music For Living Failures out in the world after having it sit in Dropbox folders for lengthy periods of time.
“It just feels amazing to have it out there,” Jez reveals. “I was so sick of it just sitting in my Dropbox! Every time we had a new demo, it gets updated in the Dropbox and it felt like we were just stuck in this infinite cycle of just updating demos without ever releasing it. So, when Olivia, our manager, came to us, she was like: Boys, we need a deadline,” Jez pauses, laughing.
“And we were like: We definitely do, because we can just keep sinking hours and hours and hours into these songs and just never release them!”.
With the collection of ever-growing demos resulting in seven brand new tracks of liveconformdie goodness, there’s an undeniable fluctuation of genre-influences lying in wait on the latest EP, with the band’s previously labelled inspirations Slipknot, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Brockhampton, and Royal Blood all making their own nuanced appearances alongside the Conform established hallmarks. And it’s no coincidence that there’s a boundless array of sonic flavours, as Jez elaborates.
“We went into Music For Living Failures with no holds barred,” explains Jez. “Whatever sounded good was going in, whatever riff sounded good made the cut. And whatever sounded a bit iffy was cut. We branch into a whole different bunch of genres, we’re inspired by just about everything. So, the more flavours that we could add to the EP the better, in our opinion – but obviously without overdoing it and keeping a constant.
“The whole EP is in one session. So all of the guitars or the bass, everything is exactly the same sound through the whole session and the mix, and the master obviously is exactly the same. But this just lets us put any flavour we want into an already determined sound. And if it sounds good, if it works well? It stays! But if it doesn’t convert properly…99% of the stuff that you imagine in your head doesn’t convert well into the mix. There’s so many little off cuts and little muted bits that are just hanging around the session that just didn’t make the cut.”
Whatever sounded good was going in, whatever riff sounded good made the cut. And whatever sounded a bit iffy was cut. We branch into a whole different bunch of genres, we’re inspired by just about everything.
[ Jez ]
With the EP releasing in 2022 after the world going mad(der) the past few years, talk turns to whether the band had already intended to release this year, or if they may have released sooner had the pandemic and lockdowns not reared their respective ugly heads.
“We just used the pandemic as an excuse to be slow and write songs really slowly,” laughs Jez. “For like two years or something probably, these songs have just been marinating, just evolving over time.
“But even if the pandemic hadn’t have happened – honestly, I think it would’ve been exactly the same outcome, I don’t think anything would’ve changed with releasing the EP this year. We have this concept called “Conform Time” where everything in the band runs much, much slower creatively than in real time. We like to sink a lot of hours into what we think sounds good”.
With Jez once again seated in the producer’s chair for Music For Living Failures, he helmed the group’s fearless dedication to DIY production – and the reality for bringing the EP to life saw the group traverse a horde of demos, two years, and three locations to ultimately bring it to life.
“This EP was actually created in three different locations,” Jez reveals. “I’d moved, I had a relationship, moved into a new place and took the studio with me. And so, we recorded in a whole bunch of different houses and alongside different relationships. It was like two years, right? So there’s a lot that can go on in two years. And in different takes you can hear those different spots, especially in the track Fetish, you can hear that the room reverb in the take is different, and it’s noticeable on Nü Life too. The different vocal takes sound different in the different songs because they’re recorded in a different location or a different studio room.
“It’s a lot of the room reverb, it gets really squished with the compression and all that crap. So, when it’s bad, you can really hear it. But Bring Me The Horizon do it, so we can get away with it”.
With their EP hometown launch show imminent, the band are undoubtedly excited to play a lot of their new material onstage, some for the first time. But as to what Jez is himself most excited to play?
“Each song on the EP is special to me in a different way,” Jez muses. “But that’s because each track has its own flavour and its own story. My favourite to play, and actually the favourite for each of the boys is Big Homie. It just sounds so huge at rehearsal and we haven’t played it live yet – but this Saturday we’re playing live and I am so keen!”
Having previously shared stages with the likes of Thy Art Is Murder, Chelsea Grin, Born Of Osiris, The Amity Affliction, Protest The Hero and many, many more, could there be anyone left at this point on liveconformdie’s bucket list regarding bands they’d love to tour with or even collaborate with in future?
“Oh man, I’d love to work with Freddie Dredd or Killswitch Engage,” Jez enthuses. “And obviously Slipknot, Korn, any of them. I saw that Corey Taylor did a spot with Code Orange on one of their songs, and I was like: OK, if he’s up for it for Code Orange, then maybe there’s a chance?!
“Other than that, just anyone I look up to, that’s who I’d love to have on a track and I’d love to tour with them too. In terms of some Aussie East Coast bands, bands like Banks Arcade or The Gloom In The Corner would be on the list as well, they would be a perfect fit. And Dropout Kings, we’ve already got them on, when they were starting to make their rise they came to our attention, their vocal stuff fit really well with our heavy instrumentals. So we got them on our track Luxury Letdown, which was our last single before the EP. That did better than I was expecting!
“Ultimately, there’s a whole bunch of different creatives and flavours that I’d love to explore, but when you get the bigger guys, they start asking for a lot of money…”.
Given that liveconformdie’s new EP is titled Vol II: Music For Living Failures, the ultimate outing is entirely the opposite of its unfulfilled namesake. But for Jez, his foolproof guarantee to making sure life isn’t a fail and to keep motivated while the world becomes wilder and weirder around him is a plain and simple one.
“I write music,” says Jez matter-of-factly. “I feel like a living failure, so I write some music for other living failures”.