Tim the drummer has known me for over 10 years. I started the band back when I was a kid in high school, when it was just like a play thing. Get some girls, drink some beer, and make some music. Then over the course of time Tim showed up when everything started getting a little more serious and then the rest of them just kind of fell in line. Mike has been rhythm guitar player with me for about seven years now. At that point when Mike had gotten into the band, our bass player at the time had been with me for a long time as well. He had left I guess about eight years ago and I had a couple of guys fill in on a few things for me and then we got the guy we have now, Rob who plays bass for us now. About a year ago now. That's basically the way it lays out.
So the band's been around for a while.
Yes, it has.
Who are some of your main musical influences?
I like it all. I like anything that's heavy metal for the most part. I don't care for the real cheesy stuff. I like the old Crue stuff down to Slayer. I've got it all to Overkill. Major influences would be Judas Priest, Sabbath, and probably old school Metallica eventually became influences in what we do. I love heavy metal really. I love Savatage. I'm a fan of the old school stuff a lot. We've played with Savatage and Overkill. It was great.
What were some of the coolest gigs you've played and bands you've opened for?
We've played with a lot of bands. I guess the coolest event would have been two years ago. We played the Riverport Amphitheatre with Iron Maiden, Queensryche, and Rob Halford. That was probably the highlight gig for me. We've played with everybody under the sun. We really have. We've played with Overkill, Dokken, W.A.S.P., Napalm Death, Poison, Slash's Snakepit, Savatage, Manowar, and it goes on. Actually this Wednesday we're playing with Quiet Riot. The 26th of next month we're playing with Superjoint Ritual. Pretty wide span of different types of bands. Testament's another one. I'm a big fan of Testament.
What do you think of the current music scene? Do you think it's improving?
I was just asked that question a little while ago. This is the second interview I've done today. I don't know. I've got mixed feelings. Right now as opposed to three years ago there are more people paying attention than there were three years ago. Is it all going to be this great return to as we know it the '80s type thing? No, I don't think so. I think there will be a desire for quality again. I think we've lost a lot of quality in the music these days. I think the diehards, the bands that stick it out, like Overkill is out on tour and Anthrax has a brand new great record out. Black Label Society is another great one. I think those kind of bands that stay true to their colors will help the survival of what we do.
I don't think you can ever truly go back in time but I think things can improve.
Yeah, it almost has to get better. It was so bad for a period there. Look at the new Metallica. It's horrible. They dropped the guitar solos. Turned into a "I don't know who I am" band. Did you like the record?
Actually I haven't picked it up yet. I haven't heard anyone say anything positive about it. That bothers me.
I've never purchased it. That's so true. It's just the way it is. Wow. Who would have ever thought that day would come?
Yeah, because I've always loved Metallica. Matter of fact last night I was at Ozzfest and I saw Jason Newsted up there with Ozzy and Zakk Wylde. That was cool.
That was probably really cool.
Do you have any prior releases to No Boundaries?
It really didn't get released. It's available through www.conquestmetal.com. It was a record called Damnation and I did it in 2000. I did it and then I made it and I liked it but that's when I replaced the bass player in the band at the time. It was kind of a lull point for me and I went ahead and wrote another record which turned out to be No Boundaries. That is available from us through the website and then there was a record called Rage that was released in Europe in '98 under Unisound Records. Actually my contractual agreements with those people are dissolved so I'm getting ready to start work on the next record believe it or not. I might borrow a song or two off that Rage record since I wrote it.
Well, hey it's your shit.
They're good songs that have never been introduced to the United States at all. It's like why not? I'm probably going to do that but we're going to start doing preproduction for our next record at the end of next month so that's what I'm looking towards right now.
I noticed a lot of people get shit released overseas. You never see it over here and they live here. Tell us a little about No Boundaries.
To me the album is probably our most complete record to date. The two we spoke of are good solid records. This record here I think is a little more covering of the spectrum. I think the No Boundaries record, that's where the title comes from, I don't think that in heavy metal everything is so cut and dry with the media today. Either it's nu-metal or it's old school metal or it's rap metal. I think in real traditional heavy metal, what I consider pure metal, I think we did that all the time. I think bands in the old days, I guess the old school metal as they call it, covered a wide spectrum of different sounds all the time. How many Queensryche songs were very diverse and Ozzy would write "Crazy Train" and then turn around and write "So Tired". Diversity doesn't necessarily mean changing of style. It just sometimes means not writing 10 of the same exact songs on a record and that's kind of what I tried to do with No Boundaries. I wanted to write songs for the record and make them all weave together and flow right. I didn't want it to be where there was a hip-hop metal song and then there was a nu-metal song and there was a traditional metal song. I'm not trying to copy anybody in what we do. I do write edgier songs sometimes. Not every song is written and then compared to a song like "Back Against The Wall". "Just Before The Dawn" and "Back Against The Wall" are two different songs but yet I think they fit well together on the record. Edgier sometimes can I guess take you down avenues mainstream just won't allow you to do but I still think they belong on a heavy metal record. Even though you might be trying to appeal to a larger audience than your just strictly underground metalheads which are good. Don't misunderstand me. If you are trying to appeal to any larger population of the masses, you have to throw in a song that the average listener on the radio or the average person might feel familiar with without even knowing the song if that makes any sense to you.
If you want to appeal to a large group of people, sometimes you have to have a couple of songs that are radio friendly that people will listen to.
Without compromising your principles.
It will get them to buy the album and they'll hear more edgier stuff as well.
That's exactly right and that's what I did with that record with that in mind. Some of my favorite songs that Conquest plays is the heavier stuff but that doesn't make it the most popular song in the set.
Any particular songs you want to highlight?
Obviously "Just Before The Dawn" and "Back Against The Wall" I think are two of the strongest ones. "No Mercy" is a great song too. I think it's my best work to date as far as songwriting and arrangements. I think we did it all. Something for the thrash lover and we also did a little more mainstream metal vibe periodically. I think that's important once again to deliver in a record. I think the No Boundaries record pretty much did that. I put those live tracks on there at the end for just pure assault. I think Conquest is a live band and I like to make records but I love to play live. That's an energy level that sometimes you can't always capture in the studio for whatever the reason may be.
You guys did a video for "Just Before Dawn".
We just did it. It was cheaply done but it turned out really good. Really quick moving. It jumps. It's full of energy again which is what I try to portray. We have a lot of energy with what we do. It was shot on several Sony cams. That's all it was. Just some decent camcorders, little bit of File Cut Pro, splicing and dicing, and next thing you know you've got a good video. It's clean. I'm always into making some project. We do a lot of merchandising and people dig that stuff. True fans of metal will buy the shirts. They'll buy everything because that's how I am. I know, I'm a metal fan. I go see Rob Halford in concert, I'll buy a shirt. I get it all. I try to provide as much to the people that want it as possible.
Are you guys getting any radio airplay over the Internet?
Yeah, we are. Actually I believe we're getting quite a bit. I've got a lot of fans contacting me from several different radio programs off the Web. One called www.heavymetalradio.com. I think it's out of Hawaii. We've been climbing their charts pretty consistently. www.metalexpress.no has been playing us. I've gotten some calls from Texas. A few people down from Houston. Yeah, I think we are getting a little bit of play out there. I'm always looking for more.
So you guys are working on your next record.
Yeah, we'll start to put the songs together and figure out how it's going to lay out. I think with the next summer coming along like when we spoke earlier about the scene, that there is a chance for I guess a larger breath of fresh air our way. I think it will be probably next summer or so, somewhere in there. Next spring.
Are you guys hitting the road again?
Actually we do. We've got a lot of dates coming up. We play with Quiet Riot. This month was supposed to be preproduction for the record and then things got changed around with the studio time. I had a little bit of a window but I started filling in some of that window already. We play this Wednesday with Quiet Riot in St. Louis. Then we play the 26th of July so there's a two week hiatus where we can work on tunes for the record. We were supposed to play the Tampa Metal Fest but that got postponed to Labor Day weekend. Which is good because there's a freaking hurricane coming in down there so I'm glad. We got a lot of dates. We got July 2nd. We got July 26th. Then we go on a two week run. We go August 1st to the Chicago vicinity, August 2nd in the Chicago vicinity, and then August 5th we go to Ohio. August 7th we're in Pennsylvania. August 8th we're at the Metal Mind Rage in Baltimore which is a real big metal show. Three days. Saturday the 9th we're in Pennsylvania it looks like. We come home for a week or so and we might head your way. I'm not sure yet. We have a couple of possibilities but we go do the Tampa Metal Fest on September 1st. We'll route something involved in the Metal Fest. Then we just got accepted to the Midpoint Music Festival showcase convention in Cincinnati. That's the last weekend of September. We've got a lot of fill ins but yeah, it's booking up pretty nicely.
You guys have a full plate. That's cool.
Yeah, we're trying and it's working. I'm really digging that. We're selling a lot of product and it's all good.
Any other comments or thoughts?
I hope you like the record and spread the word.