If you toss a stone in Leeds, you’ll probably hit an indie rock band. Guitar music is huge here, as in Sheffield and Manchester. Conflare are a young guitar band who caught my ear with new single ‘Coñquistador’. I sat down with Toby Hanmore and Ethan Bradley to have a chat about the release and what the future may hold.
It’s a good name for a band. It puts me in mind of some sort of trendy bar, or an edgy font of some description. Still, Conflare were formed through a mutual love of rock music. Every up-and-comer has their idol, and for Conflare that would appear to be Biffy Clyro, who were hitting their stride with Only Revolutions as the lads were starting out.
I asked Toby how the band came to be.
TH: “Conflare as we know it has been going on since we were fourteen, under different names and different sounds. The early days it was pretty much just Foo Fighters.”
EB: “Then there was Biffy Clyro”
HN: “Is it bad I’m thinking of that terrible ‘Many of Horror’ cover? I wonder what Matt Cardle is up to these days…”
EB: “Suing Ed Sheeran!”
What makes Conflare interesting isn’t their indie credentials as much as their penchant for poppy choruses. Their music is fun, and that is a quality lacking in a lot of young bands. Toby puts it down to his upbringing.
TH: “The first cassette tape I owned was ‘The Tide is High’ by Atomic Kitten”.
It all comes back to Kerry Katona in the end I suppose. It’s a stylistic thing too though:
EB: “It’s nice music, it’s fun to play. We all have different tastes, but we converge on a certain point.”
Perhaps the most amazing thing that can be said of their new single ‘Coñquistador’ is that it features an extensive Spanish theme for no discernible reason. “We had the title before the song” explains Toby. “Mum and Dad were booking a holiday, and I heard the name ‘Hotel Coñquistador’. That was it “. With that the name was set and the idea was in motion, making this song the second most famous single ever written for a hotel.
It’s a big step-up for the band. There is real energy in the drumming, and the breaks in the chorus, and extended instrumentals are evidence the band can swing. Singer/frontman Toby isn’t reinventing the wheel writing a song about young love, but then given the band are in their late teens, it does comes across as authentic. His voice is clear and even, perfect for belting out choruses like these.
Launching the single at The Wardrobe was a classy choice too. I love this venue, and have seen some amazing acts there. It was a big deal for the lads too, and reflected how far they had come. “Our first live performance was on the high school field in Pontefract, in a battle of the bands, and we thought we were amazing.”
Conflare are already looking to the future. They’ve released an EP and some singles to date but a full length is a project they are yet to attempt. In the meantime ‘Coñquistador’ shows a fledgling band finding their voice.