Conduit: Nuneaton's hardcore warriors emphasising God's grace

Wednesday 21st July 2010

Tony Cummings reports on the hardcore band CONDUIT whose 'Fear For Those Who Missed It' is attracting much attention


Nuneaton-based hardcore band Conduit are making impressive progress on the scene. Their album debut on Germany's Whirlwind label 'Fear For Those Who Missed It' has got enthusiastic reviews while their tours across Europe have left them with an ever increasing fanbase. Recently they spoke to Cross Rhythms broadcaster Greg Sammons, who began by asking them about their early incarnation as a pop punk group, Ignited. Dave Boyle (bass and lead singer) spoke about those early days. "When we first started Dan (Watts), Ian (Harris), my brother Matt - he was on drums at the time - and I just wanted to start a band for a bit of fun, influenced by our favourite bands NOFX, Rancid, stuff like that. It was just fun jamming and making our own songs, but somewhere down the line we just thought, we're all Christians, we love God, why not write some stuff for and about our faith. As we got older our style of music changed, our influences changed and it's just sort of been a crazy but cool journey. Ian was pretty much the influence [who took us into the hardcore sphere]. He showed me a band called Underoath. The first time he showed us, we were into punk and we were like, 'What is this goth music?' Now Underoath are like my favourite band."

Added Ian Harris, who "plays guitar and screams", "We never intended to change. I think we just got different influences, from bands like Norma Jean, The Chariot, bands like that. Biffy Clyro was an influence too. There was never a point when we said, 'We want to go in this direction.' We just took various different things and put them together, and I guess we got Conduit."

While they were still in their punk era, they released two EPs, one of which, 'Positions, Passions, Possessions', got a Cross Rhythms review with the reviewer commenting, ". . .like all good punk, there are no holds barred regarding subject matter: sex, politics, death, failure. Having said that, the Gospel message . . . is never hidden."

Ian Harris spoke about the tension of having a Christian message in music often performed before a non-Christian audience. "When you start out, you're not sure what you can do really, and as you go along it becomes more natural, you get to know people, you get to know your audience a little bit and be able to, at the same time speak into their lives, but also give them a great show. That's what they want at the end of the day, they are paying to come to a show, but at the same time there is no reason why you can't just express what you feel. One thing we say is, it's about living out of step, it's about not pushing it down anyone's throat, but representing it in another way, and saying there is something out there, there is a hope out there and God does want to be involved with you. People can accept that as they like, but there have been times when it's been tough. But I think as we have gone into being Conduit it's become more natural, it's something we do. Sometimes, one show might be different to the other; we don't keep it exactly the same or anything, if we feel something for one night, that's what we'll say. If we feel God saying something, that's what we'll do."

Dave Boyle
Dave Boyle

The band's 'Fear For Those Who Missed It' album was produced by America's Jeff Sheetz, the guitar maestro who has recorded eight albums of his own and has toured with such acts as ZZ Top and ELO. Because of budget constraints the band were in the studios for a mere four days. Said Dave, "Jeff could only come down for the week, he's a really busy guy. We really wanted to use Jeff, and we did a little bit of background work just before he came down, but then it was four days of intense pressure. But then sometimes that makes things better, it can make you really push yourself. Then he flew away with it and did all of the production work in the States, and then sent it back to us, then it went back again and then it came back again."

Conduit have a close association with Meltdown Ministries, Britain's long running hard music enablers run by Dave Williams, which organises the Meltdown event, the Underground stage at Greenbelt and the InTune teach-in for musicians. Dave Boyle had recently come back from InTune. He said, "It was just awesome really. There were three things they spoke on, Surrender, Submission and Worship and it was just a really incredible day of teaching for the bands. It's not only for bands, there were promoters that went as well, there were people that just enjoyed the music that went along as well and support the scene. It was just a real great day. I've been for three years now, and every time I learn something new."

One of the heartening things about Conduit is that their lyrics pull no punches. One of the most powerful tracks on the album is "Desperate Beloved". Said Dave, "I wrote it just after my friend died. She was 17 and she came to one of our shows and the day after she was gone, and that really affected me. I thought, you don't know when your life is going to go, you don't know what's going to happen. In that song, it's a lot about an urgency and finding God."

Ian too is keen to emphasise that many of Conduit's songs deal with the rich subject of God's grace. He said, "God is always reaching his hand out, and it's up to us whether we want to accept it or not. So when you are in difficult situations, maybe turn around and say, 'Rather than deal with this on my own I'm going to speak to God, I'm just going to say, God, can you come into this situation and help me' and just watch what God does, even just give him that chance. There are a lot of different lyrics written throughout the whole album but it's kind of that idea, kind of that theme. You might get that from the artwork as well. When we say fear for those who missed it, we mean many different things on many different levels, so it depends where you are in your life. It depends who you are and it can mean different things. All I would say is listen to the album, be transparent with it, listen to the music, read the lyrics." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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