New Band of the Week: Conflare

Exciting Yorkshire band Conflare have crafted an alternative rock sound that has the perfect mix of heaviness and ‘poppiness.’ The result is a lively, catchy yet rocky sound that’s sure to have you singing along.

The quartet of frontman Toby Hanmore, guitarist James Rowland, bassist Sam Wilkinson and drummer Ethan Bradley hail from a small town just outside of Leeds. They met at school, started playing cover songs together and naturally started writing their own music from there. In fact, Conflare has its roots in a band that was started by Toby and Ethan when they were about 12.

As Toby tells us: “The other members would sack off practices to go home and play FIFA. So we stayed back, wrote our own tunes as a two-piece and got kicked out of the other band, it was all very dramatic.”

But Toby and Ethan are very much the ones who had the last laugh as the hours spent honing their music, rather than controlling pretend footballers on a TV screen, has well and truly paid off.

On the sound they’ve crafted, Toby tells us: “A little bit poppy, but not too poppy. A little bit heavy, but not too heavy. We pride ourselves on good, catchy tunes with a HUGE chorus.”

Our latest taste of this is new single Painkiller, which was released a couple of weeks ago. It opens up with a big intro of lively guitars and drums, which drop into light vocals that continue over a bubbling bassline. It suddenly bursts into the opening guitars and big singalong vocals in a catchy chorus.

A more intense second verse follows with menacing guitars and engaging vocals, which flow into another catchy chorus. This time the chorus extends and quickly returns again in a big outro of repeating vocals. Give it a listen in the video below:

That’s their first single in a little while, following a series of singles and a couple of EP releases. That includes the delicious Lazy Bones, which opens up with Toby’s engaging vocals over light guitars and a laid-back first rendition of the chorus.

A cool piercing guitar lick takes over alongside heavier guitars and drums, then stabs of guitar give way to more intense vocals. A big catchy chorus ends on heavier vocals “I was born in the right generation, I don’t need a job when I’ve got a PlayStation.” The pace drops and builds up to a big scream, then another cool little guitar lick over driving guitars and drums. That drops into more laid-back vocals, which setup a big final blast of the chorus. Check it out in the video here:

A personal favourite track is the edgy Tempted with its supremely catchy chorus that’ll be stuck in your head for hours after listening. Check it out in the lyric video here:

Conflare’s members bring an interesting fusion of musical interests to the mix. Toby tells us he’s mostly intop straight-up rock and pop, while Ethan listens to lots of hip-hop, Sam is into lo-fi indie and James listens to everything from psychedelic rock to death metal.

To which Toby adds: “All our influences have always converged at alt-rock. Biffy Clyro have always been huge influences, as have bands like Nirvana and the Foo Fighters.

“Recently, we really look up to bands like Boston Manor and Bring Me The Horizon. They’re really pushing genre and sonic boundaries and it’s so cool to see bands breaking out of the pop punk and metal scenes and doing their own thing.”

And Toby tells us the last 18 months or so have had an impact on their music writing, but not too much. As he explains: “A lot of the early stuff was sort of ‘so there’s this girl right…’ but recently the songs have been more outward-looking. With the exception of Painkiller that’s literally that.

“We’ve worked on some really ambitious music over lockdown, but I tried really hard to not let the pandemic and what’s been going on spill into the lyrics or the music too much. I hated the idea of music full of COVID clichés, while it’s impossible to not be affected by it, I didn’t want it to take over our music.

“I usually just write lyrics impulsively, with little thought into what I’m writing about, then I’ll realise afterwards what I’m writing about or how I’m feeling.”

There’s plenty more to come from Conflare, including new music and, after a long wait, actual live shows. As Toby tells us: “We’ve been working really hard on shaking off those covid cobwebs, getting out and playing live again has been amazing, so plenty more of that to come. We’re heading out in November for a few shows and we’re looking to add some more!

“Musically, we’ve got plenty in the locker that we’re so insanely proud of, I can’t say too much at the moment though. I always end up blabbing in interviews and I’ve done well to keep my mouth shut this time out!”

Here at GigRadar we’re all about promoting new music and encouraging people to give new bands a go. And those sentiments are echoed by Toby, who says: “I think now is as good a time as ever to give new music a chance. The whole industry has been absolutely battered from grassroots bands like ours, all the way up to the big boys! So, as much as we’d love you to check Painkiller out, give your mate’s band a listen and engage with their posts, it means a lot after such a shit couple of years!”

You can follow Conflare on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.

Image credit: Tom Rayfield

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