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CARIBBEAN CHAOS: CONRAD Q&A

conrad 201“Hypocritical” and “cancerous” are some of the words Emdeka Anubis, the sole member of Barbados’ Conrad, associates with the island that his band operates out of.  Being the only black metal band in the country can be hard, but with the release of a new EP, ‘Conrad Within’, it’s a challenge Anubis relishes, as ZT discovered, summoning the Bajan Metal of Death…

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First, let’s introduce you to those who are unaware. Explain the name Conrad: what’s behind it? What does it evoke for you?

In old Barbadian folklore, Conrad is said to be a ghost/spirit who possesses women and dwells in their stomachs, either to eat their insides out or to spread sheer misery, torment and chaos in their lives.  He was also one of the few Night-Stalkers in this island that actually bared a (human) name for a title, which in some sense shows a level of importance and adoration in the eyes of a few and greater fear and disgust in the eyes of many. I’m not 100% sure about the origins of this entity, or why this name in particular was used to identify the ghoul within but Conrad is a Germanic name and is said to mean “bold ruler”. In my opinion the concept and power behind the ghoul is more important than the name itself; it is also one I can relate to personally and live by.

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What inspired you to start Conrad?
Around the very early stages of the development of my musical interest and technique, I was heavily influenced by a band called Windir and a few other Scandinavian folk metal bands who would also inspire me to use my own folklore as the main foundation for Conrad. Most of the entrails within this same folklore are closely tied to obscurity, mysticism and Death, while other aspects are of rebellion and liberation, highlighting the stories of pirates and slave riots which would shed light upon the individual status of the band; which is one reason I decided to do this alone, without having to deal with the many faults and the absolute ignorance displayed by the hylics that surround me.

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Enlighten us on the Caribbean scene and your place in it
I cannot fully express my inner disgust and hatred towards that which is the ‘Regional Metal Scene’. In my honest opinion, it doesn’t even exist. The only that does exist is a rather insipid conventicler of fully grown 8 year olds who rather dedicate themselves to living at mommy’s house forever than seeking better goals in life and exploring greater realms; who live strictly by the laws of the fashion world, the cyber world and the money consuming, materialistic icons who build their empires on blindness, greed, popularity and racial segregation. Most of these people call Barbados home; most of which were my previous ‘friends’. The only positive thing I have to say about them as far as this ‘scene’ is concerned, is that they enabled me to see the lowest levels people would go about to ‘please’ the more popular and well-established people in society. No one stays true to their philosophies when confronted by others, hypocrisy is rampant and the gossip is cancerous. I’m not sure about my place here, or if I have any at all. My only desire is to leave this shit country. I’m aching to move to Europe, preferably somewhere in the U.K.
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Also their taste in metal music is repugnant, with pop-oriented bands (especially pop-rock bands) dominating their definitions of the genre. No one here is dedicated to keeping a proper scene or even serious about the idea. Trinidad actually has a fairly decent scene. One of the bands I currently worship from there are AVATAR.

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What are the pros and cons of being in the Caribbean for a band like Conrad? Is it a hindrance that you do all the writing and instrumentation yourself, or does having complete artistic control outweigh this?
Not only is Conrad my own creation, but it is also something I hold close to my heart and soul. Especially the concepts and esoteric values involved. Therefore it is vitally important that everything is organized and guided under my direction. Even though this is the case, some artists that I know personally and that I believe are somewhat connected to Conrad in a causal sense are recruited from time to time.
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So far one of the curses that have been placed upon this musical creation is the unavailability of the vibrations from a real drum-kit. My current financial situation places a major obstacle in my path as far as obtaining a kit is concerned; and due to the fact that most drummers in the island are pretty occupied and having a plague that is the fundamentally Judeo-Christian dogma, its pointless even searching for a drummer to recruit. This dogma is probably one of the biggest cons within the region, as it restricts the musician’s ability to be fully expressive and creative.
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Also, you have to look at the fact that we don’t have a wide variety of musical accessories to choose from. Here in Barbados, we’re pretty limited to Peavey & Laney combo amps. No Marshall heads or cabs; and not much guitars outside of the Ibanez and Fender brands. It’s really fucking difficult to deal with because the prices are so ridiculously high due to the constantly increasing taxes and all of that shit. The most affordable way to import a guitar (or any other piece of equipment for that matter) into the island is to travel with it as a ‘carry-on’ while on the returning flight…

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I guess the only ‘pro’ would be the mindset I have developed over the years. I mean, fame and fortune isn’t something I think about while doing this… and there is absolutely nothing ‘easy’ about doing what I do here, and I kind of like it like that, I like a good challenge and I like to work hard towards my goals, though a lot of depression and frustration comes my way as a result. One might say this is a very insane thing to do, and I do have to agree, this really is fucking madness.
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What inspires you, musically and non-musically?
One of my strongest musical influences would have to be drawn from the mighty undead, EMPEROR! In The Nightside Eclipse being one of the dominant albums for this source of inspiration, mainly because of the whole concept of having a bottom-end rhythm guitar sound and a higher-pitched lead guitar sound; that is something that has stuck with Conrad from the demo days till this recent times, because I think that motive can call for some pretty quintessential results on studio material, if executed well. And generally, Ihsahn’s use of complex/augmented guitar notes and chords has influenced my technique and compositions too. Other musical influences are VON, Dødsengel, Orisha Shakpana, Bathory, Watain, Dissection, The Black and a few others. General Middle-Eastern, Latin-American and Afro-Caribbean music can play their roles too.
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Non-music inspirations are of hatred, love, concepts of self-liberation & progression Death and the manifestations of the Chaos.
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É o supremo rei da Quimbanda! PARA ÉXU!

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What is the Caribbean Metal Horde, and Black Sigil Arts?
Carib Metal Horde is an online Distro/Merch store I created earlier this year to sell Conrad’s material and also any rarities I can obtain via trading. It was also intended to be the main store for an organization founded by Lord Ifrit & I (and some other members from different islands) called CARIBBEAN METAL ASSAULT which caters to the appreciation and worship of true metal within
our realm and beyond. It can also be seen as a ‘label’ in some cases but not to the extent where I intentionally go looking for bands and artist to sign (although this is slowly starting to change…). Currently, there are only two other Caribbean bands who have material released via CMH; I won’t say who so you’ll have to go and see who they are yourself.
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Black Sigil Arts is the name of my art business which focuses primarily on music related art and designs. Some of the logos have been drawn by Lord Ifrit [fellow regional blasphemer of Orisha Shakpana, a one-man black metal band based in Jamaica]. We just come up with concepts and produce the visuals after.
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How did the recording of the new EP go? You were in charge of pretty much everything right?
There were many issues and delays caused during the recorded process of ‘Conrad Within’. This is due to damaged hard-drives as a result of power outages caused by hurricanes & tropical storms. I had to re-record most of the tracks on a new laptop and a very cheap recording interface. I recorded half of the lead guitar tracks on a $99 USD Fender Squire Stratocaster and the other half on my newest weapon, a Dean VX. The Strat wasn’t co-operating and therefore outlived its days with Conrad.
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None of the tracks were produced the way they were intended to sound, but the closest one would have to be ‘SPECTRAL MANIFESTATIONS…’.

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Tell us about the folklore, dialect and other Caribbean elements prevalent in Conrad’s music
Bajan dialect was something I wanted to incorporate in my music for some time now, but I didn’t use a lot of it for this EP. Here is an example from the title track:
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“It come ta haunt she, inside she belly”
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Translation: It came to possess her by entering into her stomach/womb.
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It’s a very raw and straight forward form of vocal expression when used, and works pretty good with my music. The dialect is pretty similar to the vocal expression and poor/harshly translated English used by South American bands. Sarcófago is a perfect example of a band with such a raw style.
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Outside of that the various drum patterns/rhythms and bass grooves in some of the songs (especially S.M.O.O.) have been pretty dominant in my musical life. I grew up hearing this style of music, it was only natural for me to incorporate them within the BAJAN METAL OF DEATH.
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As for the folklore, this will always be a vital part of Conrad, as the band was created on such grounds. Previously I focused on the aesthetic highlights of the island’s folklore. Now, things have just taken a sinister turn in that aspect. Now, I focus on duppies (Caribbean term for zombies/ghost) and the undead Night-Stalkers and I relate them as closely as possible to my religious traditions and much as I can. As a neophyte, I still believe I can find the right ways to connect such mysticism and spiritual values to that which is greater than myself from my own thoughts, perceptions and experiences; even though more Gnosis would be required for this task.
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Conrad is still and always technically be a ‘folk metal’ band. I just try not to direct my music with the term because people seem to believe that it has to be strictly Scandinavian based to be ‘folk’ which I honestly think is bullshit. Also, FUCK OFF to all Non-Scandinavian bands who preach about the events from the ‘Viking era’ and such things. Don’t other countries have their own
histories, cultures and philosophies that contribute their own folklore? Trendy Fuckers…

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You collaborated with Lord Ifrit for the song ‘Purgatory Process’ on the new EP – how did that come about?
He was literally aching to work with me on a record and contribute to Conrad since 2009. Actually, ‘Purgatory Process’ was the first original Conrad opus I wrote; he was rather impressed by the main riff, but since the song didn’t fit the atmosphere on the ‘Oseaan Kroniek’ demo, it became a chapter for ‘C.W.’ instead. He wrote all of the lyrics also. ALL FOR ÉXU!!!
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Why did you choose to cover Von for ‘Conrad Within’?
It just occurred. It wasn’t intended for the original track list or for that EP at all. Instead, it was intended to be part of a compilation released by CARIBBEAN METAL ASSAULT but it failed because we couldn’t find a lot of unholy/demented Caribbean bands with studio material. So I released that VON cover on the exclusive version of the EP.
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Explain the departure in style from the 2010 demo ‘Oseaan Kroniek’ to ‘Conrad Within’?
A metamorphosis.

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How did Satanica Productions (NZ) get involved?
They approached me to make a deal after hearing the first demo. They were very professional and courteous for an underground label. As a result the first pressing of the new EP was released on September 13th (get a copy now its only limited to 100 copies).
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“The blood of Emdeka Anubis was smeared on the gravestone present on the album cover before the picture was taken” – care to elaborate?
There is a graveyard a few minutes away from here that I visit for esoteric purposes. The picture was just a highlight of a special moment…
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What does the future hold for Conrad?
I have learned that planning ahead with this band can result in a lot of surprises. Only time can tell.

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Conrad’s spectral manifestations can be heard HERE

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