THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with Conor from REN.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry? I started playing the guitar at the age of 13 but what really made me want to get in to the music industry was seeing documentaries about bands like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC on tv. Living life on the road looked brilliant so I decided the musicians life was going to be for me from a young age.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? Making music has become such a habitual thing that it doesn’t feel like I need anything to motivate me anymore. It’s just something that I do and is a part of my life whether I like it or not!
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist? What I really hope for is a career with longevity. I’d still like to be writing, recording and releasing music until a ripe old age.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? I have the release of my next single ‘Blue Hounds’ on the 22/3/2019 followed by a single launch night at the Alphabetti Theatre on the 30/3. I’m then hitting the road at the end of April around the South West of England finishing up with a show in London on May 8th supporting Old Sea Brigade at the Seabright Arms.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music? My latest release is a single called ‘Blue Hounds’ and it’s a reflection of life in Britain in a time of political uncertainty by someone who feels the pinch of austerity and can see the suffering it’s caused the vulnerable in less economically fortunate communities. This is one off song for me. I’m not really much a social/political commentator but I felt impelled to write it. I’d describe my music as a mixture of classic 60’s/70’s folk pop songwriting with a splash of guitar showmanship thrown in the mix.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs? My creative process usually starts after a long bout of being totally uncreative. I find myself having to switch between having a creative mindset and a more pragmatic mind set to get all of the logistical side of things to do with music done in time for releases etc…That’s all part and parcel of being a DIY musician though. When I do find the time to be creative I try and put myself in that headspace for weeks or months at a time. I use that time it to reflect on the experiences I’ve had over the last year or two and then try to process them and put them in to song.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? I don’t think that I’ve purposefully put any hidden meanings in my songs but people are free to interpret them in whichever way they choose.
Success, what is the secret to it? I’m not sure that I’m qualified to answer that question but I’ll leave with a little pearl of wisdom that my Dad used to say to me when I was younger “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary”.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far? I played a sold out show at the Green Note in London for Time Out Magazine. It felt like a very special show, you could hear a pin drop. The audience were very attentive and lovely.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? Acts like Foy Vance, Damien Rice and Glen Hansard. Mostly because their songs are fantastic but also because they were all in their 30’s when they became popular and as a man who is 30, their careers let me live in hope!
Are there any new projects in the pipeline? I’m releasing a few more songs this year so that will keep me busy for a while. I’ve got an uncle who’s a poet and I’ve said to him that one day I’d put some of his poetry in to song so that’ll be a new project for me in the future.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now? I’d love to be touring the world and releasing music. I do have dream of opening up a little writing retreat in the south of France one day too but I think that’s way off in the future.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why? My favourite part is being in the studio and bringing to life the songs that you’ve written and nurtured for a long time. My least favourite part is how expensive the whole industry is if you’re trying to navigate it without any backing.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists. Matt Corby, Angus and Julia Stone, Emily Barker and Eric Bogle. I think Eric Bogel was born in Scotland but he’s been in Australia for most of his life.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? Getting your music out in the public eye is the best way to get your music heard and taking advantage of social media is the most direct way to do this. I think I’d have preferred to be a musician in the 60’s where popularity was based more on the quality of the songs rather than social media presence.
How do you plan on cracking the international market? With modern streaming services you can look at the statistics and see where people are listening to your music so it makes it easier to plan your tours. I plan on taking the time to go and gig as far and wide as I can and especially in those places where I know that there’s an active audience already listening to my music.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list? I’ve had a few people contact me to try and set up writing sessions but I’m not sure how keen I am on the idea of collaborating with others on my own tracks. I’d happily sit down and write songs with other people for other projects but when it comes down to releasing music for ‘REN’, I feel that what makes my music different is that they are born out of my own experiences and opinions of the world. Having said that, I’d love to sit down with Tom Waits in a smokey bar with a piano and guitar lying about.
What advice do you give for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps? Take your time. Get good at your instrument. Then get really good at your instrument. Ignore social expectations. Be authentic.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your fans? I’d love to hear from anyone who’s interested in my music or songwriting in general. I’m most accessible on instagram @renofficialmusic
Any last words? Please don’t shoot