Jack Conman, a 19-year-old multi-instrumentalist, creates a sound described as grunge-meets-folk, but really what I hear is the sound that Jack Johnson could only have hoped to touch upon. His latest single, ‘Heroin Strings’, soared right into iTunes’s Top 5 for singer-songwriters and, with the voice and talent of a tragically beautiful soul, Jack is definitely an artist to watch.
We asked Jack a few questions about where he draws inspiration from, the intent behind the video for ‘Heroin Strings’ and what advice he has for other young artists.
You mention that you’ve drawn inspiration Jon Gomm for “playing percussively.” Where else do you draw inspiration from?
I don’t actually watch loads of percussive guitarists, funnily enough. I definitely think they’re amazing and I’ve been fortunate to support people like Jon Gomm and Luca Stricagnoli, to watch how they use the guitar in such unique ways and make sure all of their fingers are always doing something rhythmic or melodic. They’re just really stretching to their maximum potential. But personally it’s never really been about that for me. I had visions in my head of a full band sound when I’d be writing certain songs, so that’s where the percussive stuff came in. I’ve always wanted everything I write to have purpose and for people to relate and understand the songs, so I try not to be overly flashy and complicated technically but just enough that it gets people’s attention. Then I can play the quieter songs out and hope they’re still listening to something more subtle. The new EP features a good mix of more rhythmic, technical songs and more direct and stripped back stuff.
The video for ‘Heroin Strings’ is rather poetic. When you wrote the song, did you envision such an emotional visual representation for the video?
Yeah I had a vibe that I wanted to go for, because the song is about exploring what is addiction and what isn’t. For example, if your best friend or girlfriend was taken away from you, you’d fee pretty deprived. Much how a person with an addiction to alcohol or a hard drug would feel, but in a different way. But does that mean we’re addicted to people, or is it OK to feel reliant on someone? That’s the central question of the song really.
It came about from having a drunken conversation with a friend and discussing the topic of addiction. Pretty sure we talked about how the world was created afterwards, the usual deep stuff that drinking leads to!
In addition to having a strong foundation to a song, do you have any more advice for other young musicians?
Be encouraged by yourself and just enjoy doing it. If people don’t like it, but you like it…then it’s not a problem. Don’t take too much advice about how people want you to sound and focus on how YOU want to sound. Make as many connections in the music industry as possible, they’ll probably help you out at some point. Be nice to everyone (goes hand in hand with the above answer) – you never know when you might need them to be nice to you!
Don’t be discouraged by bad gigs, every musician plays bad gigs, but there’ll also be absolutely amazing gigs – so just keep at it.
Watch the poetic video for ‘Heroin Strings’ below and be sure to pick up Jack’s Euphoria Strings EP out now.