By Julijana Capone
CALGARY — “I think some of the most interesting things about bands aren’t musical,” says Nicholas Liang, guitarist/vocalist of post-punk band Conduct, referencing the last time he set himself on fire during a live performance.
Noting acts such as Devo and Big Black, known for setting off firecrackers during their live sets, or German industrial act Einstürzende Neubauten, who have previously attacked stages using electric hammers and angle grinders while sparks flew into the crowd, Liang says, “in all of those instances it seemed like an extension of the band,” rather than any sort of gimmick.
Conduct, which includes past members of Winnipeg act Departures, is a group with no shortage of vision—musically or otherwise. On their debut full-length, Fear and Desire, the band’s penchant for an exploratory, confrontational type of noise is amplified with the help of renowned producer/engineer Steve Albini.
Recorded at Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago, wiry bursts of melodic din, merciless percussion and Liang’s panicked screams are built to bludgeoning heights. Tim Midyett (of Silkwork and Bottomless Pit), whom Liang had been corresponding with via email, also stopped by to contribute guitar work to the title track.
“[Midyett] came down and we all really couldn’t believe it,” says Liang. “He made the part far more warped and demented than it already was…We just hung out, ordered a bunch of BBQ, recorded that one song, and heard some crazy anecdotes about bands that [Albini and Midyett] have been in or worked with. It was a lovely time.”
Released independently on Liang’s own label, Public Tone Records, whose roster also includes noise-rock act Tunic, Fear and Desire is informed in part by the political inaction and “complacency that pervades modern life,” according to the band’s bio.
“Complacency is prevalent, especially in Western society. And the onus is not just on the people, but the many power structures that are organizing themselves to suppress information or con people into being apathetic,” Liang says.
Though the content feels entirely political, at times, Liang refutes the idea of being a “political band.”
“We are political people, so that might bleed into the music or some of the content, but the band doesn’t operate as a political outlet at all,” he says. “We exist solely to satisfy our creative whims.”
Conduct play Sled Island Wednesday, June 24 at the Legion #1. For more info on Conduct visit publictonerecords.com. They will also play a Public Tone Records showcase on June 26 at 3:40 p.m. at Redhaus (1712 – 8 St. SW).#1 Royal Canadian Legion, AB, Alberta, Conduct, Redhaus, Sled Island, Sled Island 2015