Trail Of Dead / Cambodia on my mind

„Lost Songs“ is called the new magnus opus by the incredible And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. Conrad Keely – as the singer, guitarplayer, keyboarder, songwriter one of the bands’masterminds – finds his artistical expressions not only in music but also in drawing and writing. Martin Hannig had the chance to talk to the multiple interested artist.

Foto by Conrad, actually you moved from the US to Cambodia. I know that you grew up in Thailand, which is the next country over there. What was your reason to go to Pnom Penh?

Conrad: Actually we just finished touring Australia and after that I was there with my father, and we were traveling around, and we just wanted to stay. I was definitely looking for a way to leave America. I was fed up with American life. I wanted to get out. There is an analogy between Germany and Cambodia, in terms of having a dictatorship killing millions of people. In Germany it’s about 70 years ago, but in Cambiodia the Red Khmer age is only 30 years ago. How can the people get over it, how can they deal with that?

Conrad: It’s difficult. They lost a generation of people. That’s really hard. But they live in a country that is rebuilding, and that gives them hope and makes it kind of dynamic and a very interesting place to be. It’s like a kind of rebirth. But in a sensual way you can still feel that kind of things they went through. There is a big border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia. Do you know something about that?

Conrad: I do. But I wouldn’t say it’s a big conflict. You wouldn’t feel it now that it was going on when you’re in Thailand or in Cambodia. The only place where you really feel it is at the border. It’s kind of isolated there and doesn’t affect everyday life.  I never spoke to a person who is living in Cambodia – that’s pretty far away…

Conrad: Oh, there are lots of germans living there. I have a lot of German friends there. There’s even some kind of German culture …. That‘ strange… Let’s talk about your new album “Lost Songs”. I just watched the new video “Catatonia”. There is an American politician in an election campaign played by Jason – and he goes really really mad!

Conrad: Oh yes, that video was Jasons thing  – he did it in America, so I wasn’t involved at all. You are not living there… So you won’t go to the election, right?

Conrad:  No – I’m not an American citizen. I’m Irish! OK, an Irishman. But you don’t have red hair… sorry for that bad joke!

Conrad: (laughs) Hahaha. No red hair. I got red hair in my beard… 🙂 … or something else…  “Lost Songs” was recorded in Hanover, which was frightening to me, because in Germany there’s that joke about Hanover being boring and sleepy…

Conrad: Hanover is a great town. I hope people see how great Hanover is. The famous Horus Sound Studios in Hanover are owned by Frank Bornemann. Do you got to know this guy?

Conrad: Frank, he was in that progrock band earlier. Yes! It was ELOY. It was a big progrock thing here in the 70ies/80ies.

Conrad: Yeah ELOY. He was there, a nice guy. Horus Sound for me it was always a metal studio, cause lot of German metal bands recorded there.

Conrad: Yeah, so we were like the latest metal band recording there. 🙂 Tell us something about “Lost Songs”. How would you compare it to your elder songs? Are you changing?

Conrad: I don’t know – for me it feels like a natural progression. Changing or growing – for me it’s kind of growing. “Up To Infinity” is dedicated to Pussy Riot. Do you know them personally? What’s your opinion to that case?

Conrad: Oh no. It’s just they went in jail for playing their songs. That’s something artists and musicians should stand up against, you know. The freedom of speech and the freedom of expression, things that are very hard to have…. What are your personal plans in the near future?

Conrad: I want to finish my book. It will be ready next year….