LA-based alternative rock band Convey prides themselves on putting their own spin on rock music that feels familiar but also looks toward the future of the genre. Although recording for their debut album began in the summer of 2017, City of Skin and Bone was finally released in November 2019.
I got the chance to talk with two of the band’s members, Jahan Rajabi and Luke Dennis, about how the band came together, what it means to them for their debut album to finally be out, the songwriting process for their single “Nutrition” and so much more. Keep reading to see what they had to say!
For those who might not have ever heard of y’all, can you give us a brief history of the band and how it culminated into what it is now?
Jahan: We are just some high school/college friends who are originally from the East coast that play music together and all moved out to California to hit larger audiences with our sound.
Where did the name Convey come from?
Jahan: This is kind of hard to remember, but I’m pretty sure we chose it by flipping through a dictionary at random.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey to listeners with their music. So if you had to describe the music you make without using genre names, how would you describe it?
Luke: To borrow a phrase of a wiser musician that sounds nothing like us, we’re like 60 Minutes on acid.
Kind of going off of that, who are some of your musical influences as a group?
Luke: Definitely the sounds of 60 Minutes on acid; also including but not limited to King Crimson, Pink Floyd, The Sounds of Animals Fighting, the Smells of Plants Agreeing, Cattle Decapitation, Alpaca Defenestration, TV on the Radio, YouTube on the Phonograph. Some of those may be soon to be side projects actually, stay tuned!
Let’s talk about your debut album, City of Skin and Bone. What does it mean to you guys for this project to finally be coming out?
Luke: We actually tracked this record in the summer of 2017, so conception to release was a decidedly long birthing process, much like carrying a baby to the 83rd trimester, a turtle laying eggs on a Florida beach then finding themselves floating far away in Bali for hatching, or a nubile she seahorse inseminating a deadbeat seahorse dad. Pick your protractedly fecund nature metaphor and read it with a David Attenborough voice, but we couldn’t be more happy to have our mutant baby turtle seahorse swimming out out in the real world streams.
We just had the honor of opening for Chevelle on a recent tour through cities we’d never played before, and the experience of new fans singing our songs along with us live was joyously surreal.
What was the recording process like for it? How long did it take for this to come together from start to finish?
Luke: We recorded everything over the course of just a couple weeks. Pope of production Jim Kaufman invited us into his home studio. It was there that we banged out the rhythm tracks in a few days before a deep dive overboard into a proper sea of vocals, overdubs, and guitar pedals.
I love the new single “Nutrition”. What inspired this song?
Jahan: It was inspired by being in Los Angeles and the endless barrage of advertisements that are in your face 24/7.
What was the songwriting process like for this song specifically?
Jahan: Each person was responsible for writing their own part, but the initial idea. I believe were the lyrical elements. We tried to specifically keep this song as stripped down as possible.
Something I’ve always been curious with songwriting is how topics come to mind. Did you know what you wanted to write about going into the song session that birthed “Nutrition” or did it just come about organically once you were in the session?
Jahan: Ben lives in Hollywood and there was a billboard that he passed daily with a model on it with the text “smile” underneath.
Was there any major changes made to “Nutrition” once you guys got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
Jahan: Not particularly. We try to have everything as close to done as we can before we record.
Lastly, we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
Jahan: The line 6 helix. Best piece of equipment Luke and I (guitar and bass players) have ever used. The emulations are next level and have completely replaced the large pedalboards that we would have to use otherwise. Endless possibilities of potential sounds and all with an insane amount of processing power. We used them for the entirety of our last tour run with Chevelle and they were super reliable.