Conn. (otherwise known as Zak Connelly) has just released his debut single Through the Night. Incorporating a grungy sound with an 80’s vibe, Through the Night is a love song that so many people can currently relate to. The obstacles and distance that separates you from your loved one. The struggles that ensure from the emotional turmoil created. Conn. has managed to write a beautifully crafted sad song in a time when we need it.

Keen to see what Zac was up to we got together and had a chat.

Hey Zac, it’s been awhile since we’ve caught up! You have a new project happening ‘Conn.’? How did this evolve?

Hey! So I’d been thinking about doing my own thing for a while. Before I started playing with Rival Fire I was in a band called The Controllers which was kind of a punk rock band. We all went to high school together and it was a bit different to Rival Fire. I joined Rival Fire and kind of took the back seat to writing a little bit, which I really enjoyed to be quite honest. It was good to put your ideas in there but not have to feel like you’re the person that has to do everything.

Recently because of Covid I’ve been writing heaps of music. I’ve named the project Conn because that was my dad’s nickname when he played in bands. He’s the one who inspired me to play music so I thought that would be a name with some meaning.

Is Through the Night the only track so far?

I’ve only recorded Through The Night so far, but I have another four songs on the go at the moment. This song is a bit of a soppy song I suppose. My girlfriend Laura lives in Queensland so since April I’ve seen her once and that was between lockdowns. It’s pretty hard obviously. The whole song is about what my mind was going through as this was all unfolding and was just another way of dealing with some of the shit feelings I was having.  I ended up setting up a studio in dad’s shed and I’ve just been kicking around out there writing songs.

At least you’ve got an outlet

Yeah that’s right. Just before the first lockdown happened I moved back in with my parents which I was stoked about because I had been living by myself. There’s a few of my family living here so it’s been good to have people around too.

So are we getting an EP seeing as you have a few songs on the go?

Yeah I think so. I’ve got the other four songs on the go that aren’t quite finished, oh actually one of them the structure is finished. The other three are ideas at the moment I suppose. They’re almost done but their definitely missing parts. The aim is to finish these songs while we are in lockdown. I’ve been listening to a whole bunch of different music too and I think I’ve been inspired to write different tunes than I have written before. The first song Through the night is a lot different to what I’ve ever written.

Yeah it wasn’t what I was expecting when I first listened to it. I couldn’t for the life of me work out who it sounded like until you said about the band.

Yeah. It was my mum who said that it sounded like Joy Division. I can’t say that I’ve ever really listened to them. After mum said that I went and listened to them and thought oh yeah I guess so! The singing is quite low in Joy Division and I sing pretty low. I just wanted to do something a little bit different. Rival Fire is very main stream rock I guess, which I love and it’s so much fun to play, especially live. When I wrote this song I just let it go in whatever direction it went as opposed to trying to make it go a direction.

I recorded this at Tim Smyth’s One Punch Studios. I love doing stuff with Tim because he’s a musical genius. It just happened that his wife Lisa was there when we recorded so I asked her if she would like to sing on the chorus with me. She was keen to luckily. I gave her the microphone and she just did what I asked, and we put it in there. I was like sick that sounds awesome! I was so stoked with it. The song has been mixed by a guy called Peter Holz. I met him at Sony in Sydney a few years back. He’s a really great guy. Technology has been really handy because even though I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze recording with Tim between the two lockdowns I couldn’t get to Sydney for the mixing. I was originally going to go and sit in on it with Peter. The fact that I can send him the song and he can send it back via email is just so good. So it’s off being mixed and mastered now.

The version I have is obviously raw then!

Yeah so the version you heard still sounds a little bit raw. The kind of vibe I’m going for is a little bit raw anyway. This is just me having fun really. I’m sure when this first single hits people are going to be WTF!!  I’ve learnt that you would go insane trying to please other people, so this is just me. I’ve had so much fun writing this song, I’ve never had so much fun writing a song before actually. It’s the first time I’ve multi- tracked everything as well. I didn’t play the drums, Kieran Rafferty stepped in to do that.

Honestly why would you play the drums when you’ve got Kieran really!!

Well I’m not that good on the drum kit and Kieran is just amazing. We’ve been playing together since we were 13 years old. I said to him ‘Oi can you come play on this’ and he was like yeah!  He rocked in and tracked two songs for me, including set up and sound check it took him under two hours!! He came in, smashed each song three or four times and then bailed!!

I’m really excited to see where Zac takes this project as this first single is so good. Go give it a listen below.

Through The Night is out now:

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