Bonnaroo Backstage Banter: Con Brio
Formed in 2013, Con Brio is the offspring of seven musicians who share a psychedelic love of funk and soul. Their Bay Area sound is unique, hailing influence from bands like Sly & the Family Stone.
On stage, they are electric. Their seven-piece band is unstoppable, with lead vocalist Ziek performing backflips, splits and dance moves akin to Michael Jackson. The adrenaline rush flowing from the mix of guitar, vocals, keyboard and horn section gets the 3,000 person crowd moving like no other. We sat down with three of their members, Marcus Stephens (tenor saxophone), Ziek McCarter (vocals) and Benjamin Andrew (guitar) to find out more from this up-and-coming music sensation.
How would you describe your style?
In our songwriting process we don’t have limitations. Our sound comes organically. So if we want to write a funk song, we write a funk song. If we want to have soul vibes, or pop, we do that. We want listeners to hear our music and think “Con Brio”.
Is this your first time at Bonnaroo?
Yes. We’ve done similar festivals on this level. This past year we did ACL, and earlier this year we came back from Australia for a festival. It was intense. We met some kangaroos and had a connection. We had a really festival-heavy year last year, so this year we’re trying to hit all the festivals that we didn’t go to last year. We’ll be traveling to Japan, Montreal, London. It’s awesome.
Do you have a pre-concert ritual?
Not really. We all are pretty close. There’s seven of us, so we’re next to kin. We huddle up like athletes do before hand and just pump each other up. Nothing to strange.
What do you want new listeners to know about your music?
We want new listeners to take something away from our music. We don’t have limitations to our music, and we want listeners to be inspired by the lyrics. We write about truth, and we think that resonates with the audience. When people leave our shows, it feels like there is a connection, no matter how many people. It’s the same way we feel around each other. It makes for an intimate experience.
Are you excited for your LP “Paradise” to be released next month?
Yes, finally! It’s been ready since January, and has been in the works since our last EP release [in 2015, “Kiss the Sun”]. Make sure to check it out on July 15th.
Side note: it was Marcus’ birthday on the 9th. Show him some love on social media @thebandconbrio.
Check out their website to find out where they’ll be next for their Birds of Paradise Tour.