Con Brio‘s music is a dynamic collaboration of funk, soul, R&B, and jazz elements, elements that appear in infectiously groovy compilations of tracks on both their EP Kiss the Sun (2015) and newly released album Paradise (2016). As of now, they’re on the North American leg of their tour promoting Paradise, before continuing the rest of the tour in Japan and Europe. In preparation for their show on Friday at Berkeley’s UC Theatre, we spoke to frontman Ziek McCarter about topics ranging from the origin of Con Brio to the Bay Area’s role in the development of their music.
With such a musically complex and unique sound, how did the members of the band come together in the first place to form this group?
We came together from the live music scene in the Bay Area.
What were you unsure of going into recording your first full-length album and what did you unexpectedly learn from the experience, if anything?
I was unsure about the exact way some songs would turn out as they translated from the stage to the studio setting, but I learned to trust our intentions and leave the rest to fate.
I had a rough idea, but was also unsure how “Paradise Outro” and the “You Think this is a Game” skit would feel in context. I wrote the lyrics for both of these the day we went into the studio to record them. Again, I still trusted the process and am really proud of how they came out.
What are your main influences?
My main influence is life itself and soul music. My family, my team, nature, my community. These elements of life inspire me. Music that comes from no particular genre, but comes from the soul of a person is what translates and inspires me within the art.
In Paradise, your songs touch upon many themes from love and perseverance to political and societal commentary. Are there any specific songs that hold certain messages that you want to highlight for listeners?
With Paradise, I hope listeners are impacted by the entire album from start to finish. “Paradise” is a journey through manifestation, not one particular destination.
Hard question, but if you could describe your sound in three words or less, what would they be?
Coming from San Francisco, how did you find the Bay Area music scene to shape the development of your music? (If it did at all.)
The Bay Area music scene really inspired me to explore my truest voice in the art. There’s so much diversity here that it inspired me to explore and expand myself with no limitations. This liberated me to be influenced by he past, present, and future elements while still being original.
Is there anything coming up in the future of the band that you’re particularly excited for?
The second wind of our #BirdsofParadiseTour in Japan and Europe this November and December.
Any final thoughts you want to include?
Get your tickets to our show at UC Theatre, October 14th, ASAP! Listen to Paradise via your mode of digesting music (iTunes, Spotify, CD, and vinyl), the music video for our upcoming single, “Money,” is coming soon, and vote for Hillary Clinton.
Tickets for their show at the UC Theatre can be found here. Doors open at 7, and the show starts at 8.
Article by Vivian Chen