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Behind The Scenes With Con Brio: Interview with Ziek McCarter

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 9, 2016 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Con Brio

By Dominique Gomez
Photos by Sarah Felker
This article also appears on DoTheBay


Con Brio is the modern musical excellence where funk meets soul. These Bay Area locals have developed not only a name for themselves in music but a name for music in the Bay Area. After a rigorous tour over the past year, hitting all the biggest venues and festivals throughout the world, Con Brio will find themselves headlining at the UC Theatre in Berkeley on October 14th, 2016 with Kev Choice and Kuchaw. Enter to win a pair of tickets to this show with DoTheBay HERE!

At the young age of 24, frontman Ziek McCarter rallies the masses with his desirably alluring vocals and Con Briounbelievably talented moves. His musical story began when he, officially, moved from Texas to San Francisco at just 18 years old. Surrounded by the enchantment that is of the Fillmore District, McCarter quickly found his way into the music scene ever so naturally due to his profound talent and stage presence.

Right out of their rehearsal space in Oakland, previously owned by a woodshop, DoTheBay's Sarah Fleker shot photos of the band in their natural element while we got on the phone with McCarter to get a closer look at one of the Bay Area's local heroes.

You moved to SF from Texas when you were 18, right?
Yes.

Was it the music that sparked your inspiration to move here?
It was the music-- but my mother, I was born and raised in the Fillmore of San Francisco. I have family here, in the Bay Area, Oakland. And when I was... what, 16? I moved back here to San Francisco. I was always back and forth, so it’s always been a home away from home. When I got out of high school, an opportunity came to work on this album with this artist but the opportunity fell through. So I was here and thought, "what could I get into?" One thing led to another, I went to the Boom Boom Room, and now I’m here.

So you started performing at the Boom Boom Room first, when you were younger?
Yeah I got in there when I was 18.

I noticed in a previous interview you had walked up to the Boom Boom Room and met performers from Afrolicious. Did they help you get your start in the music scene here?
In a way. Actually at the Boom Boom Room...yeah, I walked in and I met a guy named Will who had a Con Brioproject called Alligator Spacewalk. Will let me up on stage and I sang a few songs, they kept letting me come back. Eventually, I met the leader of Afrolicious and he allowed me to come on tour with them and we started traveling together. I got the residency at the Boom Boom Room from a guy named Oscar Myer. I had the residency for about...I got it when I was 18 actually, called Soul Train Revival. I did a monthly thing there, so you know, the Boom Boom Room is like two blocks away from my house. I would always walk past it, hear music. It’s a community that gave me my start. Yeah, it allowed me to work on my craft and have my own band and build a name for myself. That’s how I met the Con Brio guys, they actually changed it from the Soul Train Revival.

So when you first moved to SF officially, was being a band like Con Brio the type of future that you had pictured?
No. Nowhere in my mind. [Laughs]. I was rapping and singing and producing! I was determined! I was like, "I’m gonna rap, I'm gonna sing to my hooks, and I'm gonna produce it, and I’m gonna dance like it’s nobody’s business!" I was real!! I was doing it, but at a certain point you get some mentors and some friends in passing, and they were like, "Hey! What you're doing is good, but try something else." I’ve always been into rap music. I used to play the guitar with my dad in Texas, so that kind of gave me a platform for blues, you know? That was like a starting point for me. And when I got here I was like, "Oh! Live music, instruments!" Not just producing beats.

Ever take dance classes as a kid?
No, definitely none. I used to just dance. I loved to dance. It was just something that I found a lot of joy in as a kid. I’d try new things, ways to move my body. One thing I wanted to do was gymnastics, I do that now though! [Laughs.] I would love to do gymnastics. I just loved being active. I was into sports. I was always doing things with my body.

Paradise contains many powerful messages. In writing this album, what had you hoped fans would take away from these songs?
You know, at this point I think…I guess I don’t have one specific thing. I hope the people could have a Con Brioreminder or a demonstration of creating one’s paradise. You know, creating a life and manifesting one’s destiny or purpose that we feel, what we're here to do. You know, paradise is really worked on the interpretation of our reality and it’s like hey, I want to be the best right now, it’s tough, but I’m still moving in the direction of what paradise is for me. You know, what harmony is for me. So I guess, really, that’s what it’s a demonstration of. I don’t really have a specific thing as to what I hope people will take from it, but if I did, I guess that. I kind of create and leave the rest up to God.

Where do you hope to see Con Brio in the future?
Just doing Con Brio and moving towards the future! Longevity, you know, want to keep creating. Create and be a part of greatness.

Well you guys are some local heroes. You’re killin' it out there!
Thanks! Yeah it’s been about two and a half years now.

Many people try and claim that the Bay Area music scene is dead. What are your thoughts about the Bay Area music scene?
I think it depends on one’s taste, but there is music in the Bay Area. There’s tons of music! SF, Oakland, Berkeley, whether it be classica...You know yesterday, I went to go see an opera -- an all black opera. It was crazy! There’s always a variety of things and that’s why I love San Francisco. You've got to love the live music. [Con Brio's] guitarist did a jam session at the Boom Boom Room with a group of members from all different bands, kind of like a supergroup. They had a night at the Boom Boom Room and it's so cool they're still there. It’s definitely changing though [the music scene], I don’t know exactly what it used to be but from when I was a kid, that's what I loved about the Bay Area, culturally.

Any local Bay Area acts you’d like to recommend to us?
Definitely! Fantastic Negrito is one, my buddies Alligator Spacewalk, G-Eazy. So many amazing bands, Afrolicious… I think they moved to L.A. though, but so many great bands.

If you were to walk into Amoeba and buy two albums, what would they be?
What would it be… It would be Prince’s first album. That would be one. He played all the instruments, great album. That one...and…I guess the new Con Brio album! Paradise on vinyl.

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Con Brio (1), Ziek Mccarter (1), San Francisco (388), Bay Area (34), Dothebay (2), Dominique Gomez (2), Sarah Fleker (1), Interviews (0)