The tight Bay Area funk of Con Brio and the gritty rock of New York’s the London Souls may seem like strange bedfellows, but the two will mine common ground on an upcoming joint tour and a new split 7-inch single premiering exclusively below.
The two groups were linked initially by London Souls’ drummer Chris St. Hilaire and Con Brio bassist Jonathan Kirchner, who grew up together in Huntington, N.Y. “We kind of came up with the idea to co-release something, and we always wanted to tour together but we live on opposite coasts, so it wasn’t ever convenient,” St. Hilaire tells Billboard. “We finally worked it out and decided to release something behind it.”
The six-date tour gets underway Aug. 18 in Ardmore, Pa., and it’s something of a trial balloon to determine how well the groups’ respective audiences will accept the combination — though both acts are optimistic it won’t be an issue. “I think the difference is kind of cool,” says St. Hilaire. “I embrace it. It’s important to be open-minded and open our fans up to stuff they wouldn’t hear, and likewise on (Con Brio’s) side, I’m sure. We could easily team up with someone our fans already know and release something, too, but I think it’s good to do something different.”
Con Brio frontman Zeke McCarter adds that, “We’re very big fans of (the London Souls) and respect their crowd so much and their ability to captivate the audience. We’ve shared many stories with those guys. I think everybody that buys a ticket is definitely going to enjoy what comes off stage from both bands.”
Con Brio’s contribution to the single, “All Over Me,” was written earlier this year, while the group was working on material for its next album. “It won’t be one of the singles that will be heard on our forthcoming album,” McCarter says. “It just started from the music and really taps into the fire. It’s very up-front and passionate.” The London Souls’ “Certain Appeal,” meanwhile, was recorded during sessions for the duo’s 2015 album Here Comes The Girls and deals with the impact of advertising and reality TV on culture. “It’s the world we live in; We’re all, like, extras on the Trump show,” St. Hilaire says. “It’s a cool song, and it was really fun to make. There’s some cool textures on it.”
The London Souls are also working on a new album with “a bunch of stuff recorded” for a likely early 2018 release, according to St. Hilaire. And if the tour with Con Brio goes well his group will have more fans waiting for it.
“Younger bands like us kinda have to work together,” St. Hilaire says. “We’re in pretty different musical realms, different styles, so it’s a different audience. So if we bring 300 people to the show and they bring another 300 it’ll be different people, so the two of us together can get 600 or so — that’s a theory, at least. I think we’re compatible enough that their fans would like us and our fans will like them and we can play slightly bigger rooms and have fun and also probably sit in with each other. So it’ll be a good hang as well.”