Insider Interview with the Como Brothers Band!

If you find yourself jamming out to some rock on Wednesdays, the blues on Thursdays and a little pop on Fridays to get your weekend started, then I have just what you need. Ladies and gentleman, may I bring to you, The Como Brothers.




You might have seen them featured on E! Entertainment’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians or MTV’s Real World. If you don’t recall, please don’t worry because here is your opportunity to make up on missed times.

The up and coming duo recently blessed the indie-music scene by releasing their new EP called Jam Theory. Let’s get to know Matt and Andrew Como.

 

HiFiveInsider: First, let me congratulate you fellas on yet another great EP. I understand that you already started recording your follow-up, full-length album to Jam Theory. What are your expectations for this new album?

Andrew: Thanks man! Yeah, we have about 15 or so songs recorded from recent sessions in New York City and Los Angeles. We don’t have a name, release date or anything like that for the next album. We’ve just been in the studio so much that it turns out we have a crop of good cohesive songs for our next release!

We’re still very focused on getting the word out about Jam Theory. We want to get those songs into as many ears as possible—both live and through the recordings themselves. It’s an album that we’re very proud of and are excited to show people.

HFI: Who are some of the artists that helped contribute in attempting to make this album a success?

A: Long time Como Brothers collaborator Andy Burton played keys on Jam Theory. Andy has been John Mayer’s touring keyboardist for the last few years. He’s also toured with Rufus Wainwright, and he will be on tour with Cyndi Lauper soon.

He is simply the best; both as a musician and a person. Nobody can beat Andy. He brought such versatility to these songs and stretched them in ways that exceeded our expectations. Andy was truly invaluable in shaping the sound of this album and driving these songs forward.

Kenta Yonesaka, Grammy nominee for his work on Pharrell’s latest album Girl, recorded and co-produced these songs with us at Germano Studios in New York City. Kenta is also a master at what he does and the coolest guy around. We experimented around with a lot of different sounds on Jam Theory, and Kenta was integral to that exploration.

Matt: Beyond Jam Theory on our next full length you mentioned earlier, we have Andy Burton on keys again, but also, Aaron Sterling on drums. We’ve worked with Aaron a few times before. He’s ridiculous and really added a lot of feeling to our new songs.

One of the songs features Steve Jordan on drums. A couple of other songs I actually played guitar on (see “The Light and Lovely Molly”). I think it was my first time professionally tracking guitar—usually Andrew tracks guitars and I do bass. For those two songs, we thought it would be cool to work with Aaron and Andy’s friend, Sean Hurley. Sean is one of my heroes and idols on the bass. Meeting him and working with him was a dream come true. It really motivated me to continue hitting the grindstone practicing to be the best bassist I can be.

HFI: If you could choose any artist, dead or alive, to help contribute to this album or any future album, who would it be?

A: For me, it would have to be Paul McCartney. Paul is so versatile in his different singing and songwriting styles; he’s just hands down my favorite. One minute he would be singing like Little Richard in the rocker “I’m Down,” and the next minute he’s crooning his way through “Yesterday.” He’s also someone you can’t detach from the music; Paul is a legend. That kind of passion really speaks to me, like it does to so many others.

M: I could say a different artist each day you ask me this but today, and probably on a lot of days, I would say Taylor Swift. If you’re looking for someone to sit down with and write a cool song just like John and Paul used to do, then you’d have a hard time finding a better choice than her.

HFI: I know you two are big fans of The Beatles, just like myself. What about them influenced you and helped drive your early passion for music?

A: The first song I ever remember hearing was The Beatles’ cover of “Twist & Shout” on a cassette tape while sitting in the back of my parents’ blue 1993 Plymouth Voyager. From then on I was hooked. I was spoon fed the Beatles from a very early age because of my dad’s love of the group, and I quickly knew every song. When in high school, I formed a Beatles tribute band with my dad, uncle Lawrence and friend Tim Ryan. I played George and Matt would later fill in for the John part.

Being in a Beatles tribute band, I learned nearly the entire Beatles catalog. This tremendously influenced my songwriting when I wanted to write tunes of my own years later. Our songs might not outwardly sound like Beatles songs, but their pop sensibilities and song structure is what subconsciously affected us the most.

M: The song that made me want to start playing guitar in the first place was “Day Tripper.” Andrew had been playing guitar for a while and I resisted it for a bit because of a combination of not thinking I would be capable or disinterest. One day, “Day Tripper” came on and I couldn’t help but think that it was badass and the feeling of “why shouldn’t I be able to play it too?”

So for someone who had never played a guitar, I picked up an acoustic guitar and painstakingly learned the riff for many many hours until I could play it up to speed with some groove. After that I was hooked. All I wanted to do was learn how to play guitar better and write songs of my own like John and Paul. And also like George and Ringo. The Beatles song and melody sensibilities stuck with me as the coolest thing a person could do.

“I can’t picture myself wanting to do anything else. We’re not stopping until we hit the top…and even then we’re not stopping.”

HFI: Let The Good Times Roll Tour 2016 just began, and I’ve noticed that you have quite a few stops on this tour. What is your advice on touring?

A: I always feel weird giving advice just because I feel like I’m still figuring everything out myself. What I will say about touring is it’s the most fun you could ever have. Driving around from state to state to play your songs for different people who want to hear it is thrilling to say the least. I guess my advice would be to bring snacks for the ride.

M: Eating healthy is always a challenge on the road. Especially for someone like me—I’ll eat anything that is in front of me. Find the good food and stick with that instead of the fast food at every stop.

HFI: Where is your favorite place to perform?

A: I’ll play anywhere that there’s a crowd! My favorite place to play would have to be 89 North in Patchogue, Long island. It’s a really nice place with a very cool & clean vibe.

We played & recorded our EP Release Show there for our last album Imagination. It’s called “Live at 89.”

M: My favorite place we’ve played at has been The Cutting Room in NYC. We opened up for PJ Morton there last year. That place is sweet. It has a lot of history and is intimate yet really big and has a seated arrangement. It’s really cool.

HFI: Is there a specific venue that you have to perform at before your time is up?

A: Matt and I always say that we can’t wait to play Madison Square Garden. It’s going to happen…one day.

M: MSG will be tops.

HFI: Do you have any favorite restaurants or places that you need to stop at while you’re on the road?

M: I think no matter where we are we try to find an AppleBees after our shows. You can’t go wrong with half-apps although it is ditching my own advice about eating healthy. Oh well.

HFI: If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career? Would you do anything differently?

A: Music is all I do and think about. I can’t picture myself wanting to do anything else. We’re not stopping until we hit the top…and even then we’re not stopping.

What I would do differently is practice longer hours from a younger age. When I first picked up the guitar and started singing, all I wanted to do was get out there and play for people; despite the fact that I wasn’t ready to do so (I thought I was). I became much more dedicated to locking myself away and practicing after that, but I just wish I put in the long hours right when I started.

M: I would choose music every time. I would have chosen playing an instrument and singing earlier than I did. I started even later than Andrew and logged a lot of hours of practice right from the get-go.

HFI: How would you describe and rate the music scene here on Long Island?

A: The music scene here is great. You just have to treat it like any other area that you would tour through or play shows in. You hear a lot of people getting down on certain music scenes. To me, that’s not very productive thinking. An area is an area, people are people and people want to hear music.

M: Yeah it’s definitely true. The bottom line is that if there is truly a good act that can blow people away in their face with their songs, singing and performance, then that act will make fans. That act will think the scene is awesome. Anywhere you can find human beings, you can find an audience for a song that sounds good.

HFI: Rank these five movies, “1” being the best and “5” being the worst. School of Rock, The Blues Brothers, Pitch Perfect, That Thing You Do! and Jersey Boys.

A: 1. School of Rock 2. That Thing You Do! 3. Blues Brothers 4. Jersey Boys 5. Pitch Perfect.

M: 1. That Thing You Do! 2. School of Rock 3. The Blues Bothers… The others don’t matter to me.

HFI: The world needs to know who you’ve been singing about? Is she an ex-girlfriend? The one that got away? Maybe a girl who doesn’t know you exist? Who is she?!

A: We’ll never tell!! I’m kidding. For me, almost all my songs are directly about someone. If one is not about someone directly, then it was definitely inspired by someone I knew.

“Maybe I’m Just Feeling Lonely” was about two girls actually. It was about an ex-girlfriend who dumped me and it was about a girl I saw after her that didn’t pan out. Truthfully, I saw the second girl to try and forget about that ex-girlfriend. That didn’t work though, and I ended up with no one. Don’t cry for me though; I got a song out of it, which is always the silver lining.

Fun fact for those of you who know my song “Magic;” the ex-girlfriend I wrote “MIJFL” about is the same girl I wrote “Magic” about. We just recorded a studio version of “Magic” recently, and it’ll be on our next album! “Magic” is basically the prequel to “MIJFL”—relationship-wise.

“Afraid To Love You” was about a girl I was talking to, but it never really turned into anything…making the song lyrics that much more melancholy.

M: I’ve had a few crazy exes, yeah, so my songs on Jam Theory are about that.

HFI: Lastly, what kind of advice would you give to young artists who have recently started on their journey?

A: What I would love to tell my younger self is that it’s okay to not have it all figured out. You have to work at becoming who you want to be: physically, emotionally, mentally and musically. Rome was not built in day, and that’s okay. Unapologetically put in the work necessary, pay your dues, have fun and never look back.

Another thing I would tell myself is that nobody is born with talent.  You have to work on yourself musically relentlessly to become the musician you want to be. The sky is the limit. The second I realized that I’m in charge of my own destiny is when I started practicing relentlessly and started my journey.

Nobody woke up and was Ed Sheeran; not even Ed Sheeran himself.

I have my own video of me singing laughably & excruciatingly bad. Not only is the singing bad, but the songwriting and playing are also atrocious. I’m not ashamed of it though; it was a necessary growing pain to get to where I am now. This is my song called “A Friend” from 2010.

Before a lot of the lessons and practice:

I still practice every day and only want to get better. In a couple of years, I hope my singing today will look like my singing from “A Friend” to my future self.

M: I would say determine what you want. Do you want to be a pop star? Just become a virtuoso on your instrument. Become a virtuoso songwriter. Become a virtuoso singer. Just get really good and train to be the best. Before you know it, you’ll be playing with the best.

 

You can follow Fred on Twitter @FCalzone.

Cover photo provided by The Como Brothers Band (http://www.comobrothersband.com).

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