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Ballad Of Brownie: A Bassist’s Evolution

Ballad Of Brownie: A Bassist’s Evolution

“I still remember that feeling of disbelief I had when the Disco Biscuits played the Wetlands in New York. It’s funny, because to this day, when I think about what I actually get to do for a living, that feeling of disbelief is still strong,” recalls bassist Marc Brownstein. Despite the fact that Conspirator began as a Disco Biscuits’ side-project, Brownstein and his fellow bandmates, longtime friend and melodic partner Aron Magner (the Disco Biscuits) on keys, guitarist Chris Michetti (RAQ) and drummer KJ Sawka (Pendulum), have made it clear that the band has grown into much more of a frontrunner act these days, acting as a force to be reckoned with on the current music festival circuit.  

 

“I still remember that feeling of disbelief I had when the Disco Biscuits played the Wetlands in New York. It’s funny, because to this day, when I think about what I actually get to do for a living, that feeling of disbelief is still strong,” recalls bassist Marc Brownstein. Despite the fact that Conspirator began as a Disco Biscuits’ side-project, Brownstein and his fellow bandmates, longtime friend and melodic partner Aron Magner (the Disco Biscuits) on keys, guitarist Chris Michetti (RAQ) and drummer KJ Sawka (Pendulum), have made it clear that the band has grown into much more of a frontrunner act these days, acting as a force to be reckoned with on the current music festival circuit.

Earlier this year, Conspirator released its newest EP, entitled, Unleashed, featuring some of the band’s heaviest beats to-date, which gained high praise from fans and open-minded prog-electro listeners, alike. With much of Conspirator’s fanbase peeling off from the Bisco scene, certainly, one of Conspirator’s main challenges was attracting both the younger, more electronic-craving fans, as well as the OG Bisco kids. And, Brownstein emphasizes the importance of “allowing” Conspirator’s sound to be accepted for what it is, as opposed to comparing it to the Disco Biscuits. “They have gown into two completely different bands,” he admits. Furthermore, it is also essential to “establish a stable foundation,” for the music, according to Brownstein, which often includes the dismissal of dismayed fans. It is this mindset that has enabled Unleashed to be eaten up by the overlap of bassheads and jam families.

As far as the new material goes, Brownstein’s favorite song was initially “Pow Wow,” because, “It’s just so much fun!” However, as of late, “Tumblr” is growing on him, thanks to its catchy, “melodic hook.” Brownstein explains, “It’s the type of song that you wake up singing.” His favorite track off Unleashed to play live? “Right Wrong.” In a live setting, Brownstein’s love for these beats is wholeheartedly unveiled, as he rocks his signature half-moon smirk, while perfecting the art of the head bob. 

One of the most memorable aspects of Conspirator’s recent East Coast tour was the palpable, “incredible” nightly energy. “Even the tiniest venues were packed,” says Brownstein. “My favorite show had to be Baltimore, and there were fewer than 200 people there.” He went on to explain, “Although the bigger shows are fun, numbers don’t matter as much as fan passion, energy and emotion.” Brownstein says the energy is an essential part of performing in a live setting. Although the band plays the music, it’s the audience’s responsibility to circulate the energy, which in turn, makes the band want to increase the melodic intensity.

As with most touring musicians that have spent the better part of the past 15 years on a bus sans luxurious amenities, it’s no surprise that Brownstein has picked up a few bad habits, especially in a scene notorious for partying hard. But, it takes years of this lifestyle to develop a livable routine. One of the most beneficial aspects for Brownstein about life on the road with Conspirator these days is the “very healthy lifestyles” they each live, and encourage one another to keep up. Brownstein and his bandmates participate in daily workouts and eat as healthy as possible on the road, where balance has been key. “Of course we still party, but now, we go to the gym and sweat it off in the morning, rather than just sleeping it off the next day,” Brownstein offers. There’s no doubt these choices improve the band’s chemistry, both on and off the stage, while maintaining positive energy on the road.

But, what does the future hold for Conspirator? For starters, according to Brownstein, possible remix collaborations with Paper Diamond and Big Gigantic. There is also the prospect of “Pow Wow 2,” featuring Matisyahu on vocals, as well as live collaborations with the Hassidic reggae rapper’s respective live band, Dub Trio (an interesting mix, to say the least).

Gracing the bills of festivals including Summer Camp, Mountain Jam, Bonnaroo, Camp Barefoot and Catskill Chill this summer, Conspirator’s infectious brand of hard-hitting livetronica only has a chance of spreading further. Here’s to hoping Brownstein (and the rest of Conspirator) remains grounded, humbled and healthy as his other quartet’s journey on the long, winding road of 2013 continues.

Photos by Melodysiac © 2013

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victor

April 29th, 2013

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