We were able to talk to Conor McCarthy of Brothers & Sisters and get the inside scoop on what makes their awesome band tick. You can catch them at our BANDADE benefit at PhilaMOCA next Thursday night with Cold Roses, Thee Idea Men, and Mel Bryant. (Above photo by J. McCue Photography)
How would you describe the music of Brothers & Sisters?
Brothers & Sisters is an indie-blues band led by powerhouse female vocals, soaring lead guitar, and a fierce rhythm section. We all grew up listening to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Yes, and The Beatles, but once we heard modern artists like Radiohead, Snarky Puppy and Lana Del Rey, our original sound developed into something really refreshing and exciting. Recently when discussing our genre, we actually came up with “feel-good prog rock” which is not far off!
Are there actual brothers and sisters in the band? How did you guys pick that name?
Our name comes from two things. First off, our lead singer Hannah and myself are in fact brother and sister. We’ve played music together for as long as I can remember, and it is always a divine joy to share this passion with her. Secondly, the Allman Brothers Band is the group who largely inspired my musical direction. Their album ‘Brothers & Sisters’ is one of the greatest ever recorded (you should all check it out!). So it was a combination of those two factors that brought us to the name.
When were you personally inspired to become a musician and what does music mean to you?
Music is the only language that I feel comfortable conversing through, which makes the guitar my voice. My first “a-ha” moment came when I was 13. I was in the car with my dad, who I consider the quintessential campfire sing-a-long guitarist, and Behind Blue Eyes by The Who came on the radio. At this point I had never touched a guitar, never even considered it really. But something about Pete Townshend’s acoustic guitar completely shocked me. It sent a shiver down my spine and covered me with goosebumps. I asked my dad if he knew how to play song and if he would teach it to me. When we got home, I rushed into the basement, eager to unlock the mystery behind this beautifully haunting sound. I bypassed the learn curve entirely. It took me no more than twenty minutes to learn all the chords from my dad and play through the song start to finish. It was totally surreal. Looking back on it, I think the reason this particularly piece stood out to me was its ability to simultaneously capture many different emotions. I experienced longing, joy, pain, and hope all at the same time. That’s why music is such a pivotal aspect of our lives; it lets you feel everything and anything that you need to feel.
How does the BANDADE cause, fighting for people affected by cancer, resonate with you?
Cancer is a disease that unfortunately can suck happiness out of us. BANDADE gives us the opportunity to use the power of music to not only raise money, but to spread good vibes far and wide to all.
What has been playing on your iPod (Spotify, TIDAL, whatever) lately?
The last three albums I listened to were a live Grateful Dead show from 8/13/75 which shows the band at one of their creative peaks, Claudio Arrau’s interpretation of Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque which is some of the most jarring piano playing I’ve ever heard, and Tame Impala’s Currents which is one of the best records in the last five years.
Pat’s or Geno’s?
If I had to choose, Geno’s. But the best cheesesteak on earth is at John’s Village Market in Berwyn.
When can we see Brothers & Sisters perform next and where can we find some of your recordings?
Brothers & Sisters has two festival dates this weekend. Saturday 8/6 is own our Summer Jubilee Music & Arts Festival, which takes place at Wilson Park in Valley Forge, PA. Free show, tons of fun vendor tents, and great music from 3-9pm. Brothers & Sisters will perform at 7pm. Then Sunday 8/7 is the 2nd Street Festival at The Piazza in Northern Liberties. They’ll have some awesome Philly bands playing all day long, we play last at 9pm. And of course, our BANDADE show is next Thursday, August 11th at PhilaMOCA! You can find our music here, and follow us here. Peace to all.