‘Waiting’ over for new Labra music
It’s been a busy month for the Labra Brothers.
The band got a rousing ovation from the audience at The Summit’s 330 Day Concert on March 30 at Stambaugh Auditorium, and the group played to an even bigger crowd Saturday as direct support for national headliner HUNNY at Federal Frenzy.
It almost makes the official release of the Labra’s EP, “Waiting,” on Friday feel a bit anti-climactic, especially since five of the six tracks already are available for streaming. But it’s the band’s first physical release since its 2019 album “Colder Weather,” and Adrian Labra said it represents an important transition for the band.
“We’re trying to put a little more thought into how we release music,” he said. “We want to make the most of every release.”
“Spring (Without You)” was released in 2020, and the band — Adrian Labra, lead guitar and vocals; Cristian Labra, bass and vocals; David Labra, guitar, sax and vocals; Antonio Labra, percussion and vocals; Danny Svenson, keyboards; and Matt Hayes, drums — started in December releasing a new single each month.
“Waiting” was made at Bear Cave Recording, the studio started by Svenson.
“It made for a comfortable environment,” Labra said. “Obviously, we like Danny and were able to take our time, but we also figured out a way to streamline the process — what works, what doesn’t, what to do first and what to tie up at the end.”
Svenson also is a member of Spirit of the Bear, a Columbus band that formed in Youngstown. The band signed a record deal with Shelter Music Group last year and will be releasing an EP and touring this summer.
“We’re trying to anticipate that as best we can,” Labra said. “We wish him and Spirit of the Bear all the best. They’re killing it. Realistically, we’ll have to get a sub for a few of the live performances, but as far as writing and recording goes, we’re not expecting that to change too much … We have ton of other friends who are willing and capable of stepping in for us. Of course, whatever he is available for, he’ll be there.”
The Labra Brothers have shows scheduled in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia in the next couple of months to promote “Waiting” and some local dates are in the works but haven’t been finalized.
For its short 330 Day set, the Labras played “Fire,” the folky and catchy single that was perfectly suited for the acoustic show, along with a cover of “Dos Gardenias,” a traditional Spanish language song popularized by Buena Vista Social Club.
“We kind of grew up with that song,” Labra said. “That was one of the first we learned how to play together. As we got better, we played it for our grandfather, and he really loved it. He was a musician and huge influence on us. He passed away at the end of 2020, and it was meaningful to us to be able to play it and dedicate the song to him.”
It also indicates an influence the band would like to incorporate more in its original music.
“We have promoted ourselves as a Latin funk and soul band,” Labra said. “The traditional stuff doesn’t necessarily fall into that. Maybe it does if you have an open mind. We want to focus on putting those sides of us on display. We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into a specific genre. We’re influenced by a huge variety of music that spans two languages, and we want to share that with people and look like we’re proud of that, because we are.”
The Labra Brothers don’t plan to wait three years until its next release. A full-length album is in the works that won’t include any of the “Waiting” material. If the full album isn’t available before the end of the year, Labra said the first single should be available before 2023.
“Some of it will be material along the lines of what you might expect to hear from us, but there will be some songs in there that might be seen more as curveballs and take from those traditional rhythms and genres. The Mexican folk we grew up with, a lot of that bleeds through these new tunes and we’re excited about that.”