An Interview with Cristian Labra of The Labra Brothers
Written by Rebecca Aslanis on March 11, 2019
The Labra Brothers are a local band from Youngstown, Ohio. The members are Adrian, who plays lead guitar and sings lead vocals; David, who plays guitar, saxophone and sings as well; and Cristian, who plays the bass guitar and sings. They have an album coming out called “Colder Weather” and three upcoming shows on March 17th, March 30th, and April 20th. Their music has a unique upbeat and jazzy sound. The following is an interview with Cristian.
Rebecca Aslanis: When did you form your band?
Cristian Labra: We formed as a band three years ago.
RA: How did you start off?
CL: It started out just Adrian and Cristian playing at local restaurants and bars, and then David joined on a couple of years later, so we formed a whole band. After that, we kind of just kept adding musicians. Adrian Labra is vocals and lead guitar, David Labra is guitar, saxophone and vocals, Cristian Labra is bass guitar and vocals, Bob Young is on drums, Matt Hayes is our percussionist, and Danny Svenson is our Keyboardist.
RA: Who are your influences?
CL: We take influence from a lot of different genres. Santana, Doobie Brothers, RHCP, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder are all influences on our sound. As individual musicians we all have our different tastes and styles, which helps form our sound.
RA: What are you most excited about your newest album?
CL: Colder Weather is our debut album, so we are very excited to get this out for people to enjoy (or hate). The part that we are most proud of with this project was branching out and experimenting with different styles with these 10 songs. Some songs were written when we first started out, but the majority were newly written for this project.
RA: How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
CL: The three front men are brothers, David, Cristian, and Adrian, so we kinda have always known each other. We met Bob and Matt through connections with our old drummer, and Cristian met Danny through friends in the music scene in Youngstown.
RA: What inspired you to make music together?
CL: The brothers come from a musical family, so music has had a huge influence on us at a young age. Our grandfather traveled around Mexico with a folk trio with his brother, so hearing stories about him and seeing him still sing some of his favorite songs at family parties was always inspiring. A lot of our cousins and uncles are musicians as well, so getting together and playing has always been a lot of fun. We were always jamming and learning songs to play out at gigs, so one day we decided to start writing music together.
RA: Where have you performed? Do you have any upcoming shows?
CL: Some of our more notable shows have been at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Morley Pavilion in Youngstown, Scioto Park in Columbus, and Akron Civic Theater in Akron.
RA: Where was your favorite venue? Why?
CL: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was an incredible experience all around. Performing at such a well-known place was a great feeling. The atmosphere and energy was amazing, and we had the opportunity to meet a lot of really cool people. The Summit radio station was hosting one of their Rock and Recovery events, so on top of that, it was for a great cause.
RA: Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
CL: When it comes to the writing process, we all contribute to the songs. One of us will bring a guitar riff or bass line to the group, and then we write lyrics and build off of it. Sometimes, one of us comes up with a melody, and then we build that way. So overall, there isn’t really a scripted process that we use to write our songs. In this project, most of the lyrics were written by Adrian, but there is a song that Cristian wrote the lyrics to.
RA: What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
CL: Our biggest challenge as a band has been getting everyone to get together to just hang out and jam. We all have busy schedules and crazy lives, but I think it makes the opportunities that we do have to get together, that much more productive and fun.
RA: What advice do you have for people who want to create their own bands?
CL: I would tell anyone who is trying to form a band that it is really important to make sure to include your friends. It’s going to be a lot of work if you are taking it seriously, so having a good relationship with your bandmates is super important. It’s also a great idea to try to lock down a practice space that is easily accessible and just a good environment to be in. Having a good clean space that makes creating art comfortable is essential to the process of making your music.
RA: Any other thoughts you would like to add?
CL: Thanks a lot for your time! I was a part of BSR for a year, and always love working with you guys!