I recently interviewed Aron Magner, who started Conspirator with Marc Brownstein back in 2004. He fit me in for a phone call between legs of his current Conspirator tour and we talked of things like the conception and development of this project for him and Brownstein. Check out sounds from Conspirator’s Unleashed EP which released earlier this year, and catch them on this leg of their tour. They are currently playing in Colorado and will be hitting the east coast shortly. You can also find my interview with Aron Magner from Conspirator below.
Back in 2004, Aron was playing keys for The Disco Biscuits while Marc was playing bass and they began to collab on something a bit different than their Biscuits roots. The Disco Biscuits focus mainly on live instrumentation, and are heavily known in the jam band circuit. I asked Aron about the beginnings of Conspirator. “It was one of those fortuitous things where we had a significant time off from our other band, The Disco Biscuits, and as we were searching for a new drummer we used the time available to us to delve into electronic music production.”
Conspirator started off with Magner and Brownie, and subsequently the addition of guitarist Chris Michetti from the psychedelic rock quartet RAQ. I asked Aron about the drummers they have played with in the past and the final formation of Conspirator as it stands today. “It took a while for us to be the band we are now. There was definitely a time where we were doing a rotating cast of drummers until we settled in rather nicely with Kj (Sawka) on the last couple of tours and now it seems awkward to think about playing with all those different drummers. “
Conspirator can be classified as an improvisational livetronica band. Their live elements feature: Aron on keys, Marc on bass, Chris on guitar, and Kj on drums. In addition to this they implement computer-based music along with pedals, synthesizers and other electronic elements into their sets. I talked to Aron about how his appreciation for computer-based music had transformed since primarily being in the Biscuits.
“I developed a fond appreciation of the musicality the Biscuits have without really depending on a computer… Conspirator legitimizes the computer and what Conspirator does wouldn’t sound whole without the computer. Where the Biscuits can expand on our own with purely our instruments, Conspirator needs that computer as the 5th member of the band. …The biggest dish that Conspirator has is that were able to capture the energy and authoritativeness that electronic music has, big risers, big builds, and big drops. We’re able to capture that energy and replicate it with instruments and a computer so you’re not missing one element. “
As the band is classified as somewhat improvisational, there needs to be elements that are flexible within Conspirators sets. I spoke to Aron about how they place their tracks and sets, and what they like to play around with. “Conspirators repertoire can be broken down into the different bpm categories. We have the 90-110 bpm category, then we have the 128 house category, then we have 140 dubstep category, and then we have the 174-180 drum and bass category. Just like any DJ set you wanna have fluidity. Conspirator ranges in such tempos that we have figured out the formula of where put the 128 house stuff in which part of the set, and where to place the drum and bass stuff, and how many tracks of the same tempo you want to put next to each other. After figuring that out, then the rest of the pieces make sense… The only thing formulaic about it are the rules. That’s what we’ve set. That’s probably the most interesting part is that the set still changes every night.”
While Conspirator released their EP Unleashed in January of this year, they are also currently touring and are playing at festivals including: Bonnaroo, Summer Camp, and Mountain Jam Festival. Since I knew that Brownstein and Magner have deep roots in the Disco Biscuits, I asked if Conspirator would be focused mainly on touring rather than putting out new albums. “I feel like in today’s world where there’s so much content, there is so much music easily accessible to the end user, and you need to continue to provide for them. That insatiable desire to constantly get new music and get music easily. With that you should be providing that insatiable desire with more music, but it has to be good and it has to stand out from the rest of the stuff. That’s kinda Conspirator’s goal, to continue to play shows because that’s how you expose yourself but also continue to write music.”
We concluded our conversation with talk about what’s happening next for Conspirator and the upcoming festival season.“I’m excited for festival season to start. I’m definitely excited for this next week of shows, a full week of Colorado, and a full week of California. We come back and we start hitting a bunch of east coast markets and then all of a sudden we find ourselves in summertime playing the festivals, so I’m pretty psyched for all of that.“
Make sure to check out Conspirator’s EP Unleashed and connect with the band on social media to catch them on tour in a town near you.
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