Condado in the city
Condado, an emo-rock band from Randolph County, will make their way to Greensboro for a show with Basement Life and Propersleep on Sept. 28 at the Flat Iron.
The boys in the band aren’t looking to move to a big city, but they’d like to play one near you. “Personally, I’m not a huge fan of cities,” said guitarist and vocalist Alberto “Birdie” Velazquez, who noted that though they do enjoy small-town living, it’s “tour, tour, tour,” that tops the Condado radar.
“We just want to travel and play with our favorite bands,” Birdie explained. “But I think we can all say that we haven’t received a strong enough calling to live elsewhere.”
An Asheboro native, Birdie’s first interaction with an instrument stemmed from playing Guitar Hero and listening to the Strokes in elementary school. Music continued to grow as his lifestyle through the grades.
“Concert band, jazz band, marching band, chorus, theater, you name it, I did it,” he said of his relationship to performance through high school.
Guitarist Josh Reid and bassist Javan Trinidad have been playing together since they were 14.
“I traded my PlayStation 2 to a friend for an acoustic guitar with three strings and taught myself as much as I could until my mom could afford to buy me my first electric guitar,” Reid explained.
His role as a performer started as a teen in his church band. It’s there where he met Trinidad, who “can survive off of Peanut M&Ms and Lifesaver Gummies;” and now owns JT Autoworks in Winston-Salem.
“We’ve created a pretty equal balance in the various regions, which makes us feel more like an N.C. band than a Greensboro band,” Birdie noted of their mix throughout the Piedmont. “We’re proof that we didn’t have to move to a huge city in order to find what we consider success,” he added.
Condado began as a post-high school project for Birdie, with band names and members fluctuating in the few years following. Reid and Trinidad entered the picture in 2017, after a fortuitous meeting at Guitar Center. They officially settled into “Condado” on Jan. 1, and the current lineup cemented with drummer Anunt Singh, who “unashamedly enjoys radio rock,” the following spring. Sable, their second EP, was released in July.
“I loved their writing style and ‘90s mentality,” Singh said of joining the group. ”We get on together really well. The ride’s been great so far, and I can’t wait to see where we end up soon.”
Where they’ll end up next is at the Flat Iron, technically a new venue in downtown Greensboro, named after the long-running bar of the same name in the same spot. It’ll be a first appearance in the Summit Avenue space for Condado, who signal a new crest of Triad bands fresh enough to have never known the first Flat Iron incarnation.
Their Greensboro history, thus far, has largely been house shows; outlets that Birdie feels carry an energy unmatched by traditional venues, though that hasn’t dampened the excitement for the upcoming show.
“We like telling stories, and we like being blunt,“ Birdie said of their material. A Guilford Technical Community College recording engineering student, he personally made the record along with the band, who unanimously favor a DIY approach.
“We’ll never settle for a blown-out, over-produced sound,” Birdie said. “Dynamics are way too crucial for what we do.“ As for artistic influences, Sable falls somewhere between Michael Cera Palin and Weezer.
“Everyone says we sound like Weezer,” he said, “which I think is good, but also hilarious.”
As a band, Condado enjoys adding to the sounds of the “fourth wave” emo genre.
“Being open about your emotions is an important thing,” Birdie noted. “We want to make that clear to everybody.”
Through Condado’s overall mission is to make music they love, “It’s also to make connections with people based off of the stories we tell,” Birdie insisted. “And if people haven’t noticed already, all of us are of a minority race and ethnicity. We already hold different perspective from the average American,” he added. “Plus, we grew up with other hardships. We know what it means to be different and unaccepted. We want people to come to our shows and sing with us.”
“We want them to feel as if they’re right where they belong,” he said of the audience, “because everyone has hardships in their life, and everyone weighs the severity of a situation differently.”
Catch Condado at the Flat Iron with Basement Life and Propersleep on Sept. 28.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands touring NC the following week, 5:30-7 p.m. on WUAG 103.1FM.