They’re taking over the city in the style of Cortes and Columbus. You may have seen them right outside of Wag- one blonde guy with a guitar decked out in stickers, the other an Asian dude who beat boxes. Their high-energy performances include the production of live artwork – you can even take a masterpiece home, if you’re lucky! I present to you: Chris and the Conquistadors – an up and coming band composed of UNCW students. So you’re thinking, “There are plenty of college bands, what makes these guys different?” They claim to be the most diverse band in Wilmington. Read on to find out why they are so unique!
Chris and the Conquistadors is:
Chris – The Front Man
Howon – The Beat
“Dos” – The Artist
These guys stay busy balancing school, work and general awesomeness. I was able to grab an interview with front man, Chris.
Name: Christopher ColumbusAge: 21Year in School: SeniorMajor/minor: Psychology/Creative WritingHometown: Farmingdale, New YorkRelationship status: Single but looking for JesusPlans after graduation: “Man, honestly, I love Astrology. If I could, I would go into the field of zodiac studies and horoscopes. I want to be a psychic.”
HC: How did you all meet?
Chris: Well Dos and I live next to each other. It’s been such a crazy past two semesters and the experiences that we’ve been involved with have just brought us together. I met Howon one day a couple of weeks ago, by chance, outside of Wag. I was bored, and it was nice out, so I decided to jam in front of campus’ greatest hall o’ cuisine.
Out of nowhere this kid comes up to me with his phone and asks if he can beat-box to what I’m playing… I started playing an original tune – something Howon had obviously never heard before – and I don’t know how the dude did it, but he anticipated every jump in the verse and transition to the chorus, and I just took down his number afterward. I’m sure he still has the videos from that first, random, meet. It was magical.
HC: Where did the idea to start a band form?
Chris: I think it was right after I ran into Howon. Dos and I were drinking in his apartment, like usual. And I was so excited I ran and told him everything that happened. Something along the lines of, “Holy s**t, dude, there’s this beat-boxer and he’s awesome, and he beat-boxed to all my stuff, and I think I’m going to ask him to play at Schwoodstock.”
Dos was ecstatic to hear the news and he’d actually just started painting in the previous months and was showing me his art. I loved it, and we still don’t know how it came about, but there was this moment of enlightenment where we both were brainstorming and realized collectively that it would be dope to have Dos paint while we play. And now, he visualizes our sound – never painting the same thing.
I don’t like to think of us as a band. We’re best friends that just so happen to make art together.
HC: Chris, how long have you been playing guitar? Did you have formal lessons?
Chris: I started sitting down and playing acoustic guitar for about four years now, since the start of summer before college. In seventh grade though, I tried to get acoustic lessons one time, but the guy never ended up coming back. I think he was in a band and they started to tour. After that I tried desperately to be in a band. It’s all I ever wanted. But I couldn’t sing, and I sucked at guitar, so after a couple of busted tryouts, I had no one to play with. One time I lied to these guys I went to high school with and said that I could play drums. They kicked me out after the first practice – I was off beat the whole time. It was embarrassing. That was when I realized that I didn’t really need to have anybody else with me to form a band. I asked for an acoustic guitar for my birthday, and ever since then it’s been me and her.
HC: Howon has such incredible beat boxing skills. Has he taken them to an acapella group? Does he play any instruments or sing as well?
Chris: Howon has been beat-boxing for four years now. He has been in UNCW’s High Seas as the featured percussionist. He’s an amazing singer and can kick a** on the keys. I’m sure he has some other hidden talent somewhere, too. The kid is insane.
HC: When was your first performance as a band?
Chris: Besides rehearsals or live rehearsals in front of Wag, our first ever performance was at Schwoodstock 2014!
HC: You were asked to play at the recent Azalea Festival downtown. What was that like?
Chris: The Azalea Festival was hot and an awesome experience. We played for an hour on Saturday and three hours on Sunday, a street performance right off the boardwalk on the river. The people were dancing, singing along and really helped to bring good vibes to me, Howon and Dos. It was unbelievable. We made some money, too.
HC: What other venues have you performed in?
Chris: We like to play on the street. That’s our natural habitat. We’ve invaded downtown, the boardwalk and Front Street. We’ve also performed at ACES Bar and Lounge off of Market Street.
HC: Now that you’re graduating, Chris, do you guys plan to stay together, or do you foresee any reunion shows in the future?
Chris: As of right now I’m not sure the direction of the band will go, but I love these guys and any opportunity I have to be in town, play a show, grab a beer or jam I will take it. I wish we knew the future, but like I said – even though I’m getting there – I’m not psychic, yet.
All photos courtesy of Savannah Costner.