Siblings and Austin Natives, The Bishops are Here to Stay
The Bishops played at Austin City Limits in 2017, a year after going as fans. They’re only getting started.
Growing up as the only girl in the Bishop family made Cara tough.
She’s just rolled the blunt being passed in the parking lot outside Music Lab, a rehearsal space in South Austin. Her brother Troy grabs it. “I’m not going to mention any names, but one time Cara may or may not have beat one of my older brothers in a fight,” he says. “It was a quick one too.”
“I stick up for myself a lot,” Cara giggles.
“She earned her stripes,” their brother Chris adds, sitting to Troy’s right. Neither he or his older brother Josh confirm or deny the claim, but Josh isn’t there to do so. That’s because he isn’t in The Bishops, the experimental hip-hop group his siblings started nearly three years ago.
Since then, they’ve become one of Austin’s most prominent and promising young bands. They’ve played more than 75 live shows in the city, including an appearance at Austin City Limits Music Festival this year.
That show was something the siblings had dreamt about since they were kids. Chris, 24, and Troy, 21, were born in Houston but moved to Austin before they were old enough to remember anywhere else as home. Cara is 19 and has lived in Austin her whole life.
Now they’re relaxing after finishing rehearsal for another show in their hometown coming up over the weekend. They were only able to practice four songs because of mixer malfunctions, but they don’t seem even slightly worried.
Troy can’t stop talking about yerba mate tea before doing a fake backflip for his Snapchat Story. He keeps repeating “Yerba Gang.” It seems he’s had a couple today. He and his siblings all have curly hair, but Troy has the longest fro. He’s been growing it out for over a year now.
Chris shows me a video of Troy trying to freestyle on his phone. Troy makes beats for the group but is starting to write verses and rap over songs like his brother Chris. They both can’t stop laughing at the video; Troy’s raw flow is amusing.
Cara sits off to the side and writes verses with a silver Sharpie on trace paper. She’s the group’s lead singer and likes to write her verses on unusual surfaces.
Being together brings out the siblings’ goofy sides. They can’t stop clowning on each other.
Their manager, Saaya Temori, is there too. She describes this energy as normal between them, calling it a product of love and creation.
“There’s some kind of magic in creating with the people you love, especially with your own blood,” she says.
The siblings first discovered it when Chris and Troy were in middle school and their dad brought home a used piano from a garage sale.
Troy didn’t know how to read music but had good enough feel that he could figure out how to play songs just from listening to them. The first he learned was “Crank That,” by Soulja Boy.
“That’s when I knew I was the shit,” he says before harmonizing the song’s classic chord progression. “I was a young Mozart,” he says. They all burst out laughing.
Using the production software FL Studio, or FruityLoops, Troy soon began making full length beats for Chris to rap over. They formed a duo called DailyDos but Chris didn’t think they were any good at first. “We were terrible,” he says. “But then Cara came.”
Cara had always liked singing, but her brothers didn’t realize how good she was until she joined them at the studio one day just before 16th birthday. She went in the booth cold and blew everyone away. “She started singing and everyone’s jaws were like wide open,” Troy recalls. “She shat on us.”
With Cara in the fold, they started making songs as a family and released them on the internet as The Bishops. They developed a style that couldn’t be described by a single genre.
“They’re as if Outkast and MGMT had a baby out in Houston and the god parent is Anderson .Paak,” Aaron Trizna says, a good friend and gigantic fan of the siblings.
Their debut single “Blood Ring,” released in December 2015, encapsulates their unique sound and family bond. Cara’s toughness from growing up with three brothers shine as she sings about not being afraid to fight because her family has her back. Chris raps about his story over a bouncy production from Troy.
“When you listen to “Blood Ring”, you can tell we’re a family,” Chris says as the blunt becomes a roach.
Just two months after coming out, “Blood Ring” climbed to #1 on Spotify’s United States Viral 50 playlist. It did so without The Bishops playing a single show outside of Texas.
The siblings feel they don’t have to move anywhere to continue making it big. This kind of mindset is challenged by many in the music industry, including Lauren Bruno, a talent buyer who’s has booked shows in Austin for eight years.
She sees Austin as a good place for artists to start, but not a place for them to flourish. “I don’t think there’s a big industry here,” she said. “It’s imperative for people to travel to places like LA and New York to shop their art.”
But The Bishops feel they’re walking proof that the internet allows any artist to flip this paradigm on its head. “Hell yeah — we got the internet,” Troy says when asked if they can make it in Austin.
Although the siblings hope to travel the world touring, they plan to be in Austin for the rest of their lives. “This is home no matter what,” Troy says.
They aren’t so worried about material gains from their music because they feel that’ll come naturally if they keep doing what they’re doing.
When asked about his next goal, Troy initially says he wants an autopilot Tesla, but Cara soon helps him change his mind.
“I just want to work together and become better than we are. Definitely stay together as a band,” Cara says. “That’s how you get the Tesla.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Chris responds. “I don’t even want a Tesla, but my car is ass right now.”