The boy band's latest project drops Oct. 11
Credit: Ben Trivett

The guys from CNCO were accustomed to being asked, “Que quienes somos?” (translation: Who are we?) since the start of their careers.

So who exactly are Christopher Vélez, Zabdiel de Jesús, Erick Brian Colón, Richard Camacho, and Joel Pimentel? Yes, they’re the winners of the first season of the Ricky Martin and Simon Cowell-produced series La Banda. And yes, they’re all still relatively young in years (Vélez, at 23, is the oldest) and musical experience. But they’re finally in a place where they can confidently answer that question with “CNCO” and know that it stands for a brotherhood that’s blossomed both inside and outside the studio.

Therefore, it was appropriate for the quintet to have that call and response embody their new EP Que Quines Somos (the guys are opting to use QQS for short), set for release this fall. The title really is a perfect fit, if you think about how far they’ve all come together on this journey: first as strangers and now as brothers in arms, truly discovering for themselves who CNCO is and what they’re capable of doing together.

Nearly four years after winning La Banda, they’re still the same ambitious group fans all over the world (called #CNCOwners) know and love. The band admits they’ve experienced an immense amount of growth during their years together, and QQS is a representation of that growth, with all five members having contributed to the project as both composers and writers.

“We’ve been working on this for months, this is our little baby,” Vélez tells EW exclusively. “We wrote around 85 percent of it and we’re really happy about that. We can’t wait for our fans to hear it.”

It’s no coincidence that the EP only features one collaboration. Reggaeton singer Manuel Turizo and CNCO had long discussed working on a track together, but the right one was elusive. When Zabdiel was asked to describe the song, which is set to be released as their next single on September 27, and why they all agreed this was the one he exclaimed, “Es que la cancion esta brutal,” which is Puerto Rican slang for, “that track is next level. It’s incredible!”

“We’re so confident about the power of this song, that after we leave Los Angeles we’re going to Medellin to record the video,” he says. “It’s really such an amazing song and I know everyone is going to love it.”

“Ya Tu Sabes” is a special selection for Colón, who was born in Havana, Cuba. It samples one of the most legendary singers to come from the island, Celia Cruz, and her track “Rie y Llora.” Since he was only two years old when Cruz died, this is the closest Colón could ever get to working with the “Queen of Salsa.”

“This song was already one of my favorites when Zabdi, Richard, and I were writing it together, but it changed so many times before we got to where we are in the EP,” he explains. “By the time they added the sample of Celia’s song to it, it elevated it even more. It gave it this special touch that makes it extra special to me. It’s different than any of our other songs, which is why it really stands out for all of us.”

Credit: Ben Trivett

Also assisting on the EP is Richard’s brother Yashua Camacho, who has been called the group’s unofficial sixth member. However, he has yet to sing with the boys on a track. Richard promises that he and his equally famous sibling “have a few things coming through the pipeline in the future,” but for now the pair serve as composers of the song “De Mi.”

“I wrote ‘De Mi’ while I was in Canada, then I brought it back and worked on it with the guys and my brother,” Camacho says. “He came with us to record the song in the studio, so it was a super cool vibe. This is a just a little preview of what we can create together, so stay tuned.”

QQS also features monster behind-the-scenes collaborations with composers like Beatriz Luengo and Yotuel Romero (on the acapella track “Toxica”), Tommy Brown (on “Ya Tu Sabes”), and Colombian star FEID (on “De Cero”). But it’s the support from urban Latino superstar Wisin that Zabdiel wanted to highlight. The La Banda judge served as composer of “Que Va a Ser De Mi,” alongside Christian Linares and all five members of CNCO.

“Wisin brought this track to the table, he’s always been a very special producer to us,” Zabdiel says. “He’s one of the first to line up to work with us and he’s always been so supportive. On our first album, he produced nearly all of our songs. So, with this new song, it’s like we’re returning to our roots. It’s definitely one of our favorites.”

The EP is jammed with songs and lyrics that fans will inevitably swoon over, along with plenty of nods to what may come next for the band. As Zabdiel says, “We’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go. We hope that fans enjoy hearing our evolution on this EP, and it’s just a small taste of what we’re working to bring them in the future.”

QQS will be available for pre-order on Aug. 23, ahead of its official release on Oct. 11. You can check out the tracklist and cover art below.

Track List for “Que Quienes Somos”

  1. De Cero
  2. A Mi Lado with Manuel Turizo
  3. Que Va a Ser De Mi
  4. La Ley
  5. Ya Tu Sabes
  6. De Mi
  7. Toxica
Sony Music Latin
Credit: Sony Music Latin