We have been awesome! Busy working with the upcoming release and in the middle of some tour dates, but we are having a good time in the process.
Can you tell us more about the story behind your single ¨Black Tropics¨?
The phrase “Black Tropics” started when we were putting together the concept art for the band a few years ago. When we started writing the song we knew we had the title ready for it. Afro-centric, fresh, uplifting rock, “Black Tropics” is a bright spot on this EP. Weaving American soul with African rhythm and tones. Musically it draws influences from African artists, specifically Thomas Mapfumo. Lyrically it is a social commentary on the struggle for free space to find one’s own identity.
Why name the new album after this track in particular?
This track really stood out to us when we first wrote it and performed it live. It is a colorful song with rhythms and tones that people don’t hear often. So when people are exposed to it for the first time they tend to wake up and start dancing. “Black Tropics” is also a great way to describe the vibe of the whole album.The album ranges from bright and sunny to dark and muddy, and everything in between. All five of us are generally happy, light hearted, and humorous people, but we are awake to and very aware of the dark sides of society and life.
How was the writing and recording process?
Usually one of us will play something and if everyone vibes on it, we build it from the ground up. It started with a guitar riff, then drums, Congas and the bass found a way to really turn it into a groove. Once we had the main groove, Bryan began writing these incredible unexpected melodies over the verse. The bass initiated the chorus. Once we have 2 parts to a song we start to feel like we are getting somewhere. From there we spent several practices arranging the sections, and eventually found our way to the last half of the song where we change the rhythm and brighten and open the song up. We always approach songs from a collaborative stand point and everybody has equal say in the writing and arranging.
How has each of your ethnical and cultural backgrounds influenced this album and band as a whole?
All of us come from a variety of backgrounds and that may be our greatest strength. But we share one common thing, we experience things as humans. We draw from a wide variety of influences and we accept one another for who we are. We all express ourselves freely and that is a message we want to come through in our music.
What are your upcoming plans to hit the road?
On the road as we are answering these! We are currently driving away from Vegas on or way back to San Diego. We just got done playing NAMM Anaheim and Sundance film fest in Utah. We are headed to some shows back home this weekend. Next up we are headed to Sacramento, Truckee, and Kirkwood, and a few weeks after that we are heading out to SXSW. So it’s a busy schedule already, and we have no plans to stop touring through summer and fall!
Right now our main focus is on releasing Black Tropics and promoting it on the road. We are beginning a YouTube series called “Live at The Shrine” which is our very unique practice studio and musical shrine. We will be filming live performances of our original music as well as bringing in other special guest musicians for collaborations. We just finished filming the first few episodes and it’s already looking awesome.