A chat with BeachLife band Fortunate Youth

A chat with BeachLife band Fortunate Youth

One of southern California’s favorite reggae rock sextet, Fortunate Youth, has been busy over the last year and a half working on their newest album, Good Times (Roll On), set to be released on October 1st! They also announced an upcoming tour with Katastro, Artikal Sound System and Joe Sambo.

Coming together in Hermosa Beach in 2009, Fortunate Youth has been ever-evolving their sound, all the while spreading positive messages of “peace, love and unity”.

They created and produced this new 12-track album over nine months during the pandemic (instead of the usual 3-4 weeks), with collaborators including Fortunate Youth’s former guitarist Ryan Gonzo (now playing with Tribal Seeds), Italian reggae band Mellow Mood, Nathan Feinstein of Los Angeles’ Iya Terra, Skillinjah and local up-and-coming musician Dread Kennedy. As of today, four songs have been released off the album: “Good Times (Roll On)” and “Around The World, ft. Mellow Mood”, “Sunlight” and the latest “Groovin’, feat. Iya Terra”, allowing listeners a taste of what’s to come! Also, stay tuned for the latest tour updates!

Top Shelf Music was lucky to have the opportunity to interview the band as they cruised through the recent BeachLife Festival in Redondo Beach, California:

Can you tell us about the creative process for the new album?

  • FY: The cool part about making albums is that the creative process changes every time. For this album, we took songs we had all been working on over the past couple of years, put a playlist together and chose which ones we wanted to take through the process of getting it ready for the album. Once we select a song, we then try to get together and play it live to work out some arrangements and see what fits. Then, we will do a pre-production recording and then listen back on that and make notes of any adjustments we may want to make before we head into the studio. Once we are in the studio, we have a pretty solid idea of how we want the song to turn out, but we make adjustments as we go and just kind of feel out what else we could add to a song to make it the best it can be.
  • We had fun adding horns to this album and worked with our current touring trumpet player, John Kromenacker, to work out some horn arrangements; there was a lot of back-and-forth to get everything finalized. This album is the culmination of the things we’ve learned so far making and recording music, and we couldn’t be happier with it.

What influenced your album?

  • It was a lot of old-school roots reggae drum beats. A handful of the first drafts of these songs were recorded over some Style Scott drum beats and gave them that Roots Radics feel from the start. We all have many musical influences… “The City” we all felt was kind of a mix of a Sublime, The Doors and Bill Withers vibe. From soul to reggae to classic rock, our personal taste in music is sprinkled all over the album.

What song are you most proud of on this album?

  • I’m definitely proud of the whole album, but the title track “Good Times (Roll On)” is one I ended up being very happy with. From the original conception of the music to the finalized lyrics, it gives me goosebumps still when I listen to it.

How does it feel to be back on tour after a wild year? What are you looking forward to?

  • Playing live shows is hard to describe — it’s just such a one-of-a-kind experience. It feels so good to get back onstage and play music in front of people. I look forward to playing new songs for everyone from this upcoming album and creating the bonds through music with all those people who attend our shows. It’s something we all have been missing.

What are some of your favorite venues to perform? 

  • Some of my personal favorite venues to perform are Red Rocks and Jannus Live. Outdoor venues always have a feel-good vibe and, although the weather may not always comply, it’s nice to experience music in an outdoor setting.

Any music videos to follow? 

  • We currently have two music videos out for our new singles, “Around The World” and “Good Times (Roll On)”. Both of those were fun to make and I hope we can get around to making a few more for some of the songs off this new album.

Any words for the fans? 

  • Thank you to all of our fans or “Friends and Family” as we like to call them. We appreciate you sticking with us and supporting our endeavors, while we couldn’t be on the road this past year playing shows. We hope to come back strong, touring and seeing you at a show near you. Much Love and Appreciation for helping us pursue our passion of being musicians.

Pre-save ‘Good Times (Roll On)’ album:

PRE-SAVE  Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal | Deezer

Fortunate Youth – “Good Times (Roll On)”

Cover photo by Mike Davids

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

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