On the eve of their latest album release “All The Colors” Matt Roads, lead singer and frontman of Tropidelic, sat down with us at The Pier to talk about their current tour and life on the road.
The six-piece band from Cleveland, Ohio may be far from any tropical islands, but that doesn’t stop them from dishing out an interesting mix of reggae, hip-hop, and high energy funk. They have gained fan and critical acclaim through regularly touring with top billing acts like 311, Slightly Stoopid, The Dirty Heads, Pepper, The Flobots and Wookiefoot.
Photo by Tropidelic
And performed at fan-favorite festivals including Warped Tour, Reggae Rise Up, 311 Caribbean Cruise, Electric Forest, California Roots Music & Art Festival, as well as host of their own annual Freakstomp Music Festival. Ever the road warriors, they have just announced their appearance at Ever-Wild Music Festival this coming August 12 & 13 plus a new tour run kicking off this September with 311!
Life is beautiful, life is tragic, life is magic. I don’t like to go into detailed explanations of songs but the good and the bad bleed into all of them, some more directly than others. – Matt Roads
What an incredible run these guys are on!
Stef: Hey Matt! Thanks so much for getting with The Pier Magazine to share your story! So tell us, how and when was this creation born?
Matt: The band formed over 10 years ago now amongst friends at Kent State. There’s been several lineups since but the current lineup is the one that has toured the country for the last 7 years or so and it’s the one that most people have come to know.
Stef: Your band is comprised of a trumpet player, a trombone, a guitarist, bass, vocals for days, what an amazing collaboration! Do any of you like to switch around and play something else?
Matt: There are a few of us that play multiple instruments and we have done instrument switches onstage over the years.
Stef: I must ask, I love to hear the behind-the-scenes shenanigans! Any crazy fans jump in your vehicle and ask you to take them with you?
Matt: We’ve had some of that happen. You learn over time how to handle things and best practices. Our rig in particular is our home and we try to maintain as much privacy as possible as it relates to our bus. It can be difficult at times.
Photo by Tropidelic
Stef: Right now, you guys are touring the country, where is your favorite spot?
Matt: We’ve been blessed to perform at some amazing venues on this tour. The venue tonight might be a new favorite, The Ford Amp in Los Angeles.
Stef: I’m curious about the band’s road life and daily grind how do you manage your meals—is it family style or grilling, any vegans?
Matt: We have guys that are fairly strict carnivores and will bust out an air fryer or grill. I don’t eat much meat, everyone else is somewhere in between. Trying to eat well on the road can be tough.
Stef: What is your day-to-day starting when you wake up? Is there a yoga or meditation sesh? Or do you guys mix it up with just getting in the vehicle, flip a coin, and say “ok you drive?”
Matt: Our typical day on the road involves waking up at a truck stop, hit the gym, load in, show, load out, repeat. Unless we have off days we seldom break this routine. It keeps us tuned in, routine is important out here.
Photo by Tropidelic
Stef: How do you guys deal with touring non-stop life/social stuff? Do any of you ever get homesick? How has this changed your life?
Matt: It’s no small task to manage this career with a family and social life. We definitely get homesick. As far as this life, our bass player, Pags, said it best “When you think about the alternative, there are no other options”.
Stef: When I watch your videos, and your Sugarshack sessions, you all look like you are having the time of your life! Tell us about that feeling you get when you play, do you love small shows, or do big ass crowds make you go wild?
Matt: Playing music has been making me feel better since I was a teenager. When you’re on the road and things get hard, sometimes you have to remind yourself. We are very blessed to be doing this for a living. As far as crowds, there’s been times where we’ve walked away from small club shows feeling more energized than shows with much bigger crowds, it’s about the energy the audience brings.
Stef: Matt, your band is a mix of different loves of music. Tell us about your music inspirations, and your favorite bands growing up and present that give you that push and drive.
Matt: Like so many others I grew up on what my parents listened to, The Beatles, Tom Petty, Motown. I found my own tastes as I grew and my love for acts like 311 and Sublime is what set me on this path musically. Nowadays I mostly listen to Hip-Hop and Bluegrass but also stuff like Khruangbin. I like anything new and different.
Stef: Was there a time in your lives when a song was written because of tragedy, or heartache? Is there a song you would like to tell us about that reflects one of your life experiences?
Matt: Life is beautiful, life is tragic, life is magic. I don’t like to go into detailed explanations of songs but the good and the bad bleed into all of them, some more directly than others.
Stef: Who are your favorite artists that maybe gave you a chance, or became great friends /family forever? I bet that bond is so valuable to have in this crazy music life.
Matt: It really has been amazing to tour with some of the bands I’ve loved for many years. We are touring with 311 in September, we have Dirty Heads on our festival, Everwild, and in August we just got off tour with Iration. We definitely appreciate the opportunities.
Stef: Do you guys ever get to have a day off? If so, what do you guys like to do? Hit the nature trails, beach, or go to museums?
Matt: We usually will post up at an RV Park. Last week the guys bought floats and floated a few miles down the Sacramento River.
Photo by Tropidelic
Stef: Are you guys planning on touring Europe? Any places you have your eyes set on for the future abroad?
Matt: No plans for overseas touring at the moment but we are open to go wherever people want to see us perform. We’ve been lucky enough to do a few destination type events that have taken us to different countries.
Stef: Matt, thank you so much for getting with us today on behalf of your band. Do you have a message you want to tell the world? Anything to inspire others out there with a dream to do something they love?
Matt: Money comes, money goes but the time just goes. Do what you love.
Catching up with them on tour and catching their set drew me in, and now I am hooked! They brought forth an energetic performance that added to their meaningful lyricism. They also have such a wonderful sense of humor. And they stand up for what is right in this world but at the same time bring the biggest smile to your face.
Talking to Matt was really good. I could hear the wisdom in his voice, tired but also beyond words driven at the same time. When I asked him what he would be doing if he wasn’t making music, he said he would be working hard doing something for sure.. but it was clear that music is his life!
By Stephanie Sanchez