Interview: Fortunate Youth

Interview: Fortunate Youth

Fortunate Youth is a collaboration of South Bay reggae stand-outs. Coming from various bands, they’ve created a phenomenal 7 piece bringing more fire to the stage than ever before. Combining rootsy vibes and heavy bass lines united with multiple harmonies and boisterous solos, separates Fortunate Youth from every other mainstream reggae band. With their high energy approach and positive stage presence they provide an unforgettable show to every music fan. Also providing instrumentals on extreme sports video games, Surf films, tv and radio commercials to recording full length albums.

The Pier caught up with Fortunate Youth in Denver, Colorado at Cervantes Other Side and discussed the bands inception, where might Rasta Nana be and came to find out that Irie State of Mind is more than just the name of the band’s latest album. The group also explains their plans for a new single titled “One Love’ that they feel confident in receiving radio attention with. Lets read on…Enjoy!

The Pier: Prior to Fortunate Youth becoming a band you guys used to be called “Rudeboy Roots”. How did this transformation develop?
FY: (Travis) Dan and I used to do open mic nights in Hermosa Beach and one night I played and Dan played after me. At that time we had no idea who each other was either. My two other band members which were part of Rudeboy Roots were there supporting me and seen him play and watched him kill it! Not even kill it, but completely wrecked it for like thirty minutes. People usually only get like fifteen minutes to play and the guy running the show let him continue to play because people kept dancing and loved him. He just stayed up there playing his guitar, dancing and singing his heart out. Anyways, needless to say he completely blew me away and after he was done, the guys and I decided to go and talk to him and the next thing you know we got together and both sides brought songs to the table and all of us became Rudeboy Roots. We played under that name for like a year and a half and opened up for a lot of really good bands in the South Bay area. Our keyboard player Jered joined the band when he got out of school and all of the sudden the brothers that played drums and bass decided that they were not having fun anymore and left the band. Us three were having the time of our life and did not want to stop and moved on without the brothers and changed our name to Fortunate Youth. Little Corey, Jered’s brother was in a band called “Irie State of Mind” and we all joined forces at our managers birthday party in my back yard. I had congas and pulled them out and we all just started jamming! (Dan) It was funny because everybody that was there just thought Rudeboy Roots were jamming out and in all actuality it was the first Fortunate Youth show (laughs).

The Pier: That’s crazy how a random night out playing music brought you guys together like that. Dan, you definitely have a unique voice that cannot be imitated. At what point did you decide to use your talent to play reggae music?
FY: (Dan) You know, passion died a long time ago with blues and to me reggae and blues are hand in hand. They both have sorrow, survival, strengths and they both have passion. It’s good to see that we can turn blues and reggae back in and together they can be a powerful force when you just let it go. To me that is where I get my influences and it’s what I think about when I’m on stage and it’s the feelings that I have. If you could just pour it in a cup and pour it all over everybody, that’s where I get my inspiration.

The Pier: You guys are currently an un-signed band that seems to be doing well in terms of constant touring and gaining an impressive level of respect within your fan base. Are there any plans to join an independent or major market record label in the near future or do you guys plan on doing it all on your own like many bands are today?
FY: (Dan) Our goal is to really get booking and promotions worldwide much more than a label. We don’t really need the financial backing that a label would provide. The only thing that a label would do for us is good advertising. We need to play with big bands and just go crazy with them. All we are looking for is that and not so much a label.

The Pier: When I seen you guys play out recently I noticed that Mr. Rasta Banana was missing. What happened to him?
FY: (Dan) The Rasta Banana got some one night out on tour and he never came back! (Travis) One night after a show we were all gathered back at the hotel and RB, that’s what his friends call him, called us and told us to come pick him up at a different hotel. That dude gets more ass than any of us! To tell the truth we left him in Virginia and he is well taken care of.

The Pier: Sounds like Nana is a slut! (Laughs) Seriously though big ups to Rasta Nana! You guys are wrapping up your summer tour pretty soon. Do you guys plan on riding the waves of your latest studio release “Irie State of Mind” and taking some time off or do you guys plan on returning back to the studio in the fall/winter?
FY: (Dan) Our plan is to get back home, release our single “One Love”. I think that song will get us some nice radio play because it is short, simple and has a powerful message.

The Pier: I heard you guys play that single on this tour and really enjoyed it. I’m excited to hear it when it is produced. I have been listening to your new album “Irie State of Mind” a lot and you guys close out the album with a song titled “Bastard” which threw me for a loop because the song sounds different from the rest of the albums reggae feel and feels more like an early 90’s style hip-hop song in which Dan raps and there is a very beautiful females voice singing the chorus. Who is that pleasuring my ears?
FY: (Dan) Your right it does feel like a 90’s jam (laughs). That is Matty from Seedless sister, Suzie Liufau and she is amazing! The funny part about that is that we wanted her to sing the part “There goes another bastard”. The Liufau family is quite big and I believe she was the 16th sibling and her father was not liking the idea of her saying the word “bastard” because I guess when she was younger she got in trouble for calling one of her brothers that word. So, out of respect she did not want to say the word bastard so I sang the chorus part that had the word “bastard”. (Travis) It worked out for the best because if she had sung that part we would not have captured what she threw in. The breathing in the singing and the part after Dan says the word makes that song sound as good as it does. We could not be happier with the way that song turned out.

The Pier: Learning these cool little tid-bits is why I love doing this job. On that note, we could not be happier with the way that Fortunate Youth turned out. Thanks for taking the time to answer these interview questions for The Pier and enjoy the rest of your tour guys
FY: Thank you guys! Much love.

  • Read The Pier’s official album review & star rating of Irie State of Mind by clicking HERE
  • Fortunate Youth Links:
    Fortunate Youth Website
    Fortunate Youth Facebook

    Interview by: Chad Hillje
    Photos by: David Norris and Kit Chalberg

    Here is a video courtesy of our good friends over at MoBoogie Videos filming Fortunate Youth performing a freestyle on the MoBoogie rooftop!