SoCal reggae-rock dynamo Fortunate Youth will release their fifth full-length LP, Good Times (Roll On), on October 1 via Controlled Substance Sound Labs.
Talking about the album, Corey Draskovich (bass, guitar, keys) comments “Embracing the new, and reflecting on the old. Every album we make is a new process, we learn from each experience and try to incorporate those lessons into our new music. If there’s one thing that we hope people take away from the album is, enjoy the moment and memories last a lifetime.”
While Jared Draskovich (keys/bass) shares, “We are all living through this global event, and to me we chose the title to help ensure that Good Times are indeed going to roll on regardless of all the hardships that our recent environment has provided for everyone.”
Good Times (Roll On) reflects the band’s early sound meshed with fresh, contemporary vibes, blending elements of blues, ska, rock, world, soul, and punk into dazzling sonic potions.
Because of the pandemic, the band had more time to weigh their evolving sound, leading to adding parts for brass and enlisting the talents of John, Art, Bryan, and Geoff, along with guests such as Nathan Feinstein, Gonzo, Mellow Mood, Skillinjah, and Dread Kennedy.
Talking about “Riddim Rydah,” Corey explains, “Dread Kennedy and Skillinjah were hanging out and we randomly just did a live dub plate/ toasting version of the song and these guys absolutely killed it.”
Formed in 2009, Fortunate Youth is devoted to spreading peace, love, and unity through their music, which has topped Billboard’s Reggae Album chart five times, along with topping Heatseekers and iTunes’ Reggae charts a total of ten times, all while amassing millions of streams.
Fortunate Youth has shared the stage with Slightly Stoopid, Stick Figure, and SOJA, as well as touring across the U.S. twenty-seven times.
Tattoo caught up with bassist/keyboardist Jered Draskovich to discover more about the forthcoming album, how the band got together, and Fortunate Youth’s songwriting process.
You have a new album, Good Times (Roll On), dropping October 1. What can you share about the album?
We had a great time making this record! We recorded it at Total Access Recording Studios in Redondo Beach CA (credits include Sublime’s “Self Titled” record) & 17th Street Recording Studio in Costa Mesa with our longtime engineer and producer Lewis Richards. We tried to take it back to our roots and keep it simple best we could with this album. There are 12 tracks, a few features we were excited to collab with (Mellow Mood, Iya Terra, Skillinjah, Dread Kennedy) and we’re stoked for you all to hear it!
All of us grew up together and then we met Dan randomly at a local open mic night in Hermosa Beach CA. There were 2 bands, “Rude Boy Roots” and “Irie State of Mind,” and essentially, we came together to form Fortunate Youth.
Who is in Fortunate Youth and which instruments do they play?
Dan Kelly (Lead Vocals); Travis Walpole (Percussion/Guitar/Bass/Vox); Greg Gelb (Guitar/Bass/Vox); Corey Draskovich (Bass/Keyboards); Jered Draskovich (Keyboards/Bass); and Revelation Kalauli (Drums/Vox).
What got you into music?
We grew up in a punk rock town so Pennywise, The Descendents, Black Flag, and The Circle Jerks were the local heroes we grew up listening to that made us want to play in a band with our friends. Other than that, our parents’ vinyl collection had some classic ‘60s and ‘70s gold that influenced us I’m sure.
Which musicians/singers influenced you the most?
Pennywise, Sublime, Operation Ivy, 10ft Ganja Plant, Slightly Stoopid, Fat Freddy’s Drop, People Under The Stairs, and Living Legends.
Did your sound evolve naturally, or did you push it in a deliberate direction?
I would say it evolved naturally. We never got together and said, “We’re gonna play Reggae music!” It’s just kind of what comes out naturally when the six of us get together and jam. We started off in 2009 as young kids, our 1st show as a band was opening for the Abyssinians and both Corey and Greg couldn’t stay after our set because they weren’t 21, haha. We’ve always kind of just gone with the flow of our lives and the experiences that come with those ebbs and flows. We get together and jam and whatever comes out comes out. That’s how we’ve always done it!
Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?
Mannn … there are so many people killing it always! Our message would be, don’t stop seeking out new music to listen to! Go and find some new stuff and some old stuff and enjoy!
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?
This album was mostly writing from our personal experiences and the times we are living in. We usually all collaborate on lyrics, and everyone gives their perspective and/or shares their personal experience within a theme/concept of a song. That’s where most of the writing inspiration for FY’s music comes from.
What can you share about your writing process?
For this record, we tried to capture the spirit of each Riddim by having Dan freestyle and flow over each of them at our home studio. Then listening back, we built around whatever concept/theme, melody that we felt was the best. Once we had that, we got together for some joint writing sessions and the rest is history!
The band is hitting the road. Yay! Describe what it feels like to get back to touring and performing for live audiences.
Man being able to play live shows in front of anybody let alone hundreds and thousands of people is always a dream come true! We’re stoked to jam with all our friends and family, and we look forward to seeing all of you fortunate fools on the road. Can’t wait to play some of these new songs live and direct! Let the Good Times Roll On!