Originally from the seaside town of Hermosa Beach, California, Happy youth is a reggae-rock sextet known for its fluid grooves. Comprised of artists Dan Kelly, Jered Draskovich, Corey Draskovich, Travis Walpole, Greg Gelb and Revelation Kalauli, Fortunate Youth quickly became a favorite touring troupe. Recently, however, the pandemic has put a slower pace on the band and the band has taken their time planning their next album.

Released on October 1st Good times (roll on) falls like a polished twelve-track dive into sentimentality and enhanced perspective. Fortunately, American Songwriter was able to catch up with two members of the reggae team, Greg Gelb (bass, guitar) and Corey Draskovich (bass, guitar, keyboards) about their new project. Read below for a behind-the-scenes look at Fortunate Youth’s upcoming album. Good times (roll on) and its title song.

Photo by Mike Davids

American songwriter: Can you tell us a bit about what it’s like to release an album in our current moment?

Corey Draskovich: It’s always a mixture of emotions that comes out on an album. A reminder of late hours and long days spent finishing a particular song. The resolution to finally hear years of work culminating in a finished product. The joy these songs bring us and the reminder of why we chose to create the music. Each album is a mix of new experiences and overall a constant learning lesson in music and life, and in the current moment we are happy with what we have accomplished and hope people enjoy all the news. music.

Greg Gelb: It feels good to release the music we’ve been working on for a while and always aim for it to have a positive impact. It seems more than ever that Peace Love & Unity is extremely important to us in these times, and I think this album definitely speaks to our time.

AS: Where do you think Good times (roll on) fits into your evolution as a group?

CD: Good times (roll on) in my mind it’s a perfect mix of looking back from Fortunate Youth, mixed with our evolution in music production and our approach to writing and creating music. Every album that we create, we learn from experience, and for me, this album is an accumulation of those lessons learned. I think it fits perfectly with where we are as a group and our perspective on the future that lies ahead.

GG: After a decade of music, this album covers the band’s original roots, vibe and message, as well as a progression in production, performance and songwriting. This album covers a lot of ground while maintaining a cohesive feel.

LIKE: What are some of your favorite writing or producing moments from creation? Good times (roll on)?

CD: When you are making music, especially a song, there are a lot of feel-good moments along the way. Some stand out more than others, but ultimately those moments are the driving force behind the song’s continuation to the end. The one for me was in “Good Times (Roll On)”, when we confirmed the lyrics of the second verse. You can tell who’s cooking the food when you walk through the front door, tell stories about the past, and smoke some more. The imagery created by these words connects with me so much that it gives me goosebumps when I hear it. When it comes to production moments, the Synth Riser used in The Situation is one of those ear candy bits that really add texture to a song, and the use of the Juno60 analog synth to make it even more fun. .

GG: It’s always fun to experiment and we spent a lot of hours in the studio for this album. The best moments are always organic, and often fueled by a “That last shot was epic, but I think the next one is this.” Perform! ”One cool moment I remember was Dan shooting a take of“ Good Times (Roll On), ”one of those times when everything freezes and the current came out of nowhere! all looked up, laughed and said “Vibes!”

AS: What’s the story behind “Good Times (Roll On)”, the single? How did you decide to make it the title song?

CD: The music has come a long way, from the initial guitar riff written while touring in Hawaii, to the first draft of the song as a whole on a few Scott Style drum beats, and then finally with the final version that came off. found on the disc. We felt the message and the song conveyed our perspective on life back then. Sometimes we get caught up in the daily stresses of life, it’s good to remember the memories and good times you shared with your friends and family, and to know the future is here to make it what it is. you want and create new memories. As the touring industry has stalled, being at home has reminded us of those great times we shared with all the people we love.

GG: This song definitely sums up the overall feel of the album and is a throwback to where we came from. Ironically, the core of it was written before the pandemic in an effort to inspire a return to the “good times.” Lots of nostalgia in this track and I think it has a number of elements that we can all relate to. Some of life’s best times are extremely simple, and this track takes us back to the simplicity of friends and family enjoying a backyard barbecue.

LIKE: What were your inspirations for the eleven other tracks on the album?

CD: Musically so many inspirations, I think we all do a good job of taking our musical influences and transmitting them through the music we make. The City, for example, has a vibe reminiscent of The Doors with the Vox Continental Organ in the intro and the mellow electric piano used in the bridge, all twisted into a reggae-influenced tune with a heavy bassline. Dan’s lyrics about the conflicting perspectives of city life, from the everyday worker to those living on the streets, reflect on his soul and blues influence.

GG: We linked a lot of influences to this album. From roots reggae to classic feel-good tunes, Van Morrison and Doors notes mixed with flavors reminiscent of Gregory Isaacs, with a modern twist, I think we made a nice little musical jambalaya.

LIKE: Can you tell us what it was like to collaborate with your featured artists on this rerope?

CD: Collaborating with star artists is always fun and can be the highlight of creating a song. We were lucky to have some great features on this album. Mellow Mood absolutely crushed their verses, I remember Travis turning us to them before a performance at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and then seeing them live, I was stunned. We are fortunate to have talented friends who blessed us on this album. We did a tour with Dread Kennedy and Skillinjah, and one day we were in the green room with my mobile recording set up and Travis threw up a heavy bassline. The boys toasted on the track and I kept this recording. When we were looking at potential songs for the album, this one stood out for all of us, so we reached out to both of them and asked if they were ready to do the track. Then we had our good friend Crucial Nate from Iya Terra for Groovin, and he brought the vibes to this track. I am just delighted to work with such great singers and musicians.

GG: Everyone we bonded with on the album, from Mellow Mood in Italy to Skillinjah and DreadKennedy, and our brother Gonzo all played a pivotal role in the quality of the tracks and the album. All class acts and great experiences of working with them. Each of these singers knew exactly how to bring the fire to follow and raise them to the next level.

LIKE: What’s one thing you want your listeners to remember about your music?

CD: We make the music we love, and we just hope everyone enjoys it as much as we do.

GG: It’s amazing what music can do and the feelings, memories and experiences it can evoke. If we leave the least “life” to the listener, and a certain feeling of all kinds, it’s a success and we’ve done our job.

LIKE: What’s next for Fortunate Youth?

CD: Hopefully get back to touring, keep making new music, and keep chasing our dream as musicians.

GG: Excited to be back in concert, with some awesome festivals and a fall tour coming up. Nice to see people able to come together and reconnect, nothing better than watching the crowds and seeing smiles for days on end. I can’t wait to hear what people think about the new album in its entirety and already on the debut of the new music.



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