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Tropidelic - Interviewed

By Mitch West

Tropidelic Brings Their High-Energy Blend of Reggae, Hip-Hop, and Rock to the Heartland

In a music scene saturated with homogenized pop and formulaic rock, the Ohio-based band Tropidelic stands out with their dynamic and genre-blending sound. Made up of Matthew Roads, James Begin, and a rotating cast of talented musicians, Tropidelic has carved out a unique niche, blending reggae, hip-hop, funk, and rock into an infectious and energetic live performance.

We had the chance to sit down with Matthew Roads and James Begin for the 2nd time beofre their sold-out show at Omahas legendary Waiting Room Lounge with The Palmer Squares and UBI aka Ubiquitous on their Ill Niño Tour for an in-depth interview, discussing their latest single release, their popular annual festival, and their thoughts on the growing influence of AI in the music industry.

"Same Hat" with Rittz cover artwork Photo Credit: Tropidelic

The conversation began with Roads and Begin breaking down the story behind their recent collaborative single "Same Hat" featuring Rittz. "It was pretty much on the spot," recalled Begin. "The way he put it down initially is the way it ended up, and then we all threw our verses on there." The band had been fans of Rittz a while, and their producer had even played guitar on one of his previous albums, so the collaboration came together organically.

What was the inspiration behind the song? Roads explained that it's about the frustration of coming home after a long day at work to a nagging significant other. "These two songs are the first two singles of what ultimately is going to be a full-length release later this year," he added, teasing Tropidelic's upcoming project.

Upcoming festival posters Photo Credit: Tropidelic

One of the coolest things a band can do is throw their own music festival, something which Tropidelic has been doing annually in Thornville, OH with Everwild. "The coolest part for me is just, you know, we have a lot to do with picking the lineup and the bands we want there," said Begin. "It's like everybody that I go home to and I talk about, 'oh, we met this band, we met this band and we love them." The festival allows Tropidelic to bring their diverse musical community to their local fans, something that Roads says is "super unique" and feels like the culmination of the band's hard work over the years. "Even if you kind of make it to a level, I'm not saying we're super high, most people don't have a festival to pass. Thousands of people show up that they're hosting, you know, I guess it's just super unique."

As one can imagine, hosting your own even allows you to be involved in every aspect which gives the guys a deeper appreciation for the logistical challenges of putting on a successful event. "It's opened our eyes," said Begin. "We'll play a bunch of festivals over the summer. We'll be there looking around like, 'oh, we should do that. Or we could do that or add this.' And like, you know, each year we get the ability to do that and add new things." One particular element the band has embraced is ensuring the artists they book have a positive experience backstage. "It's very important for us that the artists feel welcome and have a great time," said Roads. "As well as the you know, the festival goers."

AI tools are all the rage right now in so many industries. Its clear for better or worse they're here to stay. In the creative arts, AI is typically taken as a threat or a tool to create with. With its growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in the music industry, a topic that has sparked much debate among artists and fans alike. Both Roads and Begin admitted to being a bit apprehensive about the rise of AI-generated music and art. "It terrifies me," said Roads. "Not from a music stand point. I saw someone else talk about this and they said that like, you know, it just will continue to push artists to be more unique and creative. And I agree with that. But all that aside, as a society I'm I'm a little worried. It just it's unknown and I guess it is fear. The unknown in general."

Begin echoed these sentiments, noting that while he doesn't think listeners will ultimately care whether a song is AI-generated or not, the existential implications of the technology are concerning. "I don't think the listener cares whether it's AI or not. Yeah, I think it's kind of improving and I don't think they're going to care, but the aspect of its integration in music, I mean you could argue, with all the plugins and so forth there's like so much just artificial shit that everyone's been using for a very long time. So it's unknown."

For the next generation of rockers or artists currently grinding, they gave some keen advice for aspiring musicians and creatives looking to break into the music industry. "Consistency is key," said Begin. "Start now, yesterdays too late. Keep it moving." Roads echoed this sentiment, cautioning against having delusional expectations" of overnight success. "Get ready for a long run I guess like any other business., whatever it is five years, 10 years kind of playing and like, that's usually what it takes to get business to turn over."

Ultimately, the conversation painted a picture of Tropidelic as a band firmly rooted in their Midwestern sensibilities, driven by a passion for bringing people together through their unique brand of high-energy, genre-bending music. As they continue to grow their fanbase and expand the reach of their annual festival, it's clear that this Ohio-based outfit is poised to leave a lasting mark on the music world.


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