Interview with Fortunate Youth

Interview by Kate Richards, USD contributor

Fortunate youth

Southern California is associated with an abundance of stereotypical images: palm trees, acai bowls, surfers overusing the word “dude,” etc. The idea of the SoCal vibe is not merely a stereotype perpetuated by the media, but rather a lifestyle that many here abide by. Reggae music is a genre that is able to capture the essence of what Southern California is all about, and the South Bay LA native band Fortunate Youth is a prime example of this. The band was formed in 2009, and they released their first full length album in 2012 – Irie State of Mind, which features songs such as “Love is the Most High” and “Sweet Love.” The band toured with Tribal Seeds in 2012 and will be touring with Slightly Stoopid this summer (both of which are popular reggae bands who had their origins in San Diego). I got the opportunity to hang out backstage with the band at their most recent concert in San Diego while they toured with fellow reggae artists Stick Figure and Raging Fyah.

Q: How do you feel about playing music in San Diego and other SoCal cities?
Travi Bongo (percussionist): San Diego and LA have a very similar vibe, and that’s what music is all about – the vibes. Music is the creation and expression of something unique, and it’s important to be with people and culture that let you create those good vibes.

Q: How did you guys start creating and expressing music together?
Travi: We were originally two small similar bands in LA, and one time we played together for manager and we just clicked. Music lets you hang out with similar people and create something together and it really brings you together.

Q: What is your favorite album you’ve created together?
Jordan (drummer): Definitely “It’s All a Jam,” which was released in 2013.

Q: Who is your favorite band you guys have gotten to tour with?
Travi: We would definitely offer a big shoutout to our San Diego boys, Tribal Seeds.

Q: Each show is a new chance for the band to express their musical creativity together. What are your favorite songs to play in the show?
Jordan: Our favorite songs to play are probably One Love, Sweet Love, and Pass the Herb because those create good energy in the crowd.
Travi: It’s especially cool because during One Love and Sweet Love, we get a lot of couples proposing to each other. In fact it just happened recently while playing in St. Petersburg, Florida (which is probably my favorite venue we’ve performed at. It really surprised me how often we see proposals at our concerts, but I am definitely not complaining – it just adds to the good energy.

Q: What do you guys like to do besides creating music?
Jordan: We definitely loved hitting the beach and surfing and hiking. In fact we really hope we get to go to Costa Rica soon so we can experience that awesome culture. We all like just being outside and hanging out together experiencing good vibes.
Good vibes – those are the only words I can use to truly describe Fortunate Youth. The community and the bond between the six members is something one has to experience in person, and I am so glad I got that opportunity. Jordan said “we hope to release new music in 2017,” and I can’t wait to listen. Until then, remember – good vibes only.