Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chicago band Forgotten Tropics releases debut album, will perform at Reggies in Chicago


By ERIC SCHELKOPF

For those tired of the cookie-cutter sound of many bands on the radio today, Chicago band Forgotten Tropics is a band proving to be memorable in its musical approach.

The band's blues-based alternative sound is attracting the attention of many people, including Chance the Rapper engineer Michael Kolar, who produced the band's debut album, "All There is All You Need."

To celebrate the release of the album, Forgotten Tropics will perform Sept. 22 at Reggies, 2105 S. State St., Chicago. Flowtone and The Leafy Greens also are on the bill.

The show starts at 8 p.m., and there is a $5 cover charge.

I had the chance to talk to Forgotten Tropics frontman Zachary Roth about the album.


Q - Great talking to you. Of course, you are releasing your debut album, "All There Is All You Need." In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?
 

Our goals were not clearly established at first. We tried to have each song be unique and figure out how to erase any redundancies.



Eventually we were able to fine tune the songs we liked and they naturally sounded like a blues based alternative pedaled out rock band. Our songs are similar to Radiohead in structure but each song was written on guitar, so it has a strong Hendrix/ Frusciante style foundation.
 

Q - You recorded the album at Soundscape Studios with Michael Kolar, who has worked with Chance The Rapper and other artists. How did you hook up with him and what do you think he brought to the project?
 

I simply reached out to him and he was interested in working with us. Mike brought a much different perspective to the album because he is more involved with rap and hip/ hop - but his ears can hear it all so his advice and input was a big help.

Also his engineering and audio work is top notch.
 

Q - You have only been playing together for a year. How did the band get together in the first place? Is there a meaning behind the band's name?

I went to Michigan State for a bit and had a band that broke up and I ended up in Chicago at DePaul. Luckily the drummer from my high school band, Steve Lobkovich, was going to UIC- so geographically, that wasn’t too much of a problem.


I then met Christian Flanary in a Jazz Studies class at DePaul (taught by the acclaimed trumpeter, Bob Lark). Christian and I share many similar musical influences, and within a month, all three of us were living together and we converted our detached garage to a semi- soundproofed jam space.


It got pretty loud and our song, "Breaching the Peace," is about our neighbor who’s lawyer claimed we were Breaching the Peace. We probably were.

Whatever. Anyway, Forgotten Tropics is a meaningless word duo.
 

Q - What do you think about Chicago's music scene and how do you think the band fits into it?
 

The Chicago music scene is vibrant. Every night there’s shows all across the city at venues, clubs, DIY venues, and bars. Personally my favorite shows are DIY venues because most people who attend are artists themselves and the whole show is hosted by artists who usually display or perform their projects around the venue.

There are a lot of guitar-based bands, but most of those bands’ sounds are based in punk, noise, and Twin Peaks style garage rock lineages, while we’re coming from a more futuristic blues and psychedelic foundation.
 

Q - What are the band's short-term and long-term goals?
 

Our short term goals are just to release this album and make every show better than the last. Our long term goals, within the next 3-6 months, are to expand the band to a six piece from a three piece, add graphics, lights, dancers, and Flaming Lips style stage antics at every show.


Ideally, we’d like to become a large audiovisual project. We’ve begun writing again and this time, the sounds were going for are inspired by Lotus, Papadosio, Steve Reich, Tortoise and many more. It will be more dancey and psychedelic and whatnot.