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“Every single second is a blessing if you count them all,” sings frontman Matthew Roads. You can hear the sincerity in his voice; the joie de vivre that oozes from everything Tropidelic does is apparent. When they take a stage, their synergy flows member to member—horns blow, knees kicked high and grins are passed from one man to the next. Almost immediately it spreads to the crowd, lifting hands in the air as their feet begin to move and the pulse collectively becomes that of one.
The six-piece band from Cleveland, Ohio may be far from any tropical islands but that doesn’t stop them from dishing out an interesting mix of reggae, hip – hop and high energy funk for audiences across the country. Tropidelic has a deep and widespread appreciation for music that can be heard in each note. Some of the members are hip-hop heads, while others are into metal, funk or reggae. But each of these genres lends something to their collective sound. “We pride ourselves in being original in our musicality and personality as a band,” says Roads, “but also in not taking ourselves so seriously that it ruins the fun.”
For their 2017 release, “Heavy is The Head”, Tropidelic carefully vetted what songs made it to the record, and featured songwriting efforts from members James and Darrick. Sound engineer Cary Crichlow, who has worked on the last four releases from the band, returned to get the job done. “Our socio-political views vary as much as our musical tastes and always seep into the music” says Roads. “There’s certainly a lot that needs said, but on this record we tried to be well-rounded and touch on a broad scope of emotions.” The release debuted at #1 on the iTunes reggae charts on November 10, 2017.
These seasoned road dogs can be found spreading their soulful sound across the country in both intimate venues and music festivals, having shared the stage with and supported such acts as 311, Slightly Stoopid, The Dirty Heads, Pepper and The Wailers. Previously, Tropidelic has been featured at Electric Forest, Werk Out Festival, an appearance at Warped Tour, and SXSW. In 2018, the band is focused on headlining tours as well as performing at Reggae Rise Up, Cali Roots and much more. Stay tuned for more from Cleveland’s home-grown, Tropidelic.
In making his fourth album Wash It in the Water, Zach Deputy dreamed up a sunny and soulful new sound that fuses hip-hop, funk, and folky pop with the spirited rhythms of soca and calypso. With that sound embodied by the album’s brightly melodic and richly textured title track, Wash It in the Water finds the Georgia-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist mining his Puerto Rican and Cruzan heritage for inspiration.
“Because of the music I was raised on, I’ve always heard rhythm in a very tropical, Latin-esque way—it’s something that resonates in the deepest parts of me,” says Deputy, who grew up in South Carolina. “When I was a kid my grandma would play a lot of salsa and soca and make me get up and dance to it, so in a way this is me putting my own spin on all that and bringing those sounds into a whole new era.”
With Deputy playing every instrument on the album, Wash It in the Water was self-produced in spontaneous sessions that took place in studios and homes and sometimes in Deputy’s garage. “Each time I recorded it was mostly just for fun,” he says. “I wasn’t trying to make anything happen, I was just going with what felt good.” As a result, Wash It in the Water bears a warm, natural feel that permeates everything from the intricate guitar work and tender vocals of “Jump in the Water” (a serenade to Deputy’s seven-year-old daughter) to the grooveheavy funk of “Put It in the Boogie” (a celebration of the joyfully chaotic life of a musician) to the piano-driven balladry of “Loving You” (a powerful meditation on unconditional love).
Despite the spur-of-the-moment approach, Wash It in the Water emerges as a gracefully arranged effort that owes much to the musicianship and songcraft Deputy’s honed since getting his first guitar at age 13. By his mid-teens he’d started up a series of garage bands, balancing his own projects with playing in local big bands and soul groups. “I was this 16-year-old white kid crushing it in a Motown band, and because of that I got to learn a lot about respecting the composition,” Deputy recalls. “To me music is a bunch of small pieces fitting together to form this beautiful castle.”
In his early 20s, Deputy experienced a major turning point that would take his music in an entirely new direction. “I was playing in a band but I wasn’t inspired— music wasn’t bringing me the joy that it used to, and I felt like I might be done with it altogether,” he says. Along with quitting the band mid-tour, Deputy traded in his electric guitar and amp for a nylon-string acoustic and moved back home to work construction with his dad. “At work all day I’d have this music in my head, and as soon as I got home I’d go straight to the guitar,” he says. Serendipitously landing a solo gig by walking into a bar just after that night’s featured artist had bailed, Deputy soon introduced the world to the sound he’d eventually dub “island-infused, drum ‘n’ bass, gospel-ninja-soul.” By 2008 he’d released his debut album Out of the Water and—thanks to his ingenuity in looping—made his name as an unforgettable one-man-band live act.
In reflecting on his path as a musical artist, Deputy likens that creative awakening to the message at the heart of “Wash It in the Water.” “That song’s about cleansing yourself from all the nonsense of the world—starting fresh, a rebirth of sorts,” he says. And whether performing live or creating new music, Deputy aspires to guide listeners toward a renewal of their own. “I try to give people a little soul massage,” he says. “In music you get so raw and make yourself naked to the world, and hopefully people can find themselves in that and realize they’re not alone. For me touching someone’s life in a positive way is the best thing about making music, and that’s what’s kept me going with it for all these years.”