Interview: Fortunate Youth drops new album, announces Nov. 25 show at The Novo in LA

The Southern California vibe of peace, love and unity is what the band Fortunate Youth is all about. Made up of Jered Draskovich, Corey Draskovich, Travis Walpole, Greg Gelb, Dan Kelly and Jordan Rosenthal, these six incredible artists have forged music with a message and are now releasing their latest album, just as they get ready to take the stage at this year’s One Love Cali Reggae Fest.

In honor of the big event, AXS had a chance to ask the band about their journey so far.

AXS: Tell me about how you all linked up and what that moment was like when you knew you really had something together?

Fortunate Youth: It was our manager’s birthday, June 1, 2009. We were all just kind of jamming in the backyard and the rest is history. We didn't know what we had, we just all liked to jam so we continued on and now we're here.

AXS: If there’s one message that listeners can take away from your music, what do you think it would be?

FY: Peace, love and unity.

AXS: Describe to me what it is about making music and performing that you love so much?

FY: The people, the vibes, the energy, the emotion, the experience; that's why we love to do what we do so much.

AXS: What are you most excited about when it comes to playing the One Love Cali Reggae Fest?

FY: Jamming our set and a new song or two off our new album. Seeing all the fans and catching up with all the bands. We all work so hard and travel so much that it's nice to see everyone in one place at the same time. Checking out everyone else's set and just hanging in the crowd.

AXS: Talk to me about your new self-titled album that comes out on Feb. 10, which is the same day you play the fest?

FY: It's our fifth studio album, fourth LP and we're stoked. It's self-titled Fortunate Youth. We recorded it live at Henson's Studios in L.A. to get the drums and some of the vox and instrumentation. Then [we] finished up with the rest of the recording, mixing and mastering with our good friend and longtime producer Lew Richards over at 17th Street Studios in Costa Mesa. We were blessed to get Kyle McDonald from Slightly Stoopid and Kumar Bent of Raging Fyah to feature on a few tracks. We had our buddies in SensaMotion play horns on "Dial My Number" and Brett "Big Chill" Cummings jam sax on "Friends & Family.” Our boys Preston Lee (Preston Lee) and Kenny Parry (True Press) laid down some back-up vox here and there. We had too much fun making it and hope everyone likes what they hear.

AXS: Tell me a little bit about your 50 show nationwide headline tour you’ve got coming up? What can fans expect when they come out to see you live?

FY: It'll run March 16, through May 21. We're playing 50 shows over 70 days, hitting as many states as possible. Josh Heinrichs is joining us for a majority of the dates and will be backed by For Peace Band, out of Guam. They crush! We were just with those guys in Guam for "Trenchfest.” Having Josh be able to jam "Sweet Sensi" every night is gonna be fun. Iya Terra will be on all dates. This is their first U.S. nationwide tour and they have some new music out too so we're stoked to travel with those guys. Cas Haley will also be joining us but only for the Texas dates. Our good buddy Chris Morphis will be doing a live painting on stage every night to start the night off. The fans can expect a lot of features and all of us switching up instruments and jamming together. You can check all dates and info at

AXS: What do you hope lies in the future for Fortunate Youth?

FY: We just hope to continue on this journey of seeing new places, meeting new people and growing the Fortunate Family bigger.

AXS: Anything else you want to add?

FY: Much love to everyone who helps us and contributes to the positive energy that we all thrive off of. Shout out to our crew for always killing it and keeping us safe. Hope to see you all at a future show. Peace, love and unity. Love is the most high.

If you’re at One Love Cali Reggae Fest on Feb. 10, be sure to catch Fortunate Youth in action. They’re set to take the stage at 5:45 p.m. so don’t miss out. You can also check out their new self-titled album, Fortunate Youth, out today.