Interview: Tropidelic frontman Matt Roads talks ‘Heavy Is The Head’ follow-up and the upcoming InCuya Music Festival

The day after performing the last show of the final Warped Tour, Tropidelic frontman Matt Roads took a moment to catch up with AXS, just before the six-piece band was off to their next stop. The group’s artful blend of hip-hop, reggae, rock, and funk, has made their high-energy sets a festival fan-favorite, keeping them busy playing multiple venues across the country.

The name Tropidelic is an amalgamation of tropical and psychedelic. While their backgrounds might be diverse, they each share the responsibility of making their style unique by incorporating everyone’s ideas. Signed under LAW Records, the group’s vibe aligns with artists such as (label founders) Pepper and bands like Slightly Stoopid. Roads’ own influence ranges everywhere from hip-hop to punk to bluegrass; which all comes across in their music.

“The development of the sound coincided with the development of the live show; it just kind of intensified the energy,” Roads explained. “We had percussion for a while, now we have horns. But it kind of developed on the idea of how to make this bigger, better, more unique and more energizing as far as the live shows are concerned.”

AXS: I want to talk to you about your live performances. You’re getting ready to play InCuya Music Festival at The Malls in Downtown Cleveland at the end of August. Tell me how you’re feeling about performing a show like this in your band's hometown. What do you expect the scene to look like?

Matt Roads: I think it’s going to be a pretty assorted bunch with the lineup being so diverse. We’re excited. As far as I know, there hasn’t been something on this scale with this many national, international names in Downtown Cleveland, at least since I’ve been around for the last ten years or so, in this portion of the state. So yeah, we’re real excited. It’ll be nice to get down there, see some familiar faces. It’ll be a good homecoming.

AXS: Tell me a little bit about the music scene in Cleveland and how the festival fits into that.

MR: It’s growing. With AEG being in town now [too] and another club opening Downtown; it’s rich. I think it’s thriving.

AXS: Is there anyone on the bill that you’re really excited to meet?

MR: I like Cake. I’ve always liked them. I saw them on tour years ago, and I’ve been listening to them since I was in grade school pretty much.

AXS: What’s been your wildest music festival experience to-date?

MR: That’s a good question. I think the production of Electric Forest is kind of unmatched. We did that last summer and that was pretty incredible. Typically, on the road, we are in and out of places fairly quick, but that was one of those festivals where we were like, you know what, let’s just hang out here for another day or two. It was just super cool. We just did Cali Roots and that was incredible as well. I just think the production of Electric Forest is unmatched. At one point, during String Cheese Incident, they had trampolinists going off probably two or three-story trampolines. There were fireworks going off and aerial acrobatics hanging from a helicopter. It was insane, it was like sensory overload. It was the wildest thing I have ever seen in a show.

AXS: Let’s talk Heavy Is The Head now. What can fans expect with your follow-up album?

MR: We’re going to try to keep it true to ourselves, a little outside the box, but we are going to lean a little more on the reggae-rock stuff more than usual. However, our whole MO is to be different, to be ourselves, and not conform like it seems like so many people do to push the business agenda. I think it’ll be a natural progression. Not forced.

AXS: What else is on your agenda for 2018 and what can people expect rolling into 2019?

MR: We have a couple days with Dumpstaphunk coming up in September. We’ll be on the road hard. We don’t get much of a break here. We have a bunch of festivals still to end out the season. And then we’re announcing a big tour in November through the southeast. We have our New Year’s Eve run which is big every year and usually sells out in Cleveland. March 2019 we have the 311 cruise that goes down to Mexico and Belize.

AXS: So, what’s your favorite part of touring?

MR: Honestly, probably the music. And the people you meet are incredible. But also I think, you learn more every time you’re on the road for an extended period of time. It kind of prioritizes things for you. You have your routine. It almost simplifies life a little bit. A lot of people wouldn’t say that, but for me, it’s almost easier.

Don’t miss Tropidelic on tour now. You can also check them out on Spotify. Be sure to visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more.

Tickets to the inaugural InCuya Music Festival in Downtown Cleveland on Saturday, Aug.25 and Sunday, Aug 26 are available here at AXS.