Being on the east coast, I was more than excited to speak with two artists that are exploding with success hundreds of miles away in Arizona. Although the distance is present, Vibe’s musical impact can be felt anywhere.
A self-taught guitar player since age 11, Alex “Rossy” Rossman seemed born to make radio-ready hits with his early-adopted aspirations. The music he began to produce was inspired by the open-minded acceptance of various music his mom introduced him to at an early age.
“I listen to such a wide range of music,” Rossy said. “My mom turned me onto Soul, Hip-Hop, and acoustic music.” And this early influence fueled his original work throughout his youth.
Lyricist and rapper Chris Young also developed an original taste of music from being born into a hip-hop family. He was fortunate enough to have a mother who was also a rapper and and a DJing uncle, both of whom helped develop his appreciation for this art.
With Nas and Tupac as two of Young’s favorite artists, he began to understand the importance of speaking on behalf of societal issues. “These guys were always artists who said something that was relevant, philosophical and did the storytelling,” said Young.
Because storytelling so so important to them, Rossy and Young’s music typically doesn’t include loud, aggressive beats but instead features mostly acoustic background that allows listeners to hear the story Young’s lyrics are trying to tell.
Making first impressions
The two artists have been in two different places over the past four years. While Chris got a record deal with Banana Beat Records and became occupied with his solo career, Rossy was in school writing songs.
“Because we were really focused on solo careers, it did make it hard to work together a first. Our focus was originally on solo, but just this last year we started to work together,” Rossy said. In October 2011, Vibe released their first album Hakuna Matata.
“We already had the ‘Touch the Star ‘song, and the rest really took us no time, because most of it was freestyle improvisation,” Young said.
“We have a huge catalogue of songs, and we’re always free-styling,” Rossy said. Released this summer, Vibe’s next album Golden Hour uses this very same creative energy.
As busy at the two artists are, their sense of humor and appreciation for their community is clearly intact.
“The coolest guy I’ve ever met? Actually there’s this guy named Sky and he drives this “vibey” bus in Tuscan that actually has couches in it,” Rossy laughed. When asked if that was the original inspiration for the band, the two chuckled and rejected the idea.
Actually, the band name is a direct representation of the way the band works. “It explained our process on how we make the songs.” Rossy said. And because of how natural the songs would come to them, the name ‘Vibe’ fit the description perfectly.
New album, y’all!
Their new mixtape-esque album, Golden Hour, is more personal for the duo. It has more relevant topics and universal messages for listeners.
“We got more in touch with our hearts and what we believe in, making it a more personal album,” said Rossy.
Golden Hour carries themes that a lot of modern music doesn’t seem to touch on. “Let’s say you want to write a love song,” Young explains. “On Golden Hour, the love song is about trying to run away to another place with that girl that you care about. It’s about love, war and death.”
Young said that it’s important for his music to be catchy and still have depth.
“I think we’ll get criticism,” Rossy included, “But I think it’s not so much that we’re tying to point fingers in the lyrics, but more of an observation — more of a question. The album is more about being human in a human experience.”
According to the two artists, the album is about noticing the things that affect the world. “The album is not really controversial, but it definitely asks a lot of questions—lots of unanswered questions,” Rossy said. “We got a little more comfy with the writing process. We realized that in music you could take chances, get away from the norm, because people appreciate it.”
One of their biggest hits, “Still a Kid at Heart” from their first album, for example, is all about the joys of childhood.
“We’re trying to take you back to a packed lunch and riding a scooter with [crummy] wheels,” Rossy said. The youth anthem is universal as it gives off the fun, nostalgic summer vibe. Have a listen!