Urban Tropic
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Urban Tropic

Columbus, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Columbus, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band World Indie




"Local Limelight: Urban Tropic"

Alex Willard can’t imagine making music with anyone else but his sister, Jess.

The siblings were classically trained beginning at age 4, have been writing songs together since high school and have played with other Columbus musicians in recent years.

On their most recent undertaking, they lead a band called Urban Tropic.

Classifying themselves as world-indie music, the band blends genres and instruments to craft a sound that is at once reggae, folk and Americana.

"When you break it down, these three genres share so much in common, rhythmically and lyrically," said Alex Willard, 22, whose responsibilities include vocals, guitar, violin, banjo and keyboards. "It’s all roots music, and we are inspired by the unique cultures of the people of the world."

Jess, 20, sings harmony and plays keyboards, accordion, bells and ukulele. Joshua Altfater on guitar rounds out the lineup. Since forming in March, they’ve released four demo songs on their website and have an EP in the works.

“We’re getting more and more comfortable onstage as a band, and the reception from fans has been overwhelming and inspiring,” Alex Willard said.

Q: Tell me about your relationship as brother and sister, where your love of music came from, how you collaborate on making music.

A: We just get one another onstage, playing, writing, and rehearsing. Being siblings — we joke onstage that we’re twins — our voices blend naturally and she is my best friend, so it’s a gift to be able to form our own band and for me to play with her.

It’s funny because we don’t look like obvious siblings. I’m blond; she’s brunette. But she’s my family, and I can’t really imagine playing music with anyone else.

Q: You’re known for incorporating a lot of instruments and genres in your music. Why the eclecticism?

A: We write and play music that we like and would want to hear and hope it connects with our audience. We do bring a lot of instruments onstage with us and blend sounds like banjo and reggae, or violin and soca (a Caribbean genre). But still, it’s all roots music.

Q: What inspires your lyrics?

A: In some cases, it something simple, like the paralyzing fear Jess really has regarding spiders, or farmers and working people in songs like "Sweet Home Ohio" or "Folksy." We just try to relate to the universal experiences we share with everyone. - Eric Lagatta


Currently working on our 1st full length album 



From a diverse range of genres and rhythms incorporating folk, bluegrass, reggae, calypso, psychedelic, pop, and good old rock & roll, Urban Tropic's upbeat sound emerges as a lush and vibrant blend of layers and rhythms as well as change of instruments from song to song. A banjo may appear on one track, melodica, violin, or ukulele on the next. Laced with intricate guitar work and screaming solos, rich keyboards, tight harmonies, driving rhythms, and lead vocals both male and female from Jess, Josh, and Alex, Urban Tropic's music sounds unique yet familiar at once.

Band Members