Road to Zion
Tell us about yourself and your music
I’m Arlon Wise, born and raised in Louisiana but currently residing in Florida. I’ve made reggae/rock mixed with hip hop for almost 20 years. My band, Tribe Zion just dropped a full-length record in Nov and we play around 150 shows a year on the beautiful beaches of the gulf coast. We have overcome many difficulties keeping the music and band alive. We lost 3 band members in a 3 1/2 year period and had a really hard time pushing forth. However, I knew that the guys would want me to keep their memory alive through the music we created together. This was the inspiration for our last song of the record “Writers Never Die.”
Talk to us more about your latest release
We just released our first full-length record “Get Tribal”. We are very excited about it and have shot several music videos for songs off the record. It’s definitely eclectic, with our normal reggae/rock mixed with hip hop style, but we also incorporate some blues and soul on this album. 13 songs on the record, the beginning is filled with our positive pop-reggae songs and progressively gets more dark and aggressive throughout the record.
What inspired you to write this release?
I have been a drug addicted alcoholic my entire music career. For years people come to our shows for the chaos and the party. After 6 years of gigging since our last record, I realized we had plateaued and not recorded anything or shot any videos. I got into a real tight spot with the law and got very lucky. Immediately after this, I gave up drugs and alcohol and hit the studio with a new found passion!
Describe the writing and recording process
The writing process as of late is for my guitarist and me to get together with a heat machine and an acoustic guitar and my notebooks. My rhythm guitarist is 61 years young and just beat cancer for the third time! He was very persistent in getting this record done and ended up battling cancer halfway through recording this album.
The recording process was a little different than I’m used to. We recorded at Enlightened Studios in Ft Walton Beach, Florida. They started off on Day 1, by hitting record and letting us all play simultaneously. We used that as the scratch track and overdubbed a lot over it but I feel that was a good way to capture the live band sound.
Any plans to hit the road?
We are hoping to tour in the fall, but we are crazy busy during the spring and summer months playing from Panama City Beach, FL to Orange Beach, AL! The off-season is pretty slow but we are blessed to gig year-round here in Northwest Florida. Here are our shows this month. (I believe I attached the link)
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
We have a very unique sound and mix of genres, so that sets us apart from the jump. I have been hiring higher quality artists to design Logos, t-shirts, stickers, album cover, promos, and flyers. I also like to show new artists all of our artwork so they can keep a similar style to develop our brand. We also have been shooting music videos and putting out more merch to build the brand.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Tropidelic, Pepper, Dirty Heads, Jelly Roll, Russ, Mayday, Prof, Grandson, NF, Tom Macdonald, Skindred, Plan B, Stormzy, and Sensi Trails.
Who are your biggest influences?
There is no doubt my biggest influences are Eminem, The Doors, and Sublime. Just throw some Elvis, Bob Marley, Beastie Boys, Rage, and Oasis in there.
Tell us about your passions
Besides music I love to travel, snorkel, rock climb, and write. My fiancé is a flight attendant and we’ve traveled to 7 countries in the past year and a half! We’ve been to England and Mexico several times, Belize, Amsterdam, France, Ireland, Japan, and we just got back from Italy. The adventures, the food, the landscape, the museums… I am very passionate about travel now.
I have free climbed since I was a kid and I climbed the Ozarks, Smokies, and Rockies before I could drive. I moved to Colorado just for climbing. 2019 I climbed all over Las Vegas area, Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon, I got to climb in Sedona, AZ and at the Grand Canyon, and most recently Mt Vesuvius in Italy.
I recently became passionate about snorkeling. My old lady taught me how and took me out to Panama City Beach jetties. Now we’ve free dived cenotes all over Mexico, caves, and springs all over Florida, we snorkel with the manatees every year, we snorkeled with sea turtles in Hawaii and sharks and stingrays in Belize!
What else is happening next in your world?
I plan on getting married this year, my father and I fixed our relationship last year after not speaking for more than 20 years! A truck fell on my father and brother and they almost died, my other brother saved them and my pop’s was taken by life flight helicopter to LSU Shreveport. Since then we are speaking and with my recent found sobriety, 16 months no drugs or alcohol (I do smoke pot though) and I quit smoking 30 days ago… I’ve never been better!! Just got a metal detector for Christmas! Got 2 new tattoos on New Year’s Eve before our show on Pensacola Beach! I have a really awesome cat, my girl has two daughters, my lady was a maxim model in her day (she was in hustler too, but you didn’t hear that from me), I am blessed to have finally found my soulmate and hope to be married for the first time just before I turn 40 on July 15, 2021. I have stories for days and days, so I wrote a 375-page book I hope to get published this year! It’s being edited right now and it starts the exact moment I decided I would say forget everything and pursue my music dream full time, from that moment on, all the trials and tribulations, the drugs, sex, and rock and roll and arrests on stage and bar fights and interstate drug smuggling… I also shot a short behind the scenes look documentary on my band making this record and put it on YouTube.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Tribe Zion