Bands have a choice when their music evolves — they can carry on and hope their fans will stay or they can revamp into a new project, essentially starting over.
Vocalist Moi J. Quinn and guitarists Matthew McEwan and Sean Chapman of the Hermosa Beach reggae/rock act Tomorrows Bad Seeds picked the latter. Their new band LIFE mixes funk, ska, rock, R&B and other genres. The trio has recorded its debut EP, “R U D W N ?” (Urbantone Records), and will have a record release party at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood on Wednesday.
“We were growing into something that was a little different, a lot more fresh and, in our eyes, more global. The music we were writing started becoming less niche and more unexpected,” Chapman said.
“We're not writing any specific style with this new project, you could say it's pop music that we're writing, but it's also just something that we really feel honest about. Instead of writing for a genre, we're writing for a band.”
This time around, the men are being more professional about their project, Chapman said, surrounding themselves with a strong team to help push their music. LIFE's material is also more universal and socially conscious than Tomorrow's Bad Seeds, he said.
“R U D W N ?” (the title is an abbreviation for “Are you down?”) boasts percussion by Josh Freese (The Vandals, Devo) and sessions players, John JR Robinson (Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand) and Omar Hakim (Daft Punk, Madonna).
“It's a really eclectic EP. I think it's the perfect transition from where we come from to what we are becoming,” Chapman said. “It's very digestible to the fans of our previous band, but it's also very different and perks up the ears of people who listen to all kinds of music.”
LIFE will perform closer to home at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach on July 10, a venue that has regularly worked with both incarnations of Chapman's band.
“Don't get me wrong, I loved the TBS sound. I've worked with them on countless shows since 2006 and developed long-lasting friendships with all of the members,” said Katie Henley, who books shows for Saint Rocke. “But their new project is fresh. It's bringing a unique sound to the beach, and we are welcoming it with open arms.
“For an established band to start over, completely from scratch, that takes major guts. But with the talent and tenacity in these three gentlemen, we are all going to see huge success in their future, I'd bet my life on it,” she added.
Part of LIFE's genre-encompassing sound may be linked to the members' backgrounds. Chapman's father was a professional drummer who played for Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, Quinn's mother is a singer and McEwan's step-father was a guitarist for The Regulators.
“We're all children of '80s musicians and we picked it up pretty young. I knew I wanted to be a musician early on,” Chapman said.
Chapman began playing drums during sixth grade, but before the year was out, he had switched to guitar.
“The way I learned to play guitar was I got in trouble and my dad grounded me. His punishment was he took everything out of my room, but three books and a guitar,” Chapman said. “I started learning songs off of my radio. I was listening to the music my dad was listening to and I started learning.”
LIFE will finish out the year touring and playing small gigs to promote “R U D W N ?” and introduce music fans to their new incarnation. They plan to record and release another EP next year.
“I'm really excited for all of this music,” Chapman said. “It's refreshing to play and I think people are really going to, hopefully, take a liking to it.”
LIFE RECORD RELEASE PARTY
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Roxy Theatre, 9009 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.
Tickets: $15, all ages.
Information: 310-278-9457, www.theroxy.com.
When: 9 p.m. July 10.
Where: Saint Rocke, 142
Information: 310-372-0035, www.saintrocke.com.