How a 'Quick Rap' Inspired Chet Hanks and Drew Arthur to Form FTRZ

The group that combines catchy melodies with mellow hip-hop swings by Studio TooFab for an exclusive performance.

Chet Hanks and Drew Arthur were bonded by friendship long before they decided to take their relationship to the next level by forming alt-pop group FTRZ.

So far, the pair (pronounced "features") has released two tracks since kicking off this new musical chapter in their lives, and they performed both of them live for TooFab when they stopped by our studio to talk about the genesis of their collaboration.

The two met in 2016 through a mutual friend who felt they’d bond over their sobriety and tattoos, but their real connection turned out to be music. Intending only to "feature" on each other’s songs, Hanks and Arthur soon realized they had undeniable chemistry, which was discovered when Hanks wrote "a quick rap" for a song Arthur was working on.

"I just wrote a quick rap in like 15 minutes, and it was the first thing we had ever done," Hanks told TooFab. "We had already been friends for a while without even talking about doing music together music, and it just happened naturally like that."

That song was "Nowhereland." TooFab premiered the music video earlier this month.

FTRZ is hard to define by genre, and that’s exactly how they like it, as the music draws from both of their past artist identities. Hanks first dove into rapping in his younger years, going by the name "Chet Haze" — a since-ditched effort to differentiate himself from uber-famous parents Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. Arthur, on the other hand, was in an alternative-rock band.

Hanks and Arthur are now almost three years sober, and while they maintain that sobriety didn’t initially bond them, it does come through in their music. "Models," which they also performed for us, is about how they got to where they are today, taking us "from the bottom of the bottle to touching California models."

Once notorious for being the "rebellious" Hanks kid, Chet is now a 28-year-old father and fully focused on his career. In addition to making music, Hanks also acts. He had a run on "Shameless" that wrapped up last season and is currently on "Empire."

When asked if he felt having famous parents helped or hindered him at this point in his life, Hanks told us, "It definitely helps."

"It has a lot of advantages and then some awkwardness, but for the most part, I think it’s a huge advantage," he explained. "I wouldn’t change anything."

Hanks also responded to critics who believe he culturally appropriates black culture, noting that he recognizes racial tensions are particularly high right now in our country.

"Culture — as far as pop culture, as far as modern American culture, as far as what’s cool and hip — it isn’t race based," he explained. "It’s not about what race you are. It’s not even about what kind of socioeconomic class you come from. It’s beyond race, it’s beyond class and I think that’s what kids these days are exhibiting."

"Hip-hop culture is no longer a sub-culture of American culture," he continued. "Rap music has surpassed every genre. Rap music is bigger than pop music, it’s bigger than rock, it’s bigger than EDM. That’s what’s cool right now. That’s what kids are being raised up in. I think racial tensions are making everything very sensitive right now, but I think the next generation — younger kids — understand that’s it’s not about race and it’s not about class."

Watch the music video for "Nowhereland" below.

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