Karim Israel, the lead vocalist of LA reggae band, Arise Roots, joins me in the booth to talk about their music, including their album released earlier this year, ‘Moving Forward’.
Can you tell me how Arise Roots first got together?
As musicians we were all part of the southern California reggae music scene and have mutual friends in the scene as well. In 2010, drummer Ron Montoya set out to form a primarily roots based project and began auditioning musicians faithfully. One by one we all came into the fold and Arise Roots was born. All the members shared a passion for roots reggae music which allowed us to hit the ground running once we got together. The rest has been history in the making!
What are you up to at the moment?
Currently we’re working on promotion of the album ‘Moving Forward‘ that we self released this past February. We have two big shows coming up, one in Pasadena at the Levitt Pavilion, and another in San Diego for the Bob Marley ‘Tribute to the Legends’ Festival. We’re also focusing our attention on northern California which is another current target for us.
When did you all begin taking an interest in music?
Interest in music for each of us was there in the beginning. Music has been a driving force for us all so it was inevitable that each of us would be involved in music in some capacity. Music is life.
How would you describe your music?
We have a classic reggae sound with a modern feel that appeals to all ages and ethnicities. One that doesn’t compromise the true feel of roots reggae but is of this current age. Anybody who has had the opportunity to see an Arise Roots show understands the powerful sound and positive vibration that we produce.
Where does the inspiration for new songs come from? How do you work together on new material?
About ninety per cent of the music we create comes out of jam sessions. We get together and just start playing without any guidelines or barriers. The feel, the mood, the vibe itself is what dictates what we play. It doesn’t take long to tell if it is a tune worth keeping. The ones that we dig get developed a little more until we have a song. Almost all of our album is one big jam session straight from our practice home to yours.
You have chosen ‘Moving Forward’ for readers to listen to. Who wrote that song? Can you tell me what inspired it and what it means to you?
The song ‘Moving Forward’ was one of the few tunes that was developed from a concept. I work in a high poverty and crime area of Los Angeles and the song stemmed from what I see on a daily basis. When I say “wake up, look out my window, I see destruction and poverty” I was actually looking out of the window and just expressed what was going on. There are so many areas like this in Los Angeles that it has kinda become our hometown anthem. Los Angeles is a rough place and I believe our sound represents the city in that we have a rough and rugged sound. Los Angeles obviously has a bounty of beauty as well and likewise our music also has a sweet spot that will intrigue you. This song is a call to action, a declaration. No matter what, no matter who tries to hold us down, we will be moving forward!
What are your plans for the future?
Our plans are to spread this music and message as far as we possibly can. Thank you for helping us with that goal, we really appreciate you!
Where can people find out more about Arise Roots?
Visit our website for updates on the band and shows: www.ariseroots.com
Like our Facebook page
Where can people buy your album, Moving Forward?
The full length album is available on iTunes here.