"Get Ready For the Vibe" of L.A.'s Arise Roots


In a city of haves and have-nots, where pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” is the story of many lives, the strongest can be found in those who strive to keep it real on many levels. This is not the common story of the coming together of acquaintances, rather Arise Roots came to be through drummer Ron Montoya’s efforts to form a reggae band, in this case, by any means necessary.

As a roots reggae aficionado, Montoya sensed a lack of roots reggae bands in the L.A. area. Thus, he took matters into his own hands. With nearly five years of efforts utilizing means such as Craigslist advertisements, crossing paths with artists in the music scene, and experimenting sounds with several musicians, in 2010 the beautifully diverse band known as Arise Roots was born.

Arise Roots - IW LLC

Arise Roots - IW LLC

Surrounded by the massive metropolis we know as Los Angeles, a cramped garage in the small town of Maywood housed a summer night’s rehearsal for the dedicated band. Decked in posters of Bob Marley, Dub Club promos, and a sign that appropriately stated “WE ARE OCCUPYING LOS ANGELES,” the band kindly invited Inity Weekly to catch a set in an environment that could not be more down-to-earth.

With an upcoming show, the band rehearsed various songs from their 2010 album, “Lay Your Guns Down,” as well as provided a sneak peek of songs from their forthcoming album, due out in the fall. The band continued with a seamlessly played medley of songs, which included a sweet version of “My Number One” by Gregory Isaacs. There was a good energy felt in that room, as if they all read the memo:  “Remember to have a good time.”

As a new listener to the band’s music it was easy to understand why Arise Roots is playing more shows and gaining notoriety. Arise Roots offers a sound and message that Los Angeles has been missing, and that the world needs more of. By preserving roots reggae and uniting it with modern sounds, Arise Roots has found a way to carry on the messages of predecessors they pay homage to such as Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, and Alton Ellis, to name a few.

What would these predecessors have thought about Arise Roots’ modern approach to reggae music? Certainly, these legends would have applauded the band’s courage to be outspoken. Then there is the notion of judging the band based on two kinds of music today: good music, and the other kind. Arise Roots therefore firmly positions themselves in the former camp.

Get to know Arise Roots:

Arise Roots:

Karim Israel – Lead Vocals

Todd Johnson – Keys/Vocals

Robert Sotelo, Jr. – Lead Guitar

Rudy Covarubias – Bass

Ron Montoya - Drums

For more information, visit the Arise Roots website at : http://www.ariseroots.com/

Photos: Christy Jeziorski for Inity Weekly