You don’t put on an Arden Park Roots album if you’re tired and want to get some sleep. Their “Surf Rock Reggae” music isn’t for the sleepy or for the ballad lovers. While their songs have obvious Reggae orientations there is also no mistaking the Surf Rock vibe that weaves its way into most of their work. While this may not be what some people are hunting down in their pursuit of traditional Reggae, it is what thousands are clearly hungry to embrace.
Arden Parks Roots is known for their energetic sets, their upbeat rhythms and charm. Attending one of their live performances is half the fun and has endeared many die-hard fans to their style and personality as a band. The most recent album, Burning the Midnight Oil, is filled with engaging songs that make a person want to jump and dance, maybe even shout and grin. Their approach is fun and their Sacramento fan base has made it clear they love the Arden Park Roots style of fun with three Sammies awards for Best Reggae/Rock/Funk band and induction into the Sacramento Music Hall of Fame “among such legends as Papa Roach, Deftones, Cake and Tesla.” (The Sammies are Sacramento, CA local music awards.)
However, it isn’t just Sacramento that is cheering for the APR boys. Their exposure is expanding and reaching fans far beyond the capitol city into Rock Reggae loving regions all over the U.S. With this rise in recognition, their third full-length album, Pipe Dreams, debuted at #2 on iTunes and remained in the top 100 for over a year and a half. And, they have recently returned from a 30 state tour logging over 10,000 miles which followed with a rush home for their “Burning the Midnight Oil” fourth album release.
Their expanding touring appearances include large Reggae and mixed genre festivals like Reggae in the Hills taking place this year on June 13-15, 2014 in Calaveras County. Reggae in the Hills is a quickly growing festival with a very large venue drawing attendees in the multiple thousands. These festival goers are looking for a mix of the genre to include both traditional Reggae and styles that incorporate Reggae into their magic whether it’s considered rock, rap or something else. Reggae festival fans come from many backgrounds and they are open to hearing something new as well as old favorites as cover songs, oh yeh we will always love Bob Marley! Arden Park Roots sits nicely in the festival circle of the genre kaleidoscope. Their style keeps the audience alive and appeals to most age ranges.
The band has played at Reggae in the Hills for the past two years since the festival beginning. RITH Executive Producer Scott Durst says, “APR is one of the most talented bands in the music market today, good people and total pros. It’s always a pleasure to work with them or just be in their company." RITH Executive Assistant and Sacramento native Samantha Hernandez is also a big fan of Arden Park Roots. She says, “I have found that Arden Park Roots really knows how to bring the vibes! They have amazing stage presence and always bring a good show. With their original sound of Rock Reggae and killer vocals from Tyler Campbell, you will want to devour every song they perform ….”
The respect is mutual and APR states that they have found it “an honor from day one to work with all involved ... Scott takes care of us like family and that type of respect is evident at the festival too ... the growth from year one was amazing and we hope that RITH is around another 20 plus years.” And because its “an amazing event, everyone needs to make a point to hit it this year. It will be a huge party and will definitely reflect the hard work they have put into making a great festival.”
The entire Arden Park Roots band is comprised of dedicated and hard working musicians who love what they do. This is essential in any art in order to succeed and create successful artworks. While their approach is not particularly spiritual in the manner of some Reggae artists, their work is uplifting in tempo and style and almost always carries a positive driving force. The result of hearing their music is that it makes one want to smile and join in, bob the head, and groove. It’s good feeling music. The rock element is obvious but not overpowering. They strike a fine balance in the mix.
The band members (Tyler Campbell lead vocalist and rhythm guitar, Spencer Murphy “Murf” bassist, Nick Ledoux “El Guapo” guitarist and Jason Duvall drummer) say they don’t really have a “reggae philosophy” and would actually “consider them more of a rock band with a reggae influence.” Tyler states that, “We strive to make positive music with a positive message. Music can influence a person’s entire mood and mindset, which creates a great responsibility for musicians. Why would a band want to influence anyone negatively? Life is hard enough as it is. We take great pride in our dedication to providing listeners with a message of positivity in almost every song we write. The music has evolved over the years quite a bit but the message stays the same: Set small goals based on a bigger picture; live each day to the fullest; practice compassion; make time to share moments of celebration with your loved ones. Life comes at you hard and music can either beat you down harder or soften the blow and give you an escape. We try to soften the blow.”
Several years ago Arden Park Roots was “touring relentlessly.” However, according to Tyler Campbell, they seem to have been doing it wrong in certain ways. They would “double as Sublime tribute in those days and would play for three hours each night without other bands on the bill.” Although it was a great way “to get out on the road and play a whole bunch of towns hungry for Sublime tribute [they] weren’t networking the way a band should.” The result was that for several years they missed out on networking with other bands. After dropping the tribute two years ago, they have focused more on playing and touring “with similar bands and the results have been amazing.”
Arden Park Roots was formed seven years ago and the roster has changed several times through the years but the lineup has been the same for about the last two. In these recent years their new approach to bookings has led them deeper into a win-win relationship with fellow musicians. They help many bands across the United States and they, in turn, help APR. Tyler explains, “We have made some amazing friendships with many bands as well and that is important. You have to like the people that surround you on a daily basis so it's good to play with a lot of bands to see who you mesh well with. There is no shortage of talent in the particular genre we are in. It is a pleasure to be able to travel the country alongside other good people and musicians. Sometimes on the road, you can get to the point where each day feels the same and you get … a loneliness in you like you are the only people on the planet. Traveling with other bands breaks up the monotonous routine a bit and makes for bigger shows, bigger parties, and ultimately, bigger road families."
The Arden Park Roots band mentality is to allow each member “to voice and present any writings, suggest any changes and ultimately throw anything on the table.” Their objective is to create an atmosphere free of ego that “presents obstacles in the writing process.” Tyler describes their band dynamics by explaining, “Our environment is one of uninhibited creation. … I can write some lyrics and present them to the band. There will be no ambiguity as to whether or not they like them. It's either, 'Hey man, I'm not quite feeling that' or 'Dude, that's awesome... write more of that.' We can say anything we want to each other without having to worry about someone’s feelings being hurt. We are all professionals and just want each song to reach its full potential. We spend a ton of time together, more than with our own families. You have to become a family (as a band) to have any shot at a decent career.”