9 Mile Roots on the move of reggae into pop and their gig bucket list

Reggae music has been making it's way into popular music for the past couple of years. But local the Baltimore band 9 Mile Roots has been ahead of the curve, producing and performing a mix of roots, rock and reggae music for around 15 years. The eight member band plays their eclectic mix of music up and down the Mid-Atlantic, entertaining an audience as diverse as the members of their own band. AXS caught up with bass player Josh Behun and got his perspective on performing and the momentum of reggae.

AXS [Christa Emmer]: Reggae seems to have become more popular and is making its way into mainstream. Why do you think that is?

Josh Behun: The growth of reggae, and more so for rock-reggae, towards the mainstream seems to be driven more and more by the youth culture... There appears to be a lot more young reggae bands popping up all over the country as of recent , and maybe even more so than most other genres. Part of this is likely due to the numerous new internet radio stream programs and the shear availability of new music and music styles and influences at our finger tips. But, reggae music itself can come in the form of rock, hip-hop, jazz, folk or any other fusion you can think of. It's a very versatile style of music that blends well with everything and everyone. Current influential pop artists like Jason Derulo are not known for reggae but draw heavily from it in hits like "Trumpets". Even Magic!, "So Rude", has certainly helped bring the reggae fusion style to the surface.

AXS: A lot of bands play covers from time to time, does your band have any favorites?

Josh Behun: We play a few covers, here and there. When we do a cover tune, we always enjoy the challenge of taking a song we love, and making it our own - adding horn lines, messing with some subtle rhythm structures, throwing a kink into the arrangement, or just "teasing" a song by jumping into a verse or a chorus of some cover during a jam breakdown... Anything we feel we can take up a notch from the original version by adding the strength of a powerful horn-line, is always a lot of fun!

AXS: If you could play at any venue in the world, what would be your “dream” location to play a show?

Josh Behun: There are certainly a TON of dream venues every musician keeps on their bucket list. Red Rocks, Vegas, Madison Square Garden... For us, one of the coolest gigs going would probably be a week or two touring the Hawaiian Islands. Reggae music is huge there, so many great musicians call Hawaii home, and it's paradise, so….

9 Mile Roots is playing the Rams Head Shore House in Stevensville, MD on Friday, Jan. 23 at 9 p.m.. The band is also busy working on a new album and expect to release singles this Spring. For upcoming shows, information about the band and free music downloads, visit 9mileroots.com.