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Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Reggae


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Tacoma, Washington, USA

Tacoma, Washington, USA


Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA


Kennewick, Washington, USA

Kennewick, Washington, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



By John Larson

Tacoma Weekly

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Photo by john larson

SIX SONS. From left to right, Northwest Sons are Bret Bailey, Erik Madsen, Ian Ayers, Chris Molina, Jordan Price and Art Arzaga, Jr.

Last year six local musicians found themselves without an outlet for their love of playing reggae. It did not take long for them to connect and form Northwest Sons. Based in West Seattle, the group has made an impact on the local scene with their energetic live shows.

The band consists of Ian Ayers on vocals and acoustic guitar, Chris Molina on vocals and electric guitar, Erik Madsen on bass, Bret Bailey on drums, Art Arzaga, Jr. on keyboards and percussion and Jordan Price on trumpet.

The band was formed in June 2009. All the members had been in reggae bands that had broken up. Madsen, Bailey and Price knew each other from playing in Puget Sound System. Molina, a Tacoma native, had been in Untold Theory, while Ayers had been in The Cauze.

Looking for a musical project, Ayers, Molina and Arzaga began doing acoustic shows. They began looking for musicians to make a complete band. “We could tell it was time for the next step, to up the ante,” Ayers remarked.

They had an acoustic show in Ocean Shores. Bailey and Madsen were on hand and were asked to come on stage, and Northwest Sons was born. “We threw them in the fire,” Molina said. Soon they were playing shows around the Puget Sound area. “We wanted to get back on the circuit.”

Early on they needed a name and Molina came up with Northwest Sons. “We could not do anything without a name,” he observed.

One of their early gigs was at King Cat Theater in Seattle opening for Hawaiian reggae artist Sashamon.

“We all stepped up and worked hard,” Ayers said of that show. He was thrilled by the encouragement Sashamon gave them. “That helped me out for sure.”

Ayers and Molina write many of the lyrics. They live near each other and get together often to jam and write. One tune came about from Madsen playing a riff while they were backstage at a club before a gig. “That triggered something in me to write some lyrics,” Ayers commented.

“We all collaborate,” Molina said.

“It is definitely a group effort,” Ayers said. “The key thing for us is to never force it.”

Several members play several instruments, which further expands their creativity.

The band has a live CD and an acoustic EP. They just finished recording their first full-length studio album, “Boundary Line.” The title comes from the first song Ayers and Molina wrote for the group. Arzaga handled the engineering. He studied audio production at Art Institute of Seattle. His former teacher, who operated a recording studio, died recently. His facility was available and the band went to the studio in Black Diamond. They covered the cost of recording and producing the album from money generated through gigs.

Northwest Sons is looking to expand their fan base this summer. Later this month they will play their first shows in Olympia and Bellingham. A West Coast tour begins on July 4 with a show in Ocean Shores. They have a good following there, with many Ocean Shores fans making the trek to Seattle for shows. From there they head down for shows in Nevada and California. They hope to line up some dates in Oregon as well.

Northwest Sons play a CD release show at Jazzbones in Tacoma at 9 p.m. on June 12.
- Tacoma Weekly


Boudary Line (official Full Length Album)
Live at El Corazon, 05-15-2010 Seattle, WA
Change of TIdes (Actoustic EP)



Out of 3 Defunct bands, a group of respeced Seattle musicians from different projects who shared the same love of reggae music came together in late summer of 2009 to form the Northwest Sons. In that short time they have already released an acoustic EP, a live CD, and a full-length studio album. They have built a solid fan base and have played with some of their all-time favorite influences.

All members of the Northwest Sons have previously been involved in other reggae Projects. Ian Ayers of the Cauze, Chris Molina of Untold Theory, and Erik Madsen, Bret Bailie, and Jordan Bice of Puget Sound System. They are all about keeping positive vibes and the energy at their live shows is hard to ignore. The band likes to interact with the audience and all members play multiple instruments which also adds to the live show and the writing process.

Collectively they have played with reggae legends Half Pint and Barrington Levy and acts such as Pepper, The Dirty Heads, Iration, Mishka, Natural Vibrations, Sashamon, HR of Bad Brains, Layzie Bone (of BONE Thugs N Harmony) and were the backing band for Josh Heirichs (former lead singer of Jah Roots) for his Northwest tour. They are also the local support for Tribal Seeds whenever in Seattle.

They are regulars at Nectar in Seattle and Jazzbones in Tacoma, the most respected venues in those areas. They have also played at all of Seatle's major venues including The Showbox, Nuemos, El Corazon, Studio 7, The King Cat Theatre, The Snoqualmie Casino, and played at Seattle's Hempfest, the biggest festival of it's kind in the United States, attracting over 100,000 people a day over one weekend.

The band is very committed and works very hard. Though based in Seattle and play most of their shows in the Puget Sound area, their fan-base is international. They have toured to California, Nevada, and Idaho twice and their album is on iTunes and CDBaby and are well know in the reggae circuit.