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A reggae Reef builds onstage tonight in Grand Forks

A reggae hip-hop band from the Twin Cities will take the Crosstown Lounge stage tonight. Drew Musik (Andrew Misik), the group's lead singer and guitarist, described The Reef's music as "basically reggae hip-hop" with some funk thrown in. He said ...

The Reef
The Reef is a reggae hip-hop band from the Twin Cities.

A reggae hip-hop band from the Twin Cities will take the Crosstown Lounge stage tonight.

Drew Musik (Andrew Misik), the group's lead singer and guitarist, described The Reef's music as "basically reggae hip-hop" with some funk thrown in. He said his band has been influenced by well-known groups such as Sublime and Atmosphere.

Musik began his music career in 2004 when he released the album "less is more" under the name Negative One. But he started as a hip-hop artist, and while he said he was always interested in reggae and loved Sublime, he didn't start playing reggae himself until he met Jon Wayne of fellow Twin Cities reggae group Jon Wayne and The Pain in 2005.

"Jon kind of showed me how to do it," he said.

The Reef takes the stage at 10 p.m. at the Crosstown Lounge. There is a $5 cover charge, and the concert is open only to those 21 and older.

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Changes

Musik has gotten used to changes during his music career. His start as a hip-hop artist, using his own beats, was fun but he said it was almost a matter of time before he changed it up.

"I was always wanting to do music with a live band," he said. "There's only so much energy you can put into a show with a CD player."

He already played the bass, keyboard and drums and was a part of the "festival scene" in the Minneapolis area, led by bands such as Wookiefoot. "It was kind of like an appropriate move for me," he said.

Musik grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville, Minn., and was from a fairly musical family. His mother and two aunts were singers, and one of his cousins is a Christian piano artist.

"There's definitely some musical background with my family," he said.

But he didn't really consider music as a career until he took a music technology class in high school. He was making hip-hop beats at the time, and a teacher sold him a computer interface to take it to the next level.

A few years later, he "started pushing it and playing live shows."

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Musik changed genres along the way but also performed in a number of bands, especially while polishing his guitar and vocal talent as a student at the Institute of Production and Recording.

Rebirth

He performed with the spoof and comedy funk band The Adjoining Separatists in 2005 but took a more serious turn in 2007 when he formed Negative One and The New Rebelution. That provided the core of what is now The Reef, which took its new name a few months ago because another band had already claimed the name Rebelution.

Musik said the new name was picked for a few reasons -- he is a Cancer, a water sign in astrology, and said he always loved the water. But reefs also resemble a rebirth, he said, because the water level drops every several thousand years, prompting new growth and changing reef structures.

That idea even provided a title for the band's latest album, "Rebirth," which was released in October. "The whole album is real positive," he said. "Basically I was going for a feel-good sounding album that would make people want to make changes in their life so they can be the best people they can be."

Musik takes songwriting inspiration from everything around him, he said, because he's constantly making music. "It's always flowing out of me."

He said he writes a lot about the changes he has made in his own life, while also writing messages to himself that can help keep him on track to make more positive changes.

The Reef is doing a tour through North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota and is lining up a February tour that will bring it to Colorado and Idaho for the first time.

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Musik said he wants people watching the band perform live for the first time to have a good time and maybe buy a CD after the show. "I want them to experience joy, and I want them to feel good when they're listening to our music."

- On the Web: Listen to songs by The Reef at www.thereefmusic.com .

Johnson covers local music events and runs a music blog at www.areavoices.com/valleysound . Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com .

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