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Rebelution [Exclusive Interview]
We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Eric Rachmany, the lead singer and guitarist of the rock-reggae group Rebelution. He shared his thoughts with us on things from lyrical inspiration to their up and coming album.
Eargrub: So how did the members of Rebelution come together?
Rebelution: Rebelution got started in 2004. We were all going to college in Santa Barbara, California. I met a couple of the band members in the music department at Santa Barbara City College. We got together and we started covering Bob Marley, Sublime, and some other Reggae stuff we were listening to at the time. And then we just started playing more and more, started writing original tunes. I started singing more; back in the day I was just a guitar player. I was trying to gain more confidence and just sing, because singing is just so weird – still is so weird. We started writing original music and we have three albums out, looking to release a 4th one coming up soon.
Eargrub: What was the first original song that you guys wrote together?
Rebelution: Safe and Sound was one of the first ones. Change the System was one of the first ones.
Eargrub: So you didn’t have any experimental tracks, you just started writing record quality songs from the get go?
Rebelution: Yeah, everything that has been out on the records is pretty much everything we’ve written. I have more songs from back in the day that are more like singer/songwriter, folky, acoustic rock kind of stuff. I’m definitely a slow songwriter. Whatever I write, I try to make it as perfect sounding as I can, at least to me, and then it just gets on a CD and gets out there.
Eargrub: Where did the name Rebelution come from?
Rebelution: That’s a good question. I think the word Rebel has a negative connotation. We thought it was perfect for us because we’re speaking through our words, our music and we’re rebelling in a positive way, and getting out our message through the arts. So we thought it was great for who we are.
Eargrub: Is it you who is writing the lyrics?
Rebelution: Yeah I’d say I write about 99 percent of the lyrics. Every once and a while, one of the other band members will say, “this is a cooler word,” or, “if you draw this in right here…” But usually I write most of it.
Eargrub: Does each individual member write their own musical part, or is it a collective process?
Rebelution: It depends, sometimes I’ll just kinda say, “this is the song, here’s the bassline, keyboard part, all of the works.” But often times, they’ll jump in and tweak it to how they like it. And other times, it’ll be each band member makes their own part. Or I’ll come up with a chord progression and a melody, Marley will write a bassline, Wesley will write his drum part, and Rory will write a keyboard line. And the last couple of years we’ve had Khris Royal join us on the saxophone. He has definitely evolved on our newest album and was all over Peace Of Mind.
Eargrub: Where do you find your inspiration for writing lyrics?
Rebelution: It’s tough to answer that question, I think just everyday life. We tour a lot, we meet a lot of different people, we have a lot of experience. It’s just getting on the road and seeing what we see. And just the connection between the artists and the fans, the people that are listening to our music. Being on the road, and playing these shows, it’s an extraordinary feeling, performing for the people, seeing how they are intaking and expressing themselves in the live atmosphere.
Eargrub: A lot of your music deals with love and relationships – On My Mind, Running, Route Around – to name a few. Where do you find the inspiration for these?
Rebelution: Sometimes it’s a personal experience. Sometimes I like to put myself in someone else’s shoes. For instance, we released a single, Counterfeit Love, and that song’s not really about a personal experience. But I see people together for the wrong reasons: for vanity, for money. People are so obsessed with money and luxurious things. That song is kind of about that – people being in love for all the wrongs reasons, or faking the love. And other times, yeah, it is about personal experiences, the beauty behind the love, the things that I share with people, and just life experiences.
Eargrub: Do you feel that you have transformed as a person since you’ve become a part of Rebelution?
Rebelution: No, I feel like the same person that I’ve always been. My goal in being in Rebelution, and performing and writing music, is just to be as honest as possible and to not make music for a certain people or make music because it may be a popular type of music at the time; I just want to write music that I really enjoy listening to, writing, and performing. I think if I try to be as honest as possible, people will like it. That’s my goal, I just try to be as honest as I can.
Eargrub: What music are you listening to these days?
Rebelution: I’ve been writing so much music for this album, I’ve just been in writing mode. I need to get back into listening. I like all types of music. I definitely love Reggae music, it’s a big part of my life. Every once and a while I try to keep track of whats coming out of Jamaica and the rest of the world. And then, you know, I’m definitely a fan of a lot of the Reggae stuff coming out of this country. I feel like the Reggae scene in America has shot up, big time. I’m so proud to be a part of it because I feel like the message we’re putting out in the scene is really positive and I think people want to root for positive music.
Eargrub: On that note of positivity, if you were to summarize the message you wanted Rebelution to send to the world, what you wanted your songs to mean to people, what would that be?
Rebelution: I’m definitely trying to motivate people, get people inspired. And music has that power, not just music but the arts – dance, all the arts. I feel like people get inspiration from that kind of stuff. People need to be inspired on a daily basis. Sometimes you need that push, that little kick to get over a hump. For me, music has always had that power. It can transform people into the better. That’s what I want to do, I want to inspire people and make people think positive.
Eargrub: That’s awesome. So you’re on the Winter Greens tour right now. Hows that going?
Rebelution: It’s awesome, it’s great. We’ve hit some really cold weather. This is a really cold winter. Probably the coldest we’ve ever seen. Tonight there’s supposed to be a pretty big storm coming through Eastern Pennsylvania.
Eargrub: Well you’re not going to like Milwaukee then.
Rebelution: Haha, yeah you guys are on a whole other level. I don’t know how you guys deal with it. It’s tough. You know what, It’s actually pretty cool because people want to get out of their homes during this time of year. People still want to see live music. So I’m really happy to tour at this time and, like I said, make people smile, come out and have a good time.
Eargrub: So you were talking earlier about this new album…. when will that be dropping?
Rebelution: Well, it could change but were looking to release it on May 20th. I haven’t really told anybody that except for today. I think we’re going to try to release a lot of material before then too, you know just leak a little bit of the material. The album is done. It’s been mixed and mastered, the artwork is pretty much done. So for us, it’s like why not just get the music out there. With Peace Of Mind we released maybe like half the album for free download before the album came out. I just feel like it builds hype and the fans are excited to hear new material; I feel like it only does good to give away music for free so I think we’re leaning towards doing that again.
Eargrub: Word. Have you noticed your sound mature or change at all in this new album?
Rebelution: I think we’re always evolving. It’s weird, I alway wanted to be something different but somehow – I don’t know it’s really hard to explain. I do feel like we’re evolving. I feel like this album’s very diverse. I feel like there’s some classic roots music, I feel like there’s some folk on there, I feel like there’s some world music vibes going on. We’ve got a couple guest artists on the album. It’s really diverse. I do feel like we’re continuing to evolve but I do feel like we’re still Rebelution.
Eargrub: So how do you feel about the Marijuana movement going on in America right now?
Rebelution: I feel so fortunate, people will give us medicine on the road. There’s a reason why Rastas in Jamaica call it the healing of the nation, and they’ve been saying that for years. Because it really is. When you get high you’re not getting high the way people characterize it to be. What Rastas say is that you’re going to a higher level of consciousness, and that’s how I’ve always perceived it to be. So when people are giving us a gift to get on our higher level of consciousness, that’s awesome. We’ve never really been afraid to preach about it, I just want to educate. Im stoked to be a part of this movement; I think it was maybe 6 months ago they took a national poll and it said over 50 percent of Americans wanted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Thats a drastic change from when Rebelution started in 2004, so I’m proud to be a part of the movement.
Make sure to check if Rebelution is coming to a city near you this winter or spring!