In the world of reggae rock, Rebelution is still one of the cornerstones that have held the scene together for the past decade and a half. Together with colleagues like Pepper and Iration, the four alumni of UC Santa Barbara have released one album after the other with reggae poster Chart topper. Since he entered the scene with his own production from 2007 Courage to grow, Frontman Eric Rachmany and his band have drawn people all over the world – they performed on the biggest stages and even received a long overdue Grammy nomination for 2016 Fall in place.
Now Rebelution is back with their seventh full-length album, In that moment, this Friday (June 18th via Easy Star Records). But for those who are just expecting classic reggae jams, this isn’t quite The beautiful side of life Second part. In that moment gets more experimental and rocking than ever before but still manages to balance this with the smooth reggae that people have come to expect over the years. It’s the kind of project a younger band might have their doubts about, but Rachmany and her crew know they are able to experiment a little outside of their wheelhouse.
SPIN spoke to Rachmany to get his opinion on the new album, the band’s development and much more.
SPIN: It seems like Rebelution has really grown in both reggae and rock in the last few years, and In that moment really speaks for it. How intended was part of this exploration of uncharted territory?
Eric Rachmany: I mean, it kind of depends on what our music is anyway? Is it reggae? Is it rock Maybe it’s both. It’s hard to describe the music so I feel like we’re in our own little zone here. To tell the truth, I just ride the wave. Over time I think I’ve learned to become a better performer and a better musician, and I don’t think there are many other bands that we are looking for guidance on. We looked up to reggae legends for our reggae influence – and even modern reggae artists – but we mix it up so much because we just want to make music that feels good to us. We’re not trying to hit any particular demographics or sound because we feel like we have to fit into that hole. We just make music that we really like.
I know that much of the album was completed during the pandemic, but I understand that some of the tracks are much older. How did that happen?
Yes. Much of this material was written in the last year and a half, but there were a few songs we brought back from old Rebelution recording sessions. There’s a song that started with a guitar 20 years ago but never finished, and now we can finally get it on the album. It’s really cool how some old recordings that were never released made the cut this time around. One of our oldest songs is now one of our newest songs.
You seem to have found a certain formula to release a new album every 2-3 years that will easily top the reggae charts and really excite fans new and old, so what’s the secret of this persistence?
I think it’s just about being comfortable. We’ve been a band for 17 years now and it’s been a slow and steady journey. It’s getting bigger and bigger, slowly but surely. There has never been a time in this band where we felt like the band jumped into a success story overnight. When people come to our shows, they are a fan of singing along to pretty much every song. We definitely have a few songs that are like the Rebelution classics that people know the words about, but most of the time there isn’t one single that everyone expects on our show. To answer the question, I think just the lack of pressure was really nice. It allows us to try different things. Just not having this pressure gives me the freedom to write what I want to write. It frees me to be honest with the music. I think this is huge. I only write and record songs that people identify with. I also think that’s why people are going to like this album.
How does it feel to get an album out the right way when the tours come back and the world seems to be opening up again after the pandemic?
Well the timing is pretty insane because this album has a lot to do with the concept of time. The fact that we put an album out and come back and play shows just makes it a lot harder. We named the album In that moment to remind us to be present in every moment because you never know what life will bring. Nobody expected it, so when I’m on that stage again it will be a reminder to just soak it up for every moment you live. We will enjoy this moment on stage and enjoy the concert with the fans and the relationship we have with the audience. It will be an incredible feeling. The first few shows may be a little rough, but just give us a few shows and we’ll get back to our normal selves. We’re definitely our biggest critic when we play live, but we’ve been playing together for so long that it won’t be long before we click.
Completely independent of In that moment, but after the last album you released a vinyl box set that spanned pretty much your entire career. What was it like to see everything put together in one place?
I think every album takes us back to a certain time in our lives. It brings us back to memories of performing live, where we recorded what style of clothing we wore. I think when the listeners hear an album or a song, memories come back. Art in general is just a great indicator of time and it brings us back to certain moments – both good and sad. It arouses all kinds of emotions. When I look at this box – which, by the way, I love the way it came out – it just takes me back to where we were in 2006, 2008 or 2010. It’s cool because it’s like a story on its own that just looks like this on the covers and the albums to remind me of where I’ve been as a person, as a writer, and as a performer. It’s really cool to see the time through the albums.