Just before Rebelution’s third full-length album is set to release, lead singer and guitarist Eric Rachmany took time out from his busy schedule to speak with The Pier, regarding the Peace of Mind triple album, working in the studio with five separate producers, his favorite track coming out of the studio, the brotherhood onstage between Rebelution and Slightly Stoopid, as well as a few upcoming videos that might spark fans’ interest just a bit! Enjoy!
The Pier: It’s great to catch up with Rebelution again. How you guys find the time to manage all the daily routines of being a band, writing new songs, recording a triple album, touring nearly non-stop, and fielding questions from media members like myself, I have to say, I am astonished!
Rebelution: Well, it’s always great to catch up and discuss what’s happening on the inside, while getting the fans excited for our upcoming release. The Pier has been so good to us as a whole, we were all stoked you enjoyed the album!
The Pier: Well, I guess it’s only proper to compliment you on the amazing triple album. From the moment I pressed play, the next 12 songs might have been some of the best music I have heard since the original Sublime. For you, did you leave the recording sessions with a favorite, or the idea that fans will adore one particular track from Peace of Mind?
Rebelution: One of my favorite songs on the entire album was the one called “Route Around”. It was a really fun song to write, and to be honest, one of the fastest songs I have ever written. We did it while we were on the road, actually staying in a hotel room. Usually it takes me a long time to write a song and be satisfied with how it sounds, but from when we heard it recorded it was really special. It was special to go from how quick it was written to the beauty of the song’s final product.
The Pier: I guess sometimes that simplicity works out for the best. With Route Around’s inception coming on the road, normally, do you need to have a proper environment or personal setting to get into the proper art form to be best suited for writing songs?
Rebelution: It is always different, you know? You never really know when it’s going to hit you. I’m usually a morning person, though. I have an idea when I wake up, first thing, right then. Obviously, it also helps to have a guitar right there, but I also don’t necessarily need it. A lot of times on the road Wes might have a beat, or Marley has a bass line… just being simplistic with a drum and bass line and thinking of the rhythm. We can take it from there. Sometimes, it is just a phrase that I say over and over again in my head, and see where it takes me from there. Other times, I am just starting from the first word of the song and make it to the end. When I’m on one song, or project, I won’t work on another project until I am done with the one I am working on. It’s the way to complete everything, really.
The Pier: In terms of writing, what is the story behind the song “Lady In White”? Was this more of a song about heartbreak, or is there another tale behind this track? The entire song is filled with passion and unrelenting instrumentals at the back-end of the track. You have to explain the energy within…
Rebelution: Oh, yeah! I’m stoked that you like that one! All of us love all sorts of different styles of music, and that’s one of the songs on the album that brings together all of our interests. For the writing, I wanted to write a song about someone who was addicted to drugs. And, part of me for this album was putting myself in someone else’s shoes, and writing on behalf of their perspective. So, I wanted to put myself in the shoes of a drug addict… I’m sure some people might listen to the song and say, “Why is Eric singing about being addicted to cocaine?” But, Lady In White is the euphemism for cocaine. It’s kind of ironic, because I remember being in Austin, TX, playing at place called Stubbs, and a woman in a completely white dress came up to me and asked if I wanted to do cocaine with her. I laughed at the situation because she was literally the lady I was describing in the song. The song is kind of like a tug of war between being addicted and trying to get away from it, and going back and forth. I wanted to see where it would take me in the song. Of course it kind of turned out dark, but the intensity at the end of the track can be left to the listeners interpretation. It was a fun track to write, especially musically with the full sound.
The Pier: To change gears from your writing process, how long did the recording process take, from start to finish, for this triple album?
Rebelution: Ever since Bright Side of Life came out, we began working on the next album. So, really it was almost three years in the making. It’s funny, because when the album is released to the public, it’s almost old for all of us. It just takes a long time to get the final product out there. We recorded locally at Santa Barbara Sound Design, and for this album, we had five separate producers who added their own special touch to recording. But, it wasn’t getting to know anyone first, these were all people who we have met over the years and became friends with. We have had Errol Brown come on tour with us and be our sound engineer for a couple tours now. So, we had him jump in studio with us. Keith Armstrong did the entire acoustic album. We also had Michael Goldwasser produce the dub album, along with working with Amplive from Zion-I and Yeti Beats. They’re all guys that we respect and wanted to have in the studio with us. When I write a song, I show the band my ideas and the theme behind it. It could end up being completely different then what I envisioned for it, but when everybody puts in their two cents we all get to the final product. We wanted to get the producers interpretation of our music. We always have final say over our music in our band. We have our label and our managers who are always there to give us advice to grow. So, if we didn’t like something we can say, “Wow, let’s switch that to this.” Really, we have ultimate control in our music, but it was awesome to get all those producers interpretations.
The Pier: Now, to hit all aspects of your music, while you were on tour with Slightly Stoopid you had Khris Royal on the saxophone for your sets. Were there any thoughts to feature him on this album?
Rebelution: Yeah! We really recorded over half the album before we met him, but once we met him, brought him on tour, we came back home and recorded a little bit more. We kind of did this album in bits and pieces around our tours. The last stint we had in the studio for three or four tracks after the Stoopid tour, we definitely had Khris come in and do some stuff. He actually plays this crazy electric wind instrument called the ewi. “Lady In White” actually has a lot of ewi throughout the track. But, it was great to tour with him and have him on this album.
The Pier: See, I was looking for the saxophone. Now I’ll have to go back and listen for the ewi! Moving to your work with Jacob Hemphill from SOJA. Can you describe what came about for “Meant To Be”, the thought process or writing style you two utilized?
Rebelution: We have actually had that instrumental in the band for awhile, and I started thinking about writing a song about starting over, you know? Take New Years for example; you have a fresh start to the day, the year, even your life. So I had my verse written down, and all of a sudden Jacob calls me, wondering if there was anything in my book we can do together. I said, “I started this song, do you maybe want to see what you can come up with?” He literally called me back in ten minutes with a verse and chorus that was sick. It all happened so quickly. You know, I really love working with artists like Jacob because he is very motivated, inspired to write, and he is just such a great lyricist. It was just really fun to work with him again. He ended up recording it on the east coast and sent it back to us, and just kept on going back and forth until we both thoroughly loved it. We never actually got together and were in the same studio, but it came out pretty special in the end.
The Pier: “Meant To Be” has already received some great praise from your fans and SOJA’s fans, after it was one of the five songs released prior to the official album release date. What was the mindset for releasing one song each week for the last five weeks leading up to the album dropping? Was it just to grow awareness? Give the fans a little sneak peak?
Rebelution: It was a couple things, that’s for sure! The main idea behind it was just giving the fans some new music, because it has been awhile since we put out a record. For us it’s not about the money or sales, it’s about the Rebelution community. I think our fans have been wanting new material for awhile now, and we have been wanting to get them that new material for so long. It just feels good to release new music to our fans. We would have done it sooner if it was all ready, but you can’t push these types of things. And, really, the other reason is we are about to head out on tour for this album. We definitely want the fans to know the material, our new songs and get stoked on it.
The Pier: Along with releasing these select tracks, what was the thought process behind recording and releasing a triple album? That’s a pretty impressive feat, showing your musicianship, maturity and love for music in multiple forums.
Rebelution: It’s true. Well, I love playing the acoustic guitar, even more than electric. We have done a couple of the Moboogie Loft sessions when we stop on tour while in Denver, Colorado. All of those sessions have always been really fun. We’ve played a couple all-acoustic shows, maybe a year ago, in Santa Barbara for benefits, and everyone enjoyed the sound. Each time after the show, we would all say how much fun we had with it. I think we all love playing acoustic so much. But, when you think of acoustic shows, you think of an acoustic guitar. We had the piano and percussion instruments and plenty other stuff to make it a full sound. Our manager Dean actually had this great idea like, “Why don’t you guys do a triple album? You guys are more than capable!” As far as dub, we know lots of great producers and engineers who could really capture the sound we were looking for. Wes and I actually spent about a week in the studio with Michael Goldwasser with our instruments and literally just did it.
The Pier: You mentioned your upcoming tour earlier. With your new record label 87 Music, is the idea behind that to grow the Rebelution brand and imaging, or are there any future endeavors on the horizon to sign up-and-coming bands?
Rebelution: We have thought about eventually signing bands, but we have been working on this new album for awhile and touring constantly everywhere and in between. We basically started 87 Music so that we can brand this name, and then ultimately get bands too, in the future. We also started this up to have total control over our music. We have always done things ourselves, even with the producers on the album, we had the ultimate say in everything. If we didn’t like something, we wouldn’t use it. So, it’s really nice to own your own master, own your own music, and helping others grow to where they want to be. Slightly Stoopid has brought us on tour a bunch of times, and this last summer really showed the true brotherhood that exists within their band and their label. They’re a band that we really love and respect. That’s why you will see us jump on stage with them and share a verse or a chorus, or just let it flow. We love to share the music with each other. As far as bands I really respect now, I really dig Tribal Seeds. I think that they are doing some really cool stuff! I am a big fan of their music and the production that they do. They are really cool guys, very humble, and down to earth. It was great to tour with them last year, too. I really like what they’re doing.
The Pier: We over at The Pier are big fans of Tribal Seeds! Whenever you guys jump on stage together it’s pretty incredible. Obviously, the same goes for Slightly Stoopid. Now, what about Lutan Fyah? He was featured on the song “Good Vibes”. Is there any chance that you will bring him on tour?
Rebelution: No plans, really. Lutan Fyah is like the one guy on the album that we don’t really know too well, but we have listened to his music for ages. Even before we were a band, we were listening to Lutan Fyah. He is one of our favorite dancehall artists out of Jamaica. But, there are no plans in the immediate future to bring him on tour with us, although we would really like to. That would be really fun to have him come out and jump on “Good Vibes”, because he killed that verse!
The Pier: That would be awesome to capture that live! Along with that thought, after releasing studio albums, a dub album, and now the upcoming Peace of Mind triple album with dub and acoustic renditions, are there any plans to record or film a live DVD or CD, just to cover all the bases?
Rebelution: It’s funny you say that! We actually recorded “Live at The Wiltern”, I think it was maybe two or three tours ago. It is being worked on. We don’t know if it will be released anytime soon, but there are definitely plans to do a live DVD in the future. The whole problem is, every time we record something we come up with something cool in our set and want to include that in the DVD and give the most recent Rebelution sound as possible. Eventually we will put out some sort of live DVD, but we want to make sure it’s right!
The Pier: Along the lines of a live DVD, did you guys think about filming a music video for any of the songs on the album, just to highlight the release? This is an extremely highly-anticipated album, a music video would act as the cherry on top, right?
Rebelution: Yeah! We actually just worked on a video for “Sky Is The Limit” a few weeks ago in Santa Barbara. We spent two days just working on it. The last I heard, it was almost done. So, I am pretty sure we will be releasing that pretty soon. It will be something else the fans can look forward to, you know? We have never really done a high quality music video before, so it will be fun for everyone!
The Pier: Wow, I was just asking not knowing what to expect, and now there is something else on the table for the fans to get pumped about!
Rebelution: That’s what it is all about!
The Pier: Well, I have to thank you for taking the time out today in anticipation of your album. I want to congratulate you as well on one of the best albums I have heard from start to finish, possibly since Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the self-titled Sublime album in the mid 90s. Truly Impressive!
Rebelution: Oh, man! That is so good to hear. We are all glad you enjoyed the album, and gave such a great review! We can’t thank you enough and all the support you guys at The Pier do for us. Great questions, too. It really means a lot to hear that from you guys! Are you going to come to the Phoenix show again?
The Pier: Absolutely! I’ll be there at the Marquee with The Green! I have yet to see them perform live, and everyone says I need to capture their harmony live. So, that will be my task for the night!
Rebelution: They are one of the best live acts to see! They are really coming up now. They are like an accumulation of a few bands and took a few members from other bands and formed The Green. And, it’s cool you mentioned the harmony, because our drummer Wes actually started to do some harmony on this album. He could always sing, and now he started to sing with me on every song, which is just awesome. The Green, with five members all together vocalizing the harmonies, it’s a great show! The tour will be amazing!
The Pier: Well, once again, we want to thank you for your time, and we all look forward to the release and Rebelution’s upcoming tour!
Rebelution: Alright, man! We’ll see you guys soon! Thanks a lot!
Interview by: Kris Siuta
-Read Kris Siuta’s Official Album Review for Peace of Mind by clicking HERE
Photos by: Jenni Anspach, David Norris and Kit Chalberg
Here is Eric of Rebelution showing love to The Pier!