Skankers and punkers rejoice with the launch of RareBreed Recording Co.! The East Coast collective of ska, punk, reggae, soul, and indie artists aims to bring the reggae sound to the masses from a somewhat unlikely collaboration of hard lined rebels and relaxed roots rockers.
“For decades, the persevering grit of Detroit and the sound systems in the ghettos of Kingston have inspired generations of music lovers who are passionate about the essence of this music. We’ve seen this music come at us in waves, taking over the suburbs and always giving voice to the working class. The romantic allure of an unlikely juxtaposition; sweet sounds harvested from cultural hardship”.
RareBreed Recording Co. is the brainchild of Vinnie Fiorello (Less Than Jake & Paper and Plastick Records) and Obi Fernandez, vocalist of Westbound Train, the Boston ska and soul group from Hellcat Records. Last summer, Obi was in Maryland with Less Than Jake and they came up with the idea while driving to get some barbeque. They moved forward with the idea and RareBreed was born.
“Vinnie has been a mentor of mine for a long time so now we get the opportunity to do a label together. It’s our passion for creative projects… our passion for punk rock music and reggae music and really seeing how there’s a lot of synergy in those worlds,” Obi told The Pier.
The ska and punk veterans have already compiled an impressive list of artists from various backgrounds. Their experience, extensive portfolios in the industry, and history of constantly working, touring, and rocking only promises they will be an unstoppable force in the constantly budding and evolving reggae scene.
“These sounds are the cries of hope. They are melodies that exist so current and future generations might discover a deep connection to the past and an individuality all their own. This musical movement is undeniable both aesthetically and historically”.
RareBreed Recording Co. Mission Statement: Be who you are or live in the shadow of your full potential.
Rather than saturating the scene with a myriad of music, RareBreed will begin with a series of flexi-disc subscription singles from Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Matt Embree of the RX Bandits, The Young Ones featuring Anthony Raneri of Bayside, Westbound Train, The Slackers, and more. You can purchase the flexi-disc subscription by clicking HERE!
The label will also release 45’s this summer from Jesse Wagner of The Aggrolites and Vic Ruggiero from The Slackers. Be on the lookout for a surge of full-length albums in the near future. However, RareBreed is not here to be exclusive to specific artists by any means.
Fernandez explained, “We knew we wanted something unique. We wanted an experience. One of the things that’s important to me, what’s important to what we’re trying to do, is we want to move this music forward. We want to be able to collaborate with other people that are involved in this genre and be really open-ended and respectful of reggae music.”
They aim to create more than just an audible experience and put tangible records in the hands of music lovers. It is a niche that has been lost in the music industry.
Obi also spoke of the close connection between punk rock and reggae. Bands like Bad Brains, Operation Ivy, Rancid, and Sublime brought together the two styles of music in more ways than just an offbeat.
“There was a certain vibe, a certain message, and a certain aesthetic that went along with punk rock, and its very bold music,” Fernandez says of punk rock. “It’s something that correlates to reggae as well. There’s a certain culture attached to it. I think both really inspire people, motivate people, and bring people together. There’s kind of a universal unity that’s apart of it, there’s a universal embracement of people and individuality.” Rarebreed is here to embrace and contribute to the fusion of these different worlds.
RX Bandits lead singer Matt Embree is the perfect ambassador to represent all of these styles of music and will be apart of the flexi-disc subscription. Obi told us that Embree is “one of my favorite singers, no matter what that guy does its amazing. He’s a big reggae fan; he’s also a big punk rock fan and a big [progressive] rock fan. Reggae music and soul music really stands up to anything.”
Fernandez, a known entrepreneurial and musical guru, and Fiorello, with his celebrated marketing and packaging prowess, joined forces with a creative, albeit, unexpected cast. Keep a close eye on the creative curve balls that will inevitably be thrown our way from the East Coast.
“There is a ton of work to do — lots of music to be made and a soulful message to spread”
You can purchase the flexi-disc subscription by clicking HERE!
The Pier has teamed up with Rarebreed for an incredible Instagram giveaway of the ENTIRE FLEXI-DISC VINYL SUBSCRIPTION courtesy of RareBreed Recording Company (This might be my last write up for The Pier so I can enter)!
Simply follow us BOTH: @RareBreedRecordingCompany and @ThePierOrg on Instagram and tag THREE friends (They’ll be glad you did) and we will choose a winner on FRIDAY, April 17th, 2015. The winner will be announced inside The Pier’s Weekend Show Locator article first thing Friday morning. (We’ll post the winner on Instagram later Friday night.)
Check out an exclusive track from The Young Ones featuring Anthony Raneri called “The Young Ones” (part of RareBreed Recording Company’s flexi-disc subscription)
From left to right:
Vic Ruggiero of the Slackers, Jesse Wagner of the Aggrolites, Obi Fernandez of Westbound Train/RareBreed, Eddie Ocampo of The Insteps/Stubborn All Stars.