Approximately two years ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Eric Rachmany of Rebelution and discuss the band's most recent album Peace of Mind. With upcoming shows in southern California, I was again able to catch up with Rachmany to discuss the band's continued growth and upcoming album.
How do you see the band continue to grow and develop?
We haven't really been thinking about it at all. We just kind of do our thing and play music we like to play. Right now, we're recording for our next album and we're having a lot of fun recording it. We're trying to mix it up here and there. We love playing the music that we play. We just have fun. Our fans pick up on that and in turn they like it as well.
Tell me about the next album. How is it going to be different than Peace of Mind?
It's got a little bit of everything. I think I've said that about every album before it comes out. We had options to go with a record label or do this independently. It seemed like a no-brainer from the beginning. We love what we do and there's no reason to strive for anything else. Everything is in-house with Rebelution. We write the music, we decide how it gets put out. We own all our music, and we want to keep it that way. We're satisfied, and we want to keep it grassroots. As far as the new material, it's kind of a wide spectrum of genres. There are some traditional roots reggae songs, folky songs, poppy, hip-hop, rock. It's kind of a mix of everything.
Any idea when we can expect the new album?
We're finishing the tracking of it. We hope to submit it by the end of January and have it out by late spring or early summer.
You're on the road a lot. What's your limit for being on the road before you have to come back home?
Back in the day, we would tour two and a half months at a time. Now we've cut it down to three or four weeks before we need a break. That helps a little bit. I've become comfortable on the road with the amount of experience we have at this point. Next fall, we will have been a band for 10 years. We weren't touring for the first five years. The last five years, we've gotten a lot of experience on the road. A lot of our last album dealt with that: how do we balance this issue of being on the road and finding some down time. That's why we named the album Peace of Mind. You really have to find that zone. One of our songs is called "Comfort Zone" and that's exactly what that song is about: finding that mode in your head where you can be at home at all times. When we get on stage, we love doing that. It's the down time that's a little more difficult. Every night we look forward to jumping on stage. That never gets old.
What's the best thing about having that down time away from touring?
For me, it's exercise. In the winter on the road, you kind of get stuck on the bus. When I'm home, I like to do a lot of yoga. Obviously I get into a rhythm with the things I eat, daily habits. We're learning to be road veterans and bring that stuff with us on the road. We want to accomplish those goals even if we're cooped up on the bus.
How hard is it to bring those habits on the road?
It's tough. You go on late at night and wake up in a different city. I'm usually an early riser, but on the road my schedule changes.
You toured Europe last summer. How is that different than touring the States?
It's different on a couple levels. The festivals we played there were phenomenal. I've never seen festivals that size. We played at Glastonbury and there's close to 200,000 people there. We didn't play for that many people, but it was amazing to see. We also played a lot of small clubs in the UK and France. That felt like the beginning stages of Rebelution - when we started here in California. At first we were playing driveways and backyards, then we migrated to small clubs. It was really humbling. A lot of people in Europe had never seen us before. I like that challenge to gain their respect. It was nice. We're just setting the groundwork for years to come in Europe.
I've heard from a couple different people that they get a different - if not better - reaction in Europe than at home.
That's the cool part about playing in different places. Every crowd is different. People express themselves differently. Music is such a universal language. They don't have to speak English or understand every word I'm saying. They can still feel the energy. Being able to communicate like that is an amazing feeling.
Did you ever imagine you'd go from playing backyards to Glastonbury?
As a kid, I always thought my music would get out there. People would hear it and all of a sudden it would spread to be the biggest thing in the world. The older I got, the more I realized the work involved in getting the music out there. I don't strive to be the biggest artist in the world, but I love spreading the music and the message. To answer your question, no. When I got to college, we played little shows and it was fun. That's all that really mattered. We just enjoyed what we were doing and it spread by itself. I feel like that's how we stay grounded in the music business. I fveel like there aren't a lot of bands out there like us. We've just always done it ourselves.
Rebelution plays The Observatory in Santa Ana on Friday and Saturday, January 3 and 4.