Rebelution Talks About There New CD/Music

Rebelution’s previous album, “Falling Into Place,” gave the group a new form of attention and recognition when it earned the band its first Grammy award nomination.

The nomination for Best Reggae Album was a further indication that the California-based band has become one of the leading acts in the crowded Cali-reggae genre that has exploded in popularity over the past decade.

While it was certainly a feather in the band’s cap, singer/guitarist Eric Rachmany doesn’t see the Grammy recognition as having had that much of an impact on Rebelution’s career or how the group goes about its business.

“For me, it’s not really that important to win any sort of awards, but I think because of that, I think it opened some eyes,” he said in a recent phone interview. “But to tell you the truth, I don’t think we’ve ever had one song or one album that propelled us to a new level. It’s always been a steady increase with Rebelution. To this day, we really feel like our music gets spread by word of mouth. And social media helps a lot, but I really believe that this band has grown organically and naturally. It’s great because it makes less pressure for me and less pressure for the band. We just feel like it’s a steady increase and we’re satisfied with that.”

Rebelution began building a career that shows no signs of slowing in 2004 after Rachmany met his future bandmates – Rory Carey (keyboards) Wesley Finley (drums) and Marley D Williams (bass) — while attending college in the Santa Barbara, California area.

The group took a do-it-yourself- approach to building its career, self-producing a self-titled 2006 EP, followed by its first full-length album, “Courage To Grow,” in 2007, which was released through the California-based music collective, Controlled Substance Recordings.

Despite not having a high-profile record label, the album reached No. 4 on “Billboard” magazine’s Top Reggae Albums chart. The group’s next album, 2009’s “Bright Side of Life,” did even better, topping “Billboard’s” Top Reggae Albums chart, setting the stage for the next two albums, “Peace of Mind” and “Count Me In,” to not only extend the string of No. 1 reggae albums, but debut in the top 15 on “Billboard’s” overall Top 200 chart.

“Falling Into Place” became the fourth straight Rebelution album to reach No. 1 on the Top Reggae Albums chart, and stayed on the chart for 60 weeks. It didn’t fare quite as well on the Top 200, debuting at No. 32. Still, the Grammy nomination confirmed that the 2016 release was yet another success for Rebelution.

Rachmany said being nominated for the Grammy didn’t add any pressure to the making of the group’s sixth studio album, “Free Rein,” which was released on June 15. But the band put extensive effort into the project, and Rachmany says it’s his favorite album Rebelution has made so far.

“It definitely wasn’t a simple, fast process,” he explained. “I mean, we spent a year and a half to two years just working on these songs, from the demo versions to the final product. Yeah, I really feel like this a great representation of our work.”

The band’s ambition and confidence is evident in the “Free Rein” project. As always, Rachmany was the lead songwriter for the project, but he stepped up his involvement in the studio by producing all but three of the 11 tracks on the album with able assistance from engineer Keith Armstrong.

“I think we kind of missed being a little more hands on with the process, and that was one of the main reasons why we wanted to produce this ourselves,” Rachmany said.

But having two tracks (“Settle Down Easy” and “City Life”) produced by reggae artist Winta James, producer for Damian Marley and Chronixx, and another tune (“Rise On Top”) produced by Don Corleon, whose credits include Sean Paul and Rihanna, made for some special moments during the project, according to Rachmany.

“I really think one of the reasons those why those two producers are so wonderful is because they are influenced by a lot of different music as well,” Rachmany said. “They’re not just doing reggae. They take a lot of influences and it shows in their producing.”

Having producers that have worked in multiple genres makes sense for a group like Rebelution. While rooted in reggae, the group, especially since “Peace of Mind,” has incorporated a variety of musical influences into its sound.

For that album, the group branched beyond its reggae foundation, adding
a rock edge to “Comfort Zone,” “Lady In White” and “Day By Day,” doing a gentle acoustic ballad, “Route Around,” and mixing a bit of a lilting hip-hop flavor into the ballad “Closer I Get.”

The diversification in sound continued on “Count Me In” (the title track and “De-Stress” brought a strong element of soul into the proceedings). But with the 2016 album, “Falling Into Place,” Rebelution shifted back toward emphasizing their reggae roots.

“Free Rein” offers a few songs that showcase non-reggae styles, such as the acoustic ballads “Healing” and “Constellation” and another track, “Trap Door,” that leans more toward R&B and rock. The rest of the new album, though, is very reggae-centric, with “Celebrate,” “Rise On Top” and Settle Down Easy” falling squarely in that style, and even songs that filter in hints of R&B, pop and rock (“City Life” and “Take On Anything”) having reggae beats.

“I think that this album might be a little bit less produced than ‘Falling Into Place.’ That might be why it sounds a little bit more rootsy, like our first two albums, ‘Courage To Grow’ and ‘Bright Side of Life,’” Rachmany said, commenting on the musical direction of “Free Rein.” “I think that this album still has a lot of bit of different stuff. But I do think the songs that have more of a reggae groove, were engineered, mixed and mastered in a way that was very similar to our old stuff. So I do think we kind of went back a little bit to that sound.”

A few tunes from “Free Rein” figure to be featured in the shows Rebelution plays this winter, but Rebelution will be careful about how many songs from “Free Rein” are included in the band’s headlining sets.

“We find that whenever we put out a new album it takes about a year for people to get used to it or kind of learn the material so they can sing along,” Rachmany explained. “So we always plan on playing music from all of our six albums. We’ll mix it upon our set list, but it’s also very fun to play new material, and I think a lot of our diehard fans are excited to hear some new stuff.”

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