We sat down with reggae roots band Rebelution before their show at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City earlier this week, June 7th, to discuss their newest album Falling Into Place and supporting summer tour. Known for their positivity-soaked lyrics and beautiful bass-lead melodies, this Santa Barbara-based group consists of Eric Rachmany (guitar, vocals), Marley Williams (bass), Rory Carey (keyboard), Wesley Finley (drums) and Zach Meyerowitz (touring member, trumpet).
L4LM: You just released your fifth studio album and are into your second decade of making music together. How does it make you feel?
L4LM: Too blessed to be stressed?
Eric: Well, when you say “second decade,” oh man, that makes me feel old, but that’s cool to think about.
L4LM: Where do you see yourselves going from here? Do you feel like you have several more decades in you?
Eric: Yeah, we just love doing what we’re doing – recording, playing music. I don’t think we’d rather be doing anything else. I don’t see an end to it.
Rory: Five albums down, five more to go!
L4LM: That’s what we like to hear! You just kicked off your summer tour at a sold out Red Rocks. Are there any other spots on this tour that you’re especially looking forward to?
Eric: Philadelphia is always pretty fun – just a really energetic crowd.
Wesley: The Theatre in Westbury, NY that has the rotating stage…We played there four or five years ago with Umphrey’s.
Marley: Florida is always nice.
Rory: The best part of a summer tour is that we get to play outside every day. That’s how we started in college, setting up our stages outside, so it’s kind of familiar being able to go back to that.
L4LM: Yeah, I think your music is probably best enjoyed outdoors.
L4LM: You’re set to play Reggae to the Rescue in Costa Rica, which is to benefit an animal sanctuary there. How did you guys get involved with that project?
Eric: We had a band play with us at a Lollapalooza after party a while ago, Ojo De Buey, and we became friends with them and kept in contact. Their manager puts this on and it’s really cool to be a part of an environmentally-based festival, so we’re stoked. We don’t really get to play internationally too much these days, so to go there it will be pretty cool.
L4LM: That’s great. I’m sure there are a lot of Costa Ricans excited you’re coming. So, your fans are typically into a wide variety of genres – does this give you a sense of creative freedom in the music you make?
Eric: Well, we don’t really base our creativity around the fans, we do it just ourselves, but I think you’re right that our fans listen to a wide variety of stuff. People like Rebelution who don’t even really listen to a lot of reggae, so yeah, I think we feel comfortable trying anything out.
Rory: We all listen to a wide range of music, so that’s what Rebelution is and comes out as. So, I think that’s why people who are the same, that have an eclectic taste, can find at least a song or two of ours that they like, even if they’re not a total reggae-head.
L4LM: That makes total sense. Your musical influences are converging on this latest album “Falling Into Place,” or at least that’s what I’ve read you’ve said about the naming of the album. Do you want to talk a little about that?
Wesley: This album is really about trying to always keep on pushing the sound past the Rebelution-reggae sound, and then also expanding, which I think we’ve done on the last few albums, as well. As for how things fell into place, this is the first album where we worked with other producers – before it was more internal. It came together really quickly, quicker than maybe we thought, and we weren’t exactly sure when we’d release the album, but it really did all literally just fall into place and that’s kind of been a theme with Rebelution. It was pretty cool to see it all come together from different zones and different parts of the world.
L4LM: Tell us a little bit about your trip to Jamaica. Was that just you, Eric?
Eric: It was just me. Basically, I went to try to write a couple songs and it was amazing. I didn’t really leave the house too much, where we were writing. It was raining the whole time, but just being in Jamaica, feeling inspired – so much good music comes out of there. We ended up using a couple songs that were written in Jamaica. As soon as I had the idea, I brought it to these guys and they were like, “Well, we like this, we don’t like that,” and it kind of just fell into place. (laughs)
Rory: Ba dum tss!
L4LM: So, is the “wild-eyed girl” in “Santa Barbara” the same chick you sing about in any of your other songs?
Eric: You know, I’m going to let the listeners try to figure out what that one means. I used to try to explain lyrics, and I think it’s better to let them have their own interpretation of things.
L4LM: Fair enough. So Rory and Wesley, you guys are big into craft beer, tell us little about your collaboration with Rock Brothers Brewing on the ‘Rebelution IPA.’
Wesley: We met those guys through a friend of Marley’s…we love craft beer, and know that our fans love it too. So it gave us a chance to be creative and make something that we already like and now we can give it to our fans so they can experience it, too. It was a no-brainer.
Rory: It’s been a year in the making with the meetings and tastings. I mailed those guys a bunch of beer, my favorites from San Diego, and said “I want to make a beer like this and like that,” and we kind of threw it all together. They had their East Coast influence, too.
Wesley: We passed through town a couple times and we sampled, and I think now we’re at good spot where it’s pretty close to being done.
Rory: June 25th, we’re doing our debut in Tampa, so that’s the first time our fans, or really anyone else, will get to taste it. It’s very exciting – a big 60-barrel batch is brewing right now. 120 kegs of ‘Rebelution IPA’!
L4LM: Will we be able to get a taste of that in New York or is that just a Florida thing?
Wesley: Depends on distribution, but hopefully!
Eric: We’re going to have a massive slip-n-slide with a big pool of ‘Rebelution IPA’
Marley: I’m doing a dunk tank – in the beer!
L4LM: So jokes aside, reggae roots music is known for its socio-political commentary. With California’s primary today, would anyone like to comment on who they’re pulling for?
Wesley: I feel the Bern and I’m going to feel the Bern until he comes around and is nominated. Go Bernie Sanders!
Eric: Yeah, I do too. One thing we’ve talked about is corporations in politics and I think Bernie Sanders is the only one really adamant about separating the two…I definitely feel the Bern!
L4LM: I had a feeling you guys might and I’m very glad to hear that! Some of your songs like “Green to Black” and “So High” have been associated with the pro-weed-legalization movement. Did you ever think you’d be part of it?
Eric: We’re stoked to be a part of it…Cannabis hasn’t really been looked at as medicine amongst the public until the last ten, fifteen years, and we’re trying to touch on that aspect of it. People have seen it as a drug for a long time, and we’re just trying to educate through our music that there’s another side to it. People have been misinformed for a long time.
L4LM: Agreed. Speaking of weed, when you’ve got the munchies – what’s your go-to item?
Eric: I don’t know if I have a better answer than that.
Rory: It’s green, too!
(laughs all around)
Eric: When Marley’s really hungry he gets like a bag of Lay’s chips and puts it in the sandwich.
Marley: Chip sandwiches! If you’ve been to In-N-Out Burger, there’s this thing called “Animal Style” – they named it after me!
L4LM: Uh huh, I’m sure! So, what are you guys into when not on tour?
Wesley: I like disc golf a lot, especially when we’re on tour – I get to play a lot of different courses.
Marley: Golf, the original golf. Lifting weights is really fun, getting a good pump and those endorphins going. I love sports events and music events, and celebrating life with my friends.
Rory: You can’t forget about our croquet battles over the years! We bring corn hole and croquet on the road. Another fun part of a summer tour!
Eric: Being with friends and family, because we are on the road so much, when you get that time off, you get to get back into a rhythm with seeing some of your closest friends that you haven’t seen in a while.
L4LM: What are your favorite moments in all of this?
Eric: For me, it’s just getting on stage. It’s how I’m able to express myself. I think we all get to express ourselves through music. I think that’s where we feel the most free, honestly. Especially the correlation between us and the crowd – it’s such a rush and an amazing feeling.
Wesley: When you have your family and friends in the crowd, too, it makes it that much more special. At Red Rocks, we had three of the four moms there. So it’s a huge family thing and for them to see you at a venue like that, it’s pretty special.
L4LM: I bet that was magical. You constantly have fans telling you your music has helped them get through tough times, and others are tattooing your cover art and lyrics to their body. Has it really sunk in that your music is actually creating positive change in people’s lives?
Marley: For me, I’m really, really thankful for that, but I also try to not let it sink in too much, or read about us or myself too much, and still go about my ways how I have been. It’s a fine balance because sometimes your ego can get too big. You gotta stay true to how this originally took off. So it’s one of those things – very, very thankful, but very, very cautious of letting my thankfulness take me somewhere else.
Wesley: I think for the people who get tattoos or reach out to us, they do that because we don’t think we’re above them…All our album covers are art, it’s not our faces. It’s been that way for a reason.
L4LM: Very interesting perspective. There’s a lot of work that goes into making your sound, creating this album, and running the tour. Is there anyone behind the scenes that you’d like to give a shout out to?
Wesley: Dean Raise, Bryan Sandell… We have some amazing musicians on stage with us who haven’t been with us from the beginning, like Zach [Meyerowitz] – killing it… Khris Royal… The band went to another level because of the horn section and what they’ve done for us. And obviously we have amazing management, cast, and booking agent.
Eric: Shout-out to the people that worked on this album: Supa Dups, Don Corleon, Yeti Beats. Gotta shoutout Amp Live, Keith Armstrong – all the engineers and producers that worked on the album.
Wesley: And Errol Brown, our front of house sound engineer. He’s pretty much an extra band member and makes us all sound good…And our light guy has really stepped it up…He’s killing it.
L4LM: That’s great. Well I really appreciate you all taking the time to chat with me on behalf of Live For Live Music. Keep crushin’ it.
The Falling Into Place summer tour is supported by fellow reggae sensations The Green + J Boog, Stick Figure, and Through the Roots (who seriously brought the heat as openers at the Gramercy), as well as Isla Vista, CA producer DJ MACKLE. Rounding out the Northeast before heading back out West, check to see if Rebelution is coming to a city near you here. And if you haven’t listened to their new album yet, you’re slacking, and should do so here.
*This interview was condensed to fit your attention span.