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A Bright Spot in the Foggy City
by David Johnson-Igra on Jul 24, 2009
Since leaving San Francisco, Eric Rachmany went on to receive a degree at UC Santa Barbara, and now returns as the lead singer of Rebelution. With their debut album Courage to Grow, Rebelution had jumped into the forefront as one of the most promising reggae groups, after being awarded by iTunes with the "Best Reggae Album of 2007". On August 5th they will be stopping on their Bright Side Tour at the Great American Music Hall promoting the upcoming release of their second album Bright Side of Life. SF Station spoke with Eric as he kicked back in Santa Barbara before starting their national tour.
SF Station (SFS): Where’s your favorite place to perform when you come to San Francisco?
Eric Rachmany (ER): So far it’s been The Fillmore. Growing up in San Francisco that had always been my dream because of how legendary the place is.
SFS: State Radio opened for you at that show, on your current Bright Life Tour you're performing with Iration, which has a very different sound. Was this a conscious change to move towards a more roots reggae sound?
ER: I think one of the cool parts about Rebelution is that people can match us up with a lot of different genres. Even though the foundation of our music is reggae, a lot people consider us genre bending because we can relate to hip hop and rock.
SFS: What are your "must dos" when you return to San Francisco?
ER: Probably the food. I definitely am going to Yummy Yummy, which is a Vietnamese spot by my house. I also have to get a Mission burrito.
SFS: How do you like touring?
ER: I love touring. It’s cool being busy every day and waking up in a new town. Now that I get to tour for a living, I’m finally getting to do what I’ve always wanted.
SFS: What were your initial expectations for Courage to Grow?
ER: Before Courage to Grow, we had an EP with only five songs that we had made for our friends. Ultimately, the EP got played in Hawaii and hit the radio in a couple of spots. We never imagined even that would happen. Once Courage to Grow came out we felt pressure to do better than that. Now, we feel the same pressure to do better with Bright Side of Life.
SFS: Do you remember where you were when you found out iTunes awarded Courage to Grow “Best Reggae Album of 2007?”
ER: I was at home looking at iTunes because we had been consistently in the “Top 10: Reggae Downloads.” I just remember looking at it and being like “Wow", with other names being Bob Marley and all his sons -- it was honor to be up there with them.
SFS: Tell me about Bright Side of Life¸ the initial critiques I’ve heard said that the tempos are more varied, is this true? Were there any other things you wanted to go back and tweak after Courage to Grow?
ER: We had a lot more time with Bright Side of Life. On Courage to Grow we had maybe only twelve days, because that was all the money we had to record. Yeah, I definitely think that our songs are a progression of the band. There is a lot more variation, and even in future albums you’ll see us getting into different genres.
SFS: The new single, “Lazy Afternoon”, is a pining love song, was there a particular woman in mind when you wrote this?
ER: Yeah, I was thinking about a girl I had been seeing for a long time. One of the things about being on the road is that it's tough being away from all your friends and family. So when I was writing the song, I wasn’t trying to make it a sad, I was just thinking how nice it would be if I could be with that person.
SFS: A lot of your music is about staying positive -- when you’re on the road or in situations how do you try and stay positive?
ER: I stay focused on the music. Bright Side of Life has a message of encouragement and motivation and it’s not just for the fans, it’s for us too. When I’m in a low mood, I look at the music I wrote and it can pick me up.
Rebelution performs at the Great American Music Hall on August 5th on their Bright Side Tour.
by David Johnson-Igra on Jul 24, 2009