In 2020, the forced hiatus from touring was a welcome break for Rebelution frontman and guitarist Eric Rachmany, who got married, welcomed his first child into the world, and spent most of the quarantined year living in his wife’s native Guam, taking in the island life, and grooves, which would penetrate the band’s seventh album In the Moment (Easy Star Records).
Embracing the slower pace of the island life, Rachmany, along with keyboardist Rory Carey, bassist Marley D. Williams, and drummer Wesley Finley, who were still in Southern California, began assembling In the Moment, a follow up to the The Dub Collection in 2020, which featured dubbed version’s of the reggae band’s earlier work .
“When COVID hit, we found ourselves in uncharted territory,” says frontman Eric Rachmany. “Suddenly we were just sitting still, which was a completely new experience for us.”
For Rebelution, who also have their own brand of beer with Rock Brothers Brewing and cannabis, in addition to serving on the advisory board of the Last Prisoner Project, a non-profit dedicates to cannabis-related prisoner criminal justice reform, the 15 tracks of In the Moment capture the musical makeup of each band member with Finley introducing more rock edge to the trance of “Simply Captivating,” a track originally written by Rachmany when he was 18 or 19, while bassist Marley Williams injected more hip-hop into “All Or Nothing.” Carey embraced more old-school reggae roots on the evocative “Future Depends” and Rachmany followed suite on the more island-y tempo of the opening “Satisfied” and “Old School Feeling.” The band also collaborated with producer Flict (Wyclef Jean, Sublime with Rome) on the pop-fused “Heavy As Lead.”
On “To Be Younger,” Rachmany sings I don’t have much time / Reality sinks in past my prime and my / My memories define / No regrets / Leave nothing behind… Time’s changing faster than I thought, a sentiment threaded throughout In the Moment.
“It all ties in to this notion of time… whether we have enough time or too little,” shares Rachmany. “I think each song has a different perspective on things.”
In the Moment, a follow up to 2018 release Free Rein, is a celebratory storybook on the passage of time.
“Getting older, seeing the next generation be born, and starting to grow up, it can feel a little scary how fast everything moves,” says Rachmany, “but you have to just keep reminding yourself to be present and make the most of every moment.”
Recorded predominantly during the pandemic, and remotely from the band member’s respective homes, touring guitarist Kyle Ahern—a longtime fan of Rebelution, who become a member of the band after winning a contest to jam with them years earlier—took on producing the album, which also features American soul singer Durand Jones and Jamaican artists Kabaka Pyramid, Keznamdi, and Busy Signal.
In Guam, Rachmany continued to write, insisting that the 15-track album could have easily had 20 songs. “Writing was kind of a way to stay active and kind of feel that music energy,” says Rachmany. “Usually, we put out an album with all the songs we have at that moment, and don’t trim down anything. I think after not putting an album out for a few years, having 15 songs is definitely appreciated by the fans.”
A matured writer, Rachmany, who also hosts the weekly radio show, Cali Roots Radio, on SiriusXM’s The Joint, is less hesitant with his words now.
“Back in the day, I was a little too critical of what I came up with, and overthinking,” he says. “After being in a band for 17 years and learning how to sing and be an entertainer and performer, I’ve learned to be comfortable with my own voice and level of songwriting and feel like there’s zero limitations for Rebelution.”
Rachmany adds, “Some people will tell you that life is short and you’ve got to take risks to get what you want. Others will tell you to be patient, that slow and steady wins the race. To be honest, I don’t know who’s right. All you can really do is trust your gut and follow your instincts, and that’s what this record is all about.”