By Bree Davies
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By Jon Solomon
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It's taken time and experience for Eric Rachmany to learn how to be comfortable in the spotlight. Rachmany, frontman for the Santa Barbara reggae outfit Rebelution, is soft-spoken and humble, a songwriter who's uncomfortable writing lyrics about his own experiences. Rachmany says he's dealt with the duties of fame in different ways, from writing songs from different perspectives to incorporating a saxophone player in the band's live shows. We spoke with him about releasing three different versions of the album.
Westword: Can you tell me a bit about the decision to release Peace of Mind as a multi-length triple album? Why did you want to tackle the challenge of approaching the release as an acoustic and dubstep record, in addition to the studio album?
Eric Rachmany: You know, I love playing acoustic music, and acoustic guitar is one of my favorites. Before I was in Rebelution, I was playing a lot of singer-songwriter stuff. We've played a couple of acoustic sets as a band, and they went great.
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For the dub element, we've known [Easy Star All-Star's] Michael Goldwasser for a little bit. He did a dub track of one of our songs off our previous album called "Bright Side of Life." We loved it. We thought it was so good, we asked if he'd be interested in doing a dub version of the album. He said he was down.
The band's creative pace has been fairly consistent: It was about two years after the release of your first record, Courage to Grow, that you released Bright Side of Life in 2007. Peace of Mind has followed the same pattern. Are you falling into a steady rhythm as far as songwriting goes?
I kind of just take each song at a time. I don't have a million songs to choose from for the album. Whatever I have, I put out. Usually I do a lot of the songwriting, but when I bring it to the band, they really help arrange it and organize it and tweak it, in a sense. Everybody adds to the song and, ultimately, how it comes out on the album. But I was thinking about this earlier. I think on our first album, we wanted to record everything that we could also play live; we didn't want to layer it too much. It was really simple. Then on the second album, we really layered it.
I think on this last album, we just went in and didn't have either in mind; we just wanted to make good music. We really experimented, and a lot of us listen to a wide variety of music; we all have different tastes. I think that's why this album is so different. You've got your hard-rock songs, you've got your softer songs, and a little bit of in between. We basically went in and tried to make music that sounded good to us. We really had fun with it.