June 26, 2020
Written by and interview with Jacque Roche, Journalist and Social Media Marketer
As an interviewer, I have become acquainted with a number of independent songwriters. A perk of the job is to listen and review new music prior to its official release. You’d think with this Pandemic swirling around there’d be endless hours to listen and write reviews. Whelp, guess what … a culturally significant single released on June 19th, and I am solidly behind the 8 ball with this review! For this oversight I apologize, because in my opinion, the new Light Warriors single, “One,” must be heard, shared and understood by the masses.
Another benefit of my job is asking any question that pops in my head, and very often receiving compelling responses. I’d like to share a recent conversation with Light Warriors, founding member and ethereal songwriter, Erik Rabasca, as I think the message is best delivered in Erik’s own words. Please be a reviewer with me as you listen and follow along to One’s lyrics here.
I understand your label, Highest Frequency Records was formed in January 2016. I am intrigued with all your music projects and the message behind them. What was the inspiration behind forming your label?
I’m most inspired by seekers, restless creatives who push the boundaries or aspire to reach for an ultimate truth through the practice and discipline of music. For me, that’s Coltrane, Miles, Allman Brothers, Marley, Sun Ra, CAN, Dylan, Simon. I love all kinds of music, but these are the artists I always revisit and continue to find something new. They always strove to reach higher through vibration and energy.
So why not seek the highest level we can? Music is the universal language. Everyone feels it. And when we “hit the note” as Allmans like to say, that frequency is pure peace, a unifier. It’s the concert moment when everyone gets the chills and you can feel the electricity in the air. That’s the highest frequency. For me, I try my best to serve the song. The tagline is “serving universal language” and we keep doing that over the 12 releases since we launched.
Can you elaborate?
When I get caught up in “winning” and “succeeding” instead of serving, the music doesn’t flow like it naturally should. It can be forced or contrived. Serving music is more like surrendering and ego death. Allowing what is already there to flow through gives us the chance to attain the highest frequency. Now that might sound like hippie, new-age bullshit to some folks. But, I know it’s real because I’ve experienced it enough times when there was nothing planned and then a song like The Devil’s Angels from the first Light Warriors album is in full form in 30 minutes. It’s pure magic.
Highest Frequency Records catalog includes multiple projects spearheaded by you. What are they?
Light Warriors is where all of my other projects come together. It’s the sword and shield of the highest frequency. The songs make people feel good but it’s not all good-vibes-only, that vibe is completely ungrounded. It started out as a solo project. The first album, Survival of Joy (2016), was me on every instrument. The second album, Raise The Frequency (2017) had some amazing collaborators. The albums were really well reviewed. We had some small buzz going in NYC but it was hard to sustain a lineup. If you watched any of those old Behind The Music of all the biggest bands ever, you know that bands that stick together give you a shot at the next level.
So I was actually ready to give up on the project and go solo acoustic at the end of 2018. That’s when our bass player, Angel Sanchez, who had seen me at a bunch of local jams doing this original music, said, “I like what you do and I want to do that with you.” It was a shot of life for me to see how committed and hardworking he was from moment one. My man gave this band life.
Then summer of 2019, Steven Jean Baptiste (dr), Kris Brewer (sax) and Jamarr Jabari (perc) asked if we’d be interested in doing a gig in New Haven. We were in transition with drummers and this felt amazing because we knew these guys from that same jam scene. All great, kind, fun and talented souls. Liz Page, who had been in a prior incarnation of the band, came back to NY. She has the voice of an angel and plays hand percussion. And most recently we added Karen Johnstone on Keys and backing vocals. Karen is such a tasty keyboard player and sings beautifully too. She fit naturally into the group vibes and helped complete the live sound. So we’re seven people now, working on album number three from sessions in February.
Prior to those LW sessions, I had three days to myself. I had some very loose concepts thrown from experimentations with global sounds. I never thought I’d release the music, but over those three days, this otherworldly force birthed the Human Tribes Collective album, Codes of Creation. I was a channel for this music that wanted to come through. It was as if an army of angels finished song structures. Lyrics came in full form with very few edits. I guess the sound is a world fusion meets dub style production from Jamaica, like Lee Scratch Perry, Scientist, King Tubby. When the time is right, I’d like to do more records with collaborators.
Ecstatica is a dream recording project with my friend Drew Moss. We’ve actually never played a live show together. We just create in the moment. We have no idea where the music comes from. We’ve only pre-written music for one song in our four original releases. We did a Grateful Dead covers record too called Fragile Thunder. High frequency vibes for sure. The most recent EP, Blues For Kenny, combined with Human Tribes and One, all mark a new creative level for the label.
Cuebrane is an experimental, guitar-driven project. I create loopscapes and explore sounds. I aim for one-take performances. The two releases pre-date the label, but they feel right for this vision. I recently did a few livestreams on Facebook that were recorded and will likely wind up as an album.
Other Planes of There is a duo project with my nephew inspired by Sun Ra (an American poet, jazz composer, piano and synthesizer player, known for his experimental music, “cosmic” philosophy, prolific output and theatrical performances). Nothing like making music with family.
As 2020 unfolds it has become clear that we are experiencing one of the most significant transformations in our lifetime. I have listened to “One” numerous times. How does your single fit into the narrative, and was the pandemic the impetus for writing the song?
2020, perfect vision. Maybe? (laughter). It certainly feels like a reckoning to some and an awakening to others. It feels like a warning and also an invitation to an age of transformation. When has everyone in the world been unified by a single experience? Yeah, it’s making people crazy because we were all so busy with pre-pandemic life and now we have to look at ourselves and do the inner work that being busy clouded. The natural question coming out of this for me is, is that “normal” life something we want to go back to? I mean, LA has clear skies for the first time in decades. So it’s been good for Earth. Yeah, this is a warning for sure. Mother Earth will destroy us if we go “back to normal.” It’s time to rethink life and how we relate to each other. I think everyone is doing this.
But more immediately, we need to do a lot of work to correct the injustices of the past. Those series of murders were so brutal and heartbreaking. The collective trauma was felt so deeply sparking the protests. It’s hard to