Light Warriors
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Light Warriors

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Alternative Reggae

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"The Light Warriors"

Erik Rabasca is a poetic soul, transcending the limitations of life to unite people together in his universal mission for selfless love. This passion fuses into the core of the music his band, Light Warriors, creates when they step into a performance space with the intention to connect the people who have gathered together. As we had this conversation, Erik and I delved into the art of music, music as a universal language, politics, social issues, and more. Perhaps the most exciting was the spiritual connection felt as we discussed a rare bird he saw during our conversation, which he describes as, “the color of a warbler but more the size and shape of a cardinal with the head of a robin.”

In order to create, I need a quiet space. There was a point where the city (New York City) was really exciting for me and inspirational, but in order to do the kind of music I'm doing now, I just needed a lot of time and space. I mean, I couldn't do the last two albums if I didn't have my own studio in my own house and the time to explore sounds without time limitations.



So, tell me about the fusion of the classic and the future, as well as genre-blending with Light Warriors. I just love music. It’s been a constant my entire life. I've been in and out of it professionally over the course of a couple of decades. I got away from it for about 10 or 12 years in that timeframe because I just needed to survive. But as I hit middle age, it's easier now to have the time and space to think and breathe and create. So in this lifetime of music and exploration, I've come to love experimental music. I love the classic rock stuff. I love classic soul and funk, the 80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s, now. I mean, there's just so many different genres that have been created and different sounds that just got studied, absorbed and transmuted, and the outcome is whatever the Light Warriors sound is. And I honestly don't even know how to describe it these days. For people who need a genre, it's rock, funk, reggae, mixed with improv and indie sensibilities. But I just want to say that it's music of spirit for people who are open to receive. I think we try our best to channel the real roots of music, which goes deeper than the first recorded music, to the earliest times when the drum was used to communicate. We also really keep an eye on the future, because we’re curious and there's this tremendous amount of technology and possibility that we love to explore and just blend it all together.



Beautiful response. I wanted to touch a little bit about what specifically you love about music. It's the universal language. If you're playing an instrument or singing in a foreign language, people can still feel the music. So, it's felt while being heard. And that's the first form of communication. Before there was spoken word, there was sound. It’s embedded into humanity. So, you know energetically, it's what people receive first. And then for people who like lyrics, there's depth there as well for seekers.

I suppose what I love about music is the ability to communicate universally. And really, how do you get a point of view across? Today, there doesn't seem to be a lot of music that's addressing the issues beyond the individual concerns. How do we get beyond where we're at today, politically and socially? And how do you communicate that in a way that doesn't turn people off? So I love music that has a message. And I love everything about the creation of it. You know, all the frustrations that go into putting a song together and coming out the other side of that with something cohesive and melodic. Sometimes a song just flows out of you. A perfect example of that is the first song of the first album, The Devil's Angels. That was in full form, lyrics, and music, in about 30 minutes, and it just channeled right through. That’s pure magic.

I love being in a band and learning the talents of every individual and how we all communicate together, especially in a live setting. That's exciting. It's really about energy at the end of the day. We create a certain energy that people feel. And going back to that pre-language, it's felt and heard before it's understood and then it gets processed and then everybody grooves with it and they feel it and they want to dance, or maybe they want to think and discuss it. Music is life.



It's clear that human connection and universal inclusivity are really important to you and Light Warriors as well. So I want to pulse on that and talk about that kind of energy and why it is so important to you as an individual and then the Light Warriors as a band. I think it started with the music I felt first. I was always drawn to music with a message. You know, Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," hit me when I was a kid. And, I love reggae, folk music, protest music, especially Dylan, the more conscious rap and hip hop, and I get drawn to those people who are asking the deeper questions. I get drawn to the people who really want to try and come up with solutions and transcend all the issues that we all face. Because, you know, at the universal core, we're all human and that poses certain challenges as we grow through our various life stages.

Myself, I'm middle aged now. So, I just want to give back in some way. And if the only thing I'm able to do is come up with a lyric that connects with people and unites and brings people together—if I can leave the earth with a song that people want to sing—that would be a really wonderful gift. But, you know, it's a tough question also in the current context, because who am I, you know? I'm just a guy. I'm a white, upper middle class kid who went into the world and tried to make sense of it and I didn't always do positive, smart things. I made a lot of mistakes along the way. And I've learned from them and I'm hopefully able to impart some wisdom or life lessons in a creative way. But all of that living just makes me more compassionate, willing to learn and really want to give. You know, I recognize my privilege in life, and I recognize the opportunities I've been given. And I’ve worked my ass off. But I think, how do I serve to the best of my ability? And whoever is able to be open to receive that, that's a great thing. It may be a niche audience, it may be 200 people or a large audience, but whoever feels that, I think will feel an honest expression and hopefully connect with it.



I want to talk about your mission statement: bringing love into action. Tell me about that and why it is so important to you and your group respectively. The source of it is through meditation and the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, who I studied in college and have continually revisited since. People have talked about universal love before, you know with John Lennon and The Beatles "All You Need Is Love" and that sort of thing. But there's the hippie version of that, and then there's what I think is the next evolution. The transformational version of that is how do we transcend all the day to day challenges, all the pain and suffering with kindness? That’s the warrior angle. And the only way to combat all this negativity in the world is through selfless love. And love is tough as nails. Love is a warrior's approach to service. And so for me personally, that lyric just kind of came out through meditation during the songwriting process. I think the band has connected with it, because they've felt the audience response when we sing "Raise the frequency, higher spirit, higher frequencies raise the spirit, raising frequencies, bringing love into action.” It’s a mantra in the set.

The current band is seven strong now, and I met most of them through a local jam scene—open mics, open jams, and I've jammed with them over two or three years now in various combinations. So, I've gotten to know people and become friends with everyone.

I've had unbelievably talented musicians that I've worked with since the beginning. But there's something about our current group, that really only came together a couple of months ago, that has created a certain unique energy together. And when I talked to them individually about being in this band, we explored a lot of these questions of why do you make music? What's important to you? What do you want from music? And they all just love making music as much as I do. They love the connection, and we all had similar philosophies. So, it all works together in a naturally cohesive way. I wouldn't say we’re a particularly religious crew, but there's a spiritual aspect to how we approach life. And that's a commonality that really works well in the group and sets a foundation. When you're reaching for higher heights, it can't be about yourself. Everybody in the group is pretty selfless. Everybody works hard. Everybody has that element and it all comes together and creates a unified energy so that when we hit the stage, we're all connected on a deeper level. And that is felt in the room.



There's a certain feeling that is just indescribable when you're working with a team and things just fit. Everyone's on that stage and you feel like you're floating above. The feeling is just so rich and you're just part of the atmosphere. And it's a beautiul thing. I love that notion of floating above the atmosphere. It can be transcendent. And you know, that's the thing about live performance, it's circular. It's not just about us as a band, it's about how we create together with the energy of the audience. And when the audience receives what we’re doing and gives back, then we get a little bit more creative.

If you’re not open, you won't process what we’re doing, and we won't get to a point of hopefully working towards commonality. Those type of nights can be a microcosm of what’s happening today. At the core, you know, our country is just broken. Our history is ugly with moments of breakthrough but we keep repeating the same mistakes. At the same time, I’m still hopeful that we will get past this adolescence because it’s the dawn of a great awakening. Look, I'm no expert, but I believe we're broken because we've lost connection to Earth and connection to spirit. And that's God for many or but it doesn’t have to be anything religious. It can be as simple as recognizing the moment for what it is and understanding that we're all here together for a finite period of time. So, there's no reason why we need to suffer except by our own choices. People suffer enough on their own. So, how do we create together? How do we live together? How do we hear each other? It shouldn't be as hard as it is.

And I think when we're focusing on social issues and trying to progress and move forward in life, those are things that absolutely need to be at the forefront. Because, you know, you can't affect any change if you can't even listen or hear each other. It's about being able to just simply connect and listen and be able to set aside our differences. I agree with you fully. We’re all born into this world knowing nothing, we all have our individual experiences in these collective settings. And then we pass on. Do the best we can and hope our minute contribution is something positive before we pass on.

What do you feel is important for your listeners to understand about Light Warriors? What's important is that there are no rules in life. And don't come in with preconceived notions. Just be open—open in your ears, which hopefully opens your third eye and your third ear and your heart and connects to your soul. Hopefully, we hit all seven chakras and open up the eighth chakra portal and travel through that together. (laughs) Yeah, I think there's something here musically for everybody. And you know, it's easy to say, “Oh, we appeal to everything and everybody.” But I'm not saying it that way. I think for people who want depth of listening experience, there's a lot to discover in the recordings both musically and lyrically. For people who like the live experience, there's a lot to take in, see and co-create with us, and that's on an energetic vibes level and a musical level.

And I like to say—and I really believe this—that we can't do what we do without doing it together with our supporters, our fans. So, we've got only a handful right now. But I think over time, you know, a larger group of people will come to really enjoy that communal experience we create together. We like to say at every show, “we are Light Warriors and so are you” because everyone can be a light warrior if they choose to do so. - Kizer Quarterly/Off-Kilter Magazing


"Light Warriors Unites Us All With Their Single "No More Division""

Light Warriors Unite Us All With Their Single “No More Division”
Updated: Dec 9, 2019






New York City has always been a place of hustle, bustle, and grind. However, it has always been a place of unity and love. Hailing from the beautiful New York City, Light Warriors are here with the purposeful mission to bring us together with “No More Division”. When the song hits, you are instantly dancing and hearing influence from artists such as The Specials, Bob Marley & The Wailers, plus world music vibes.


The song opens with what can be described as a sonic happy face, making the listeners feel like everything in the world is quite alright, in a time where we need it most. Vocally, the performances on this track range from soft and smooth to in your face. Upon the chorus of the song hitting, you’re already dancing and smiling, as well as thinking about how you can play your part to come together with people, and singing along with “No More Division”. By the end of this 3:36 minute long masterpiece of love, you feel like a changed person, you feel lighter and you feel that we can all do our part in making this world a better place.



Consisting of 7 members, you can really hear how Light Warriors have united for a love of music to bring something totally fresh and unique. With a band name like that, you can also instantly grasp their tangible intentions of simply trying to make the world a better place and doing so in a sonic way that unites listeners of all kinds. Be sure to keep up to date with Light Warriors and listen to their music often, it will make the world a better place for all of us.



Listen to "No More Division" here.

Welcome to BuzzMusic Light Warriors. When did Light Warriors form?

(Erik Rabasca, gtr/vox) Thank you. I’m grateful to be here. I started it as a solo project back in 2015, playing all roles on the first album Survival of Joy, releasing that in 2016. After nearly 130 shows, we have a great group of players with a singular vision.



Being a band of 7 amazing members, how did you all find each other and come together?

It’s simply beautiful how energies align when the time is right. After that first album, there were a lot of players I collaborated with for shows. So many talented people but who also all had other projects. It was challenging to gain a commitment which is vital for any kind of momentum. So I rolled two to three deep in every band position for awhile. In 2017 after releasing Raise The Frequency, I was able to sustain a lineup for a period before everyone’s life circumstances moved them to other pursuits and opportunities. Liz Page (vocals and hand percussion) was a part of this group. She went to school in New Orleans for the better part of the next year while I hit reset mode.mIn addition to doing group and solo shows, I was also going to a lot of open jams to meet other players during this transition time. One of those players, Angel Sanchez on bass, said he liked what I did and wanted to be a part of it. So we did a bunch of shows together with Nick DiFrisco on drums (who I had done prior gigs with) from Dec 18 through the spring of this year. Liz came back in the fold around this time and we rocked as a quartet.



Then, Nick tore like three major ligaments in his shoulder and has been out for at least six months now. We got a call to do a show in New Haven with some friends from the open jam scene in August. Angel was in a band previously with Steven Jean Baptiste on drums, Jamarr Jabari on percussion and Kris Brewer on sax called Southwind Social Club. We had all jammed a bunch together already over a couple of years thanks to Arch Street Collective and Two Bald Crew in southern CT. So the gig went incredibly well and we decided to do it again. As Nick was out of commission, we moved forward with this unit, adding Matt Hichar on keys to make us seven who we met through a friend of Nick’s. We’ve now done about 20 shows since the summer. We‘re having a great time, working hard and really starting to hit that higher level of soul connection. It’s like family. And we’re all on the same unity vibe of the song No More Division. We all believe music is a transformative force for good. After five years, it feels like we’re finally at the starting point. The best is yet to come.



The music is very cohesive for 7 different people coming to lay down a sonic masterpiece. What is your biggest struggle when writing within a group of that size?

Wow, thank you for your kind words. Our biggest challenge is scheduling!! (laughs) So I’ve pretty much set the tone to date on record. But the tunes have transformed life as everyone’s individual contributions have evolved of our collective sound and vibe. We’re listening to each other on a deep level which creates that natural intuitive space everyone to shine.



What are some other battles that Light Warriors try to fight with your music?

Like everyone, we’re all working hard to create space that allows the music to thrive. And we’re succeeding at that despite the daily life challenges. The main battle we tackle is the relentless pursuit of truth. We have to remain true to ourselves as creative and kind individuals and then true to the group pursuit of bringing love into action through our music. Love is the highest frequency of the universal language. So when we connect to that universal source, there’s no denying truth of the moment. In these current times with media skews toward advertising demographics, with social media feed bombardment, with lack of political integrity, with everyone screaming at each other, with the lack of trust, it’s so easy to be jaded and spiral in that vortex of negativity. But energy both feeds and co-creates new energy. So we’re tapping the positive energy that needs nourishing and healing by staying true to ourselves with every note, every lyric and every show. It’s a discipline especially with so much thrown at all of us every day. If anyone of us is in it for anything other than channeling that light, if it becomes about fashion or status or ego or any of those life distractions, then we’re not fulfilling our mission. We’re all in it together and we can only get to the next level together. So we continue to battle together and inspire each other to reach new heights.



What is next for you all? Can we expect touring and new music soon?

We are hard at work on new music. Ideally, we’ll have an album for mid-year but we don’t want to rush the natural flow of creation. So we’ll balance that desire with soul satisfaction. But we’ll definitely have something by spring...even if it’s a single. We’ve been playing a bunch of shows from New Haven, CT to Brooklyn and Manhattan and out to Long Island. We’ll keep working that circuit and with the next release, we’ll likely hit Boston to DC on the east coast and then the route out to Chicago and back. We’re going to do a live stream from the studio the first week in January as part of an international event with 7 Days of Rest “to begin the new year by co-creating a global unified field of intention and experience dedicated to the healing and replenishment of the planet and all its inhabitants.” Please follow our socials for more on this. For anyone in and around New York City, we’re doing Sofar Sounds on Friday, 1/17 and then at Bowery Electric on Thursday, 1/23 at 8pm for Bridging The Music’s Winter MiniFEST. Connecticut folks can catch us Peaches in Norwalk on Saturday, 1/25 before we take a hiatus to finish recording. Thanks so much for the opportunity to speak together. - BuzzMusic


"TOP ALBUM: Raise The Frequency 4.2/5 Stars"

By Jamie Robash. Back in October when Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature it left a lot of people scratching their heads. Myself a lover of both literature and Dylan was also scratching my head, but perhaps for different reasons than other people were. I thought they should have given him the Peace Prize. I mean the guy spent the better part of his career writing extremely well crafted folk and rock songs that covertly skewered so much of the corruption and all out warfare both at home and abroad that was plaguing our nation at the time. He didn’t have to do that. He could have written about any other number of things. But the fact is that he didn’t, and he wanted to see people chill and just be cool and happy.

​Another such person who uses his musical efforts to speak about peace, love, and understanding is the multi-instrumentalist Erik Rabasca, who records under the Moniker Light Warriors and whose debut record, which I had the pleasure to review last year, Survival of Joy was a breath of fresh air both for its wonderful musical compositions that blended funk, rock, and reggae to name just a few of the styles, and set the songs alight with lyrics that came from a mind that wasn’t spewing anger at the atrocities going on in the world, but rather bringing them pleasantly into the light, showing them for what they are and asking others to see what he saw.

On his latest record as Light Warriors, Raise the Frequency, Rabasca once again uses his musical pulpit to preach about peace and the awareness that it is still possible despite all the negativity that one encounters on a daily basis.

Raise the Frequency opens with upbeat island reggae sounds of “No More Division.” Backed by steely drums, a wicked electric guitar and cooing backing vocals and a reggae-rap breakdown it’s the perfect mix of power and message and the perfect opener as it gives the listener an idea of what they’re in for, a ride that will be both positive and funky at the same time. We find this blend on the lighter and melodic side for “Third Eye Sees” which then gives way to the heavier reggae-funk “New Breed” a powerful piece of music.

One of the best components of Raise the Frequency is that along with sending out a positive message, it’s also an incredibly focused musical effort. There’s the heavy hitter of jam band funkiness “Rise Above,” which then gives way to the more mellow and dance inducing “Raise the Frequency” which is well worth the six minutes of your time. And Light Warriors does not disappoint, closing out Raise the Frequency with the stunning musical bildungsroman “The Sounding of the Trumpets” which is one of Rabasca’s most ambitious compositions to date.

There are artists who make art for money and there are those who make art as a hobby and then there are those who make art because they have something to say, something that needs a platform like music to be delivered. Light Warriors continues to draw on the powers of more ancient and world styles of music to deliver their messages, styles that date back for sometimes hundreds of years if not more, styles of music made by people who lived and worked together and wanted only peace, love and happiness in their lives. It is great to see this tradition continued by such an enormous cast of talented singers and musicians. - Divide And Conquer Music


"Album Review: Light Warriors - Raise The Frequency"

Raise The Frequency is the feel-good, reggae-rock pick-me-up we needed in 2017. In many ways, New York City-based Light Warriors live up to their name, as they seek to spread good vibes and provide a feeling of peace to listeners -- this is achieved through a unique blend of influences, ranging from rock to reggae to smooth jazz.

The first two tracks, "No More Division" and "Third Eye Sees," are a perfect introduction for those are just getting acquainted with Light Warriors. Both tracks set the tone for the rest of the album with a warm, friendly vibe, and lyrics about unity and unconditional love.

In the light jazzy tracks that follow, it's easy to get lost in a trance, but then "Rise Above" swoops in as a standout track, with a positive message of finding the strength to overcome pain. One of the best parts of "Rise Above" is the addition of some new voices. The last minute of riffs and runs from the gospel choir singers is one of the album's most empowering moments.

Following "Rise Above," the soft guitar instrumental of "Raise The Frequency" brings us back down to earth for a moment, and then picks up the reggae groove again. Lyrics about PTSD and destruction of the natural order almost slip by in a smooth vibe of the song, providing that one of the qualities about Light Warriors is their ability to deal with difficult topics in song.

Though "Industry Soul Killer" takes listeners on a brief diversion from the "good vibes" theme the album maintains, it's also necessary and important, as it shows listeners a moodier side that's been waiting come out.

The album concludes with the transcendent instrumentals of the final track "Sounding of the Trumpets," until the last chorus leaves us with some final messages, including to "break free from the trends" -- something Light Warriors does very well, as they a balance between rock and jazz, and share impactful messages on politics and power without letting them overpower the peaceful, easygoing vibe the album strives for. - White Noise Zine


"Interview: Light Warriors' Erik Rabasca July 2017"

We recently had the chance to talk with Erik from Light Warriors about his music, and being on tour these past few weeks. Down below is his next show, and if you live in NYC, make sure to check it out!

7/13 // Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1 // NYC

https://www.facebook.com/LightWarriorsMusic/

Interview by: Samantha Toy

You released your album, Raise the Frequency, a couple of weeks ago. How has the reaction been?

It’s been incredible. People are telling me it deserves focused listening for the lyrics, layered instrumentation and melodies and that it also plays well in the background. The professional reviews and blog responses have all been positive. I even was compared to Bob Dylan in one review for “skewering corruption” in the same way he has over his career. That’s the highest compliment you can receive as a songwriter. I’m still blown away by it. And Interestingly, before that review, I had been thinking about doing a Dylan covers EP. Now I’m going to have to do it.

How did you come up with the album name and what is the meaning behind it?

The title for the song Raise The Frequency came to me in the middle of the night…I’m a terrible sleeper and often am awake around 3am. The day I came up with the verses, I had been trying to tie it all together with a hook. What can overcome all of those issues from environmental destruction, longing for connection to incredible life struggles and stress? Love, selflessness, egoless commitment to producing something positive. Because to love is the highest vibrational and energetic frequency humanity can achieve individually and collectively. And to solve these global issues, we can’t come from fear and hatred and protectionism. We can only operate from the highest achievement of the heart and soul: Selfless Love. But we it’s vital to be based in reality and know when there’s a time to push back.

When I looked at the subject matter of the other songs like Rise Above’s take on gun violence, Industry Soul Killer’s war profiteering, our failed-decades-old middle east policy and the blind hatred of people in Maybe Some Day, the cry for unity of No More Division, the mass spiritual awakening of The Sounding of the Trumpets and so on… all of these songs ultimately come from love. Love with purpose, direction and strength. And sustaining that requires the discipline of a warrior.

Now, we know there are dangerous people and forces at work in the form of corruption, greed, manipulation, and mass distraction from the power elite. We can’t be blindly idealistic. Escapsim doesn’t solve anything. So, the practice of staying present and focusing on solutions that combat those forces over the long haul, gives me hope that we can experience the next era of enlightenment. All of these positive activist forces like The Women’s March to the light workers (Reiki, Harmonyum, and more) that are bringing spiritual healing to individuals, are contributing to the next era. Hopefully, at the worst point in our global community, and it seems like we are very nearly at that point, we can bond together and, quite literally, raise the frequency of humanity out of its current adolescence – which has placed emphasis on bullying, manipulation, reactionism, selfishness and demonstrations of strength by military force, in getting ahead individually, monetarily and internationally. These are concepts whose time has long past. It’s bankrupting us on every level. So, Raise the Frequency seemed to be the perfect title for these times.

How does this album differ from your previous music?

Production-wise, on Survival of Joy, I found my producer’s voice. Raise The Frequency is an evolution of that production style, capturing improvisational moments that give you a live feeling but produced enough to hopefully, in the ears of listeners, create something that connects on an artistic level.

Raise The Frequency also rocks harder and is more ambitious musically than Survival Of Joy. There are more guitar solos, more movements within songs, more blends of styles, sometimes with multiple genres in a single song. The choruses have sticky hooks.

I had a lot more help than I did on Survival Of Joy. All of my collaborators just went for it on this album. My co-producer was my initial set of ears that validated tempo, tone and feel. The musicians and artists – Alex Kaufman on drums, Kyle Conlon on drums and percussion and on select tracks with Ruff Scott and Miss Olithea on vocals, harmony and ad libs, Alan Ware on keyboards, Greg Coffey on bass — All gave me everything they had, feeding the energy in a way that I couldn’t have done by myself. The technicians, Jim Scott and Kevin Dean at PLYRZ Studios did an amazing mix. And How Kaufman, Alex’s dad, gave us the warmest mastering job you can get.

Why did you choose “Rise Above” as your debut single?

I’m just sick to death of decades of gun violence and nothing being done about it. We know a couple of things… overall, gun violence has decreased over the decades. And we know that some violence and crime is committed with illegal guns. But it’s all too easy to buy a gun these days. We have the NRA basically owning Congress, who is obviously only concerned about getting elected again and all too happy to take the NRA’s money to do so. You’d think they would take a positive position to stick up for someone like Philando Castille as being a responsible gun owner, before he was murdered. But, putting aside how racist the NRA’s silence was in the aftermath of last year’s killing, guns are big business and they create wealth. Wealth that’s held in the hands of the few. The NRA wants their gun companies to sell more guns so all their gun stocks go up and they can keep people in power that continues to support that wealth. They’ve created this distracting, false narrative, starting with Obama, that “he’s coming to take your guns” and it’s “an assault on our Second Amendment rights” and continuing through with “guns keeps us safer” to sell more guns. Which they did. Ironically, gun sales have apparently slipped with Trump in office. It’s all fucking bullshit. A manipulative game resulting in death.

Now more recently, with the shooting of Scalise and others in DC, you’d think these assholes in Congress would have a moment of introspective truth, that perhaps all of these guns are not a good thing. But, no. A Republican proposed a bill to let Congressmen and Senators carry weapons which puts more guns on the streets, even when legal. So, playing this out, let’s say another angry person goes on a shooting spree at the next Congressional softball game because they’re distressed about no healthcare or no economic opportunities. Are these guys good shots under that kind of pressure? How many innocent people will be collateral damage in an attempt at what will likely be claimed as “self defense”? So, what the song proposes is that this addiction is a shackle on our nation. It’s time to break free of it by refocusing our thoughts and energy on more important issues… and what’s implied is the issues focus on human rights, justice, equality and just being a good person. I’ll end my rant now.

You’ve been playing a couple of shows in Connecticut and New York in the past few weeks. Did your shows have a good turn out with fans?

The turnout has been really good. That’s partly because I’m playing places with built-in audiences like Sofar Sounds and Greenpoint Gallery. Of course, I’d love to sell out every place we play, but we’re just getting started. Whether I’m solo acoustic for Sofar Sounds, which puts more emphasis on the lyrics, or with the full band at the likes of a Rockwood Music Hall, which puts emphasis on collective energy, the fans are smiling and vibing. I can see when people are focusing on the lyrics, which are dense and rapid-fire in some songs and when they’re feeling the happiness of the energy in the way they move to the songs. The immediate and positive feedback is that people are hungry for positive commentary on the current divisive political and global climate. That keeps me going and helps us grow.

What are your plans for rest of the year?

I’ve been pushing pretty hard since recording began in October. We have a few shows this summer. But, I’ll be recharging, doing some writing and hopefully prepare for doing videos for a couple of tracks in September. Then doing some fall shows before beginning recording for the next album. - Veracious Magazine


"Light Warriors Interview - Rise Above June 2017"

Light Warriors Interview – Rise Above
by Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman June 12, 2017 12:43 pm
Tagged With: Acoustic, Funk, indie rock, nyc, Rock, singer, songwriter, Soul

Light Warriors Launch at Rockwood
photo by Tucker Mitchell
Positive-vibes-only, Reggae, Jam band, Light Warriors, are stoked to premiere their latest single “Rise Above”. The track acts as a force for unification and peace, making a powerful statement against the senseless gun violence that continues to grip our world. “Rise Above” fuses mellow but catchy, Reggae guitar hooks with raw lyricism to awaken and inspire listeners.

Erik Rabasca leads the charge for peace and positivity with Light Warriors, having recently liberated himself from the corporate grind in favor of mindful, spiritual music-making.

Rise Above is a bare-knuckled response to the endless murder cycle and resulting family and community destruction by gun violence.” – Eric Rabaska

In this interview spotlight, we chat with Erik about influences, the latest project, navigating the fast changing digital world and more.

Full Q&A along with links and streams below.



Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)

I’ve lived in and around NYC my whole life. The city is exceptional, exciting and challenging. It flows with creativity and industry. It’s an endless well of inspiration if it doesn’t kill your soul first.

Light Warriors makes positive music. The new album, Raise The Frequency, is blend of moods and styles that hopefully make us feel part of something outside ourselves. Production-wise, it’s maximalist with lots of tiny surprises of melodic interaction and sound tucked into the corners and moments of each song. Lyrically, I’m singing about these times. There’s a hopeful light trying to shine through even when I’m tackling heavy subjects like gun violence.

What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?

I’ve had “normal” jobs and a career in advertising and was never happy. I quit corporate America three times to pursue music. It’s how I can best express myself. For me, music is the true universal language. It’s vibration, energy, healing, transcendent, spiritual. Music the ultimate weapon of truth. It’s a unifying force. And that’s the motivator, because when I am able to shut the ego down and simply flow with every note, word and sound, I continue to grow as a person and an artist. And ultimately, I’m able to make connections with people. At a recent solo acoustic show for Sofar Sounds NYC, someone said I made them cry. I apologized. She said it was joyful. That was the ultimate compliment and validation.

How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?

Raise The Frequency has more urgency than the first album, Survival Of Joy. The political climate and the breakdown of human decency along with the steady trickle of the earth’s destruction contributed to the emotion and energy of it.

The urgency also came from the recording process and the deadline I was on to work with Jim Scott of PLYRZ Studios. Over the summer I was committed to finishing an album for one of my side projects, Ecstatica (which is an instrumental experiment) and a collaboration with Intellectually Transmitted on a single called Two Party System. Along a with consulting job I had, it wasn’t until October that I could clear my head to focus on Raise The Frequency.

I had time scheduled in November with Jim, who was going to do the the mix. He’s worked with the biggest names in rock music. So I naturally wanted to push myself to that level. I only had 5 weeks to finish recording. So all of that excitement combined with national energy of the election was channeled into the album. It feels right for the times we’re currently experiencing.

Do you face challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? How has technology helped you (assuming it helps)?

Yeah, tech certainly has its pluses and minuses. The volume and speed of media consumption certainly makes staying top of mind a challenge. Most musicians face the challenge of being seen before being heard in a media environment where newsfeeds only provide milliseconds for a click of interest.

But, it’s amazing how technology has made recording, distribution and connecting with your audience so easy. Being a drop in the ocean doesn’t really matter when you’re connecting with people who are genuinely interested in what you do. So being heard becomes all about passion and hustle. It’s a marathon with lots of sprints.

I guess the biggest challenge I have is probably the inability to clone myself…there’s so much I want to do at once that I can’t get to it all.

Where can we connect with you online and discover more music?

My SoundCloud and Bandcamp both have the recent single, Rise Above, and will have the Raise The Frequency before the other online channels.

I deliver something a little different on each my social channels. Instagram is more live show and art focused. Twitter is more political. And my Facebook page covers everything.

Anything else before we sign off?

I’m just really psyched for people to hear the album. There’s something for everyone on it.

And thank you for the great questions. It’s a pleasure to think beyond the standard industry stuff. - Indie Music Discovery - Mid-Tennessee Music


"Light Warriors premiere positive-vibe single, 'Rise Above'"

By: Lindsey Borders AXS Contributor May 5, 2017

The genre-bending band, Light Warriors, is fronted by Erik Rabasca, who decided to quit his corporate job and wanted to commit to raising awareness about human rights issues through his music. He combines his love of jazz, reggae, and spirituality, his upcoming album blends genre lines. Rabasca decided to settle on the name of Light Warriors, as it was a great way to create a communal and progressive musical experience.

Rabasca's album is scheduled for a later release this spring. Light Warriors' main goal with his music is to be a positive force in an often negative world. His idea for his singing name and music, came to fruition with Rabasca's love of his preferred music genres, and, focuses on the positive aspect of situations and circumstances that take place in an often lost world that we live in. Although formed just recently in 2015, Rabasca has made great strides with his music.

With sharing their new single, Light Warriors' Rabasca shares that "Rise Above" is "a bare-knuckled response to the endless murder cycle and resulting family and community destruction by gun violence." - AXS


"PREMIERE: Light Warriors stream new album 'Raise The Frequency'"

Light Warriors, led by Erik Rabasca, are gearing up to release their new album Raise The Frequency, and we are thrilled to stream it exclusively today. Rabasca started Light Warriors after deciding to quit his corporate job and commit to raising awareness about human rights issues through his art. Jazz and reggae combine to form an album without the boundaries of typical genres, and Light Warriors bring strong messages and positivity throughout. Raise The Frequency is the perfect way to start a new month – filled with hope, good vibes, and great tunes.

Rabasca gave us some insight on the new song “Industry Soul Killer” and the album as a whole:

“Industry Soul Killer” is about the generational failure and monetary waste of the military industrial complex. The pentagon tried to bury evidence of $125 billion lost in bureaucracy…waste funded by tax-payers. And no consequences. No one fired. When industry profit reigns over humanity, as lyric goes, “money is the bullet” killing us. There’s a more enlightened path to power than military might.

The songs on Raise The Frequency are about the power of collective energy with positive intention. We’re living in reality but ultimately hopeful even when addressing violence and despair. When we selflessly pour love into every interaction with the strength and discipline of a warrior, we can decimate this destructive path humanity is currently on and lift each other up. We can only do it together.


Stream the album below and be sure to connect with Light Warriors online for more! Also, if you’re in the NY area, do yourself a favor and get out to an upcoming show:

6/2: Album Release Show – Greenpoint Gallery, Brooklyn

6/3: Sofar Sounds, NYC

6/28: Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2, NYC - Groundsounds


"TOP ALBUM: Survival of Joy 4.2 out of 5"

Light Warriors

Survival of Joy
self-released; 2016

4.2 out of 5 - TOP ALBUM

​By Jamie Robash

Music is powerful. It can be hateful or hopeful; it can send messages in ways other mediums cannot. It can both pick you up and put you down, sometimes just within a few bars. It all depends on who is at the helm, the person or person’s creating the music, setting the mood, creating the feeling. In the case of New York’s Light Warriors, the captain of this vessel is multi-instrumentalist Erik Rabasca. His idea for Light Warriors reads like a manifesto, or a call to arms for positivity in a world whose major news outlets bait their hooks with stories of depravity and despair and bring in a miraculous catch of fish. Light Warriors was born out Rabasca’s idea that “In today's onslaught of negative information and soul destruction, we need a warrior mentality to remain positive.”

​Rabasca’s debut record under the Light Warriors moniker Survival of Joy is an amalgamation of musical styles ranging from dub reggae to dream pop, from folk to jazz, and even delves into the realm of experimentation. There is often a caveat that when a singer or a band flies a banner for a cause that the music they make often ends up coming out as preachy and generally a bit flabby because all they are focused on is getting their message across. Light Warriors doesn’t let that happen. Rabasca doesn’t sing from a soapbox, but rather from the same even ground on which we all stand. His lyrics are not preachy; they’re astute observations put into words by a man who’s obviously given a lot of thought to the world going on around him.

The spritely acoustic and steely percussion feel of the opening track “The Devils Angels” is reminiscent of Paul Simon’s epic Graceland, and its beautiful melody draws you in as it changes course like feather falling from the sky. In stark contrast “Truth Exists in the Moment” takes a slightly dark turn and sounds at times like a jam session between Earth Wind and Fire and Jethro Tull. This leads into the spacey reggae-rock “Times are Hard.”

What Rabasca is able to do so well, and part of what makes Survival of Joy so good, is that he is able to intone with a subdued yet still powerful ferocity, the message of hope which is woven into each one of his songs. He does this even on the lighter fare on Survival of Joy like on the somberly triumphant “Outrage” and in the vein of dreamy pop on “Step into the Free.” But he saves the best for last and turns the final song “So Goes the Story” into a gloriously positive rock-fueled closing anthem.

On Survival of Joy Erik Rabasca has seamlessly welded together a plethora of genres and has shown all of which serve the record like musical metaphors which helps to further his acutely powerful messages of peace, love and hope. - Divide And Conquer Music


"Light Warriors Latest Release Reaches Highest Frequency"

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 know if the timing was right to release it in the aftermath from the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks.

I think that energy went into the final mix somehow. The song feels like a plea on some levels. But “One” is not a call to action or an idealistic ungrounded declaration. It’s a discussion, a series of observations, seeking and speaking truth.

You speak of the song making its purpose known somewhat organically. As I read the lyrics, the message becomes clear to me. Would you tell us how you came to write this stirring prose, and what you hope listeners will take from it.

I don’t even remember writing my verses. That’s when I know it’s hitting the level. And then I wanted Jamarr to do the third verse. Because he’s involved in a lot of social justice and human rights activism, I knew the topics he’d touch on would continue the conversation. I love how his flow allowed for more voices…that’s Steven and Liz doing ad libs in his section… and then he brings it home with the call of “Light Warriors!!” and all of us hitting that note together. Karen is in on that. It’s a great moment.

Lyrically we touch on a lot of relevant and current topics even though it was written and recorded before the pandemic was declared. And interestingly the subject matter in Human Tribes Collective songs speaks to a lot of these issues as well. It’s hard to say what people will take from it. I hope they feel it as much as they contemplate the words.

One was released on Friday, Juneteenth with the bands fully supporting racial justice organizations donating 100% of your share. Please speak to that, what organizations you are supporting and how can those interested in this cause contribute?

Yes, it was important for us as a band to come to this decision together. We all approved releasing in honor and celebration of Juneteenth. I hadn’t really planned to release this until we had a chance to do the normal industry planning and promotion cycle. But, it just felt right to do this as a Bandcamp-only release because that platform was donating all its proceeds that day to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the top national organization fighting for racial justice. So we wanted to contribute to that effort because they can have the type of impact that affects systemic change.

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol is a great organization I learned about through a friend. They are a premier youth-development organization teaching young people skills to engage is art, activism and social change. The more I learn, the more I hope to be in a position to support.

I understand you have plans to continue to update “One,” and by the end of our Pandemic Year the single will have transformed into something more current.

Yes, the thinking is that perhaps some of the lyrics will change. We’re also reaching out to our artist friends to see who is in the position to contribute verse. If we can get enough, we can tell a variety of stories, like chapters in a book. We’ll see who is able to clear space.

I will wind it up and thank you for answering my questions. Apologize for not having this blog written in time to take advantage of your release fund drive and ask you for any parting words. (Maybe if people want to learn more about your cause, or how they can support the causes you embrace?)

In my household, we like to say, you’re in the no-sorry zone, unless of course you did something deliberately that you’re sorry for. Not the case here!! (laughter)

Thank you for the opportunity to share the Highest Frequency story and talk about all of the great projects. I’m coming up on five years in January. There’s a bunch of projects in the works that I hope share more about at a later date.

Until then, we are going to continue to donate any money earned from the sales of One on Bandcamp to NAACP Legal Defense Fund and The Brotherhood/Sister Sol. If people want to make donations on behalf of Light Warriors, we’d be grateful. - Hear It There


Discography

One (Single) - June 2020

Raise The Frequency (Album) - June 2017
Rise Above (Single) - May 2017
Survival Of Joy (Album) - May 2016

Photos

Bio

Inspired by a survival of joy within the current onslaught on negativity, Light Warriors channels the subtle realms in every note, raising our collective frequencies and bringing love into action through an ancient-to-future synthesis of  sound that blends rock, funk and reggae with global indie sensibilities. create a sound uniquely its own. Their music is both familiar and boundaryless, transmuting an energy that invokes uplift from the hopeless mundane, peace within and deep connection to our global human family. 

Originally formed as a solo project in 2016 by Erik Rabasca (Guitar/Vox) in New York City, Light Warriors has organically grown to seven members (Steven Jean Baptiste - Drums, Kris Brewer - Saxophone, Jamar Jabari - Percussion/Vox, Karen Johnstone - Keyboards/Vox, Liz  Page - Vocals/Percussion, Angel Sanchez - Bass) who all believe we can achieve “No More Division” as their singalong urges. Their music and performances have been reviewed as “transcendent, uplifting and positive” with comparisons to Bob Marley, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Sublime and more.

Band Members