Multi-talented singer, song writer and instrumentalist Lucas Rabel, has spent his life traveling across the lands, playing music, crafting and honing in on his sound of choice. His most recent efforts being his debut full-length album “Western Amber Skies”, really showing off a passion of creativity and talent. His source of which crosses many genres, including his track “Listen” really showing what he can give and take in the form of his music abilities and skill set. That said, Lucas has taken the time to discuss his music, himself, and his album at hand.
NP: Can you give us a rundown of who you are and why you wanted to get involved with music as a career choice?
Who am I? I am a mountain man. My soul shines like the sun, and my voice has the power of a billion supernovas, and my fingers play the hidden melodies of creation, and my eyes are clear and focused and can see far and wide, and I am able to comprehend the vastness of the skies and at my core I am calm and steady, unwavering. I was born of the light and was molded of earth and fire and cloaked in Phoenix wings. Music is not my career choice. But a way of living, a compulsion, a thirst. Music is my Religion. It is my altar. And I use my life for the worship of life.
NP: You have released your debut full-length album “Western Amber Skies”. What is the first thing that comes to mind when hearing such a thing?
First thing that comes to mind is how much is still to be done. I will be releasing a new album every six months for the foreseeable future. With post-production that means I need to finish mixes for “Highway Traveler” within 3-4 months of now. I love this work, and what makes me excited is getting to do it every single day. The day after I actually finished “Western Amber Skies” I was working away on my many other recordings.
NP: Did you ever think that you would see this day to release your material in the form of a debut album? Or was it always ready in your mind and will power to do so?
To describe to you or anyone just how far I have come to get here would be very hard. But at the same time I am very aware that I stand at the beginning of my development. And what has enabled me to get this far is that I never got too far ahead of myself. I never thought too far ahead. If I did there is no way I would have continued down the path I took. But my love and passion has driven me down a wild road that has armed my soul with the experience of who I now choose to be. My willpower has brought me to the goal, but no one showed me the way, my greatest teacher was the process itself. Writing songs is what taught me how to write songs. Making records has taught me to make records. My teacher is my experience. I always wanted to make great albums. But I didn’t know how to do that, so I just kept working on it until the album revealed itself.
NP: Where does the title “Western Amber Skies” come from and represent for this album, and you for as a person?
It’s something that came from a very good friend of mine, Christian Chauffe. It’s something he said when we were talking about album titles. And it had a certain feeling. A feeling that was appropriate to this particular set of songs. I’m big on Titles. They are a very delicate thing. I often have the song title or the album title first. And I’ll write the material for it just because of how enticed I am by the title. For this one, we had the songs first, and Western Amber Skies seemed to feel right.
NP: What about the album’s artwork, it depicts a skyline with you front and center, why go with this direction for the artwork?
We were looking around the vault for possible album covers, and that particular shot is one that my dad eyeballed. I guess it caught his eye and he said “There’s your album cover”, and so I looked at it, and he described how it should be. He said “Make it say Western Amber Skies in the clouds, like it’s sky writing or something, and then you could write your name “Lucas Rabel” over there, but make it almost hard to see so at first you think it’s just a cloud”. With that I got to work on my laptop and was able to work my photo shop magic! Haha, thanks pops!
NP: This album is said to be filled with relentless passion, creativity, and tenacity, why go with these topics of choice?
Well, to be clear, I didn’t pick those words. But I will say I like those themes a lot for this album. My albums are like movies, they have different themes. And I’m glad those particular themes were picked up on. I had a running joke with Co-Producer Ian Crawford quoting Monty Python’s search for the Holy Grail. “When I first came here, this was all a swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.” Hahahaha. I love it. But the process this album took was very similar! At first I played all the different parts. All the different instruments. Then I had the song but I wasn’t pleased with the quality so I began replacing parts, replacing parts, replacing parts. I found the right talented friends to fill in their parts, replacing my earlier parts. The 16 voice choirs you hear on multiple songs are all built up one voice at a time, the choir is made of one voice, my own, over and over and over again. Every avenue was explored, there was a tremendous competition for parts. The whole project came along in stages, and was built up over a long period of time and experimentation. It was and continues to be relentless. I am like the slow drip of water at the Grand Canyon. At first glance I may not look like much but just stand back for a second and marvel at what I have created through time and total persistence.
NP: The track “Listen” is said to be a great glimpse of detail into who you are as an artist and overall performer of sorts, why do you think that is so?
Listen is a coming of age song, at least to me. It’s a song about the nature of time. The nature of living and dying. It is a song about the process. A lot of people are focused on the outcomes. But for me, the process is much more interesting. It’s a musical healing. I suppose that reveals a little about me. But listen to another song and you will see another part of me. When you’ve got this many sides you become round.
NP: Why was “Listen”, picked out to be the song turned single for this album?
Well it took me by surprise. It never occurred to me that this would be the first single. And it goes to show that songs are like flavors. And some people like vanilla and some people like chocolate. Listen was arrived at by the urging of my mother and my sister Laura.
NP: Will we be seeing anymore songs off this album be made into singles?
Yes, Fearless Freaks, Devil of Light, Find Your Way Back Home, Like the Sun. And I’m sending the entire album to stations all over the world and obviously the wonderful DJs and Music Directors that go through it will have their own favorites. So the singles choose themselves more or less.
NP: Your music has been labeled in a variety of ways with genre mixes, but if you had to pick one which would you pick to describe your style and why?
Emotional. Really sad songs, or really happy songs, devils songs or gods songs, desperate songs and hopeless songs, manic songs and funny songs, romantic love songs and heartbroken break up songs. The variety of genre is only a tool that serves to explore my own emotional pallet. But emotion is the driving force.
NP: Lucas Rabel is the namesake you went with for this project, but is that your real name or is this just a stage name for this project of activity? Why the play off of the word rebel with rabel?
Hahahahahahahahaha. Lucas Rabel is my birth name. That makes me think of my Great Grandmother who was devoutly catholic and was adamantly opposed to my name being Lucas because of its similarity to “Lucifer”, hahaha, old Lucifer Rebel. hahahaha. Man that would drive her nuts! God bless her. Also the song “Devil of Light” does play with the word “Rebel” as it says “Be a rebel, refuse to fight. Be a devil, devil of light.” and that song does draw some inspiration from my namesake. I descend from one of three brothers in Germany named “Rabel”. All three of them left Germany to the U.S. in 1914 as the World War was breaking out. And so that song has a tip of the hat to the Rabel brothers who made a difficult and courageous decision that lead to me being here in the first place. and lastly, the name of myself run record label is Rucas Label. haha. Which is just my name with the first letters switched.
NP: How about the rest of this year, what can we expect to see from you?
My next album is Titled “Highway Traveler” and that should be released by December or January. In the meantime there will be lots of recording sessions and late nights and gigs and laughter with the people that I adore.
NP: What do you do outside of music? Any interesting hobbies or interests?
I’m an avid reader and seeker of the truth. Elizabeth Gilbert “Big Magic is a good one, Victor Wooten “The Music Lesson”, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Arthur Schopenhauer. Stuff like that. I’m into Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield and other self development stuff. And my other big inspirations comes from comedy. I love stand up comics, they are just like a musician, but they don’t get to hide behind an instrument or rely on their band mates. So I love watching stand ups like Russell Peters, Louis CK, Bill Hicks, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Hannibal Burress, Trevor Noah. And I’m a huge movie fan, Peter Jackson is my favorite. The special features discs to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were very inspirational to me over long tedious hours. Making a movie is just like making an album except instead of a crew of 4 the crew is 1500. the logistics and kind of hours they keep inspires me to work harder.
NP: Thanks for your time, any final comments?
I think I will close with a little story. I call it the Parable of the Candle in the Sun. It goes like this, “In the beginning you were as a candle in the sun. And you shone with a light that was oh so brilliant. But you were amongst the most brilliant light. So there was no way for you to have any sort of experience of yourself. And you yearned, and you yearned for a way to experience yourself as the brilliant light that you are. And so I came to you and I said ‘Do you know, little one, what you must do?’ and you replied eagerly, ‘What?! Oh what can I do to know myself experientially? I will do anything!’ And so I said to you ‘You must go far away from your home, yes and there you must call upon yourself the darkness.’ ‘What is the darkness?’ you replied.
And I said ‘That which you are not’ and you understood. And so you left your home and went even unto another realm. And there you called upon yourself the darkness. And in the darkness you began to lament. ‘Oh brothers, oh sisters, why have you forsaken me?’ you cried out in your anger and your pain. But in that moment came your greatest victory. From the darkness and your fear come the greatest gifts! Because now you have a perfect opportunity to BE WHO YOU REALLY ARE. The light, so shine your light, no matter how delicately. Illuminate the darkness around you. We have come from the light and we will return there. So do not worry.
The purpose of life is known and it is to find yourself at the root of your experience. We experience life in order to experience ourselves. It is a grand game and I am so thankful to be here with all of you. I am glad to shine my light, and I hope it may illuminate your darkest hour. Just as when I despair and lose my hope in this darkness called life I trust that you lovely people will shine your beautiful light and it will fill me with inspiration, love and hope.
NP: Are you sure that is your final comment?
Just a sincere thank you to the Skope Magazine team, what you guys are doing is great and the world needs more of it! Thank you Mike. Thank you Natalie. Now let’s go out and make it a great day.
By: Natalie Perez