Rising Tide has a sound with such depth and structure yet is delivered in such a fluid manner, can you share a little insight into your process of how you take a song from imagination to creation?
We have been playing music together for a long time. Even though this is a new formation, we know each other really well and are capable of having in depth musical conversations. The sound you are hearing is that of old friends who have spent time hanging out together, playing music, touring the world, and more. All of these experiences are in the music. Our process is to play the songs together and let things evolve naturally. Sometimes the first pass at a new song is all it takes and sometimes we need to play an idea a few times to see where it is going to go. The key is to stay open and let things evolve. If things change then embrace the change and listen to everyone’s ideas. Listen to the way people are phrasing, the melodic ideas that are brought in, trust your band mates. Being open and attentive gives the music and the musician’s space to breath. Then we are free to come together as a unit, which makes us and the music exponentially more powerful.
Rising Tide, from my perspective, is a reggae album which artists will be pulling from and listeners will be playing on repeat for years. As of today, how do you feel you will look back at your album and its content 10 years from now?
10 years from now, I think we will be proud of our first venture. I now that this is just the beginning for us. We can see all the possibilities of this group already, we have just scraped the tip of the iceberg. There is so much we can do and this was a great way to start off Rising Tide.
Marcus, you’ve developed a keyboard sound that is sizzling hot but totally chill at the same time - and that sound is essential to both Rising Tide, and Groundation. When you were earlier on in your music, what were the difficulties you faced as a keyboard player?
Music is exactly like life. There are always trials and tribulations one must go thru to grow. So many it would be impossible to talk about them all.
For myself, I had to learn to let go. To stop talking to myself in my head and embrace the music as it was happening, to truly live in the moment. This is something we all go thru and it can really be an obstacle. Once I started putting my energy into listening and responding to the other musicians things really started to open up. Music requires your utmost attention, humility, and honesty. It is something you will be working on your entire life. There is not enough time in this short life to master every aspect of the human experience or the vastness of music, I am always working on my evolution as a human being and as musician.
Speaking of instruments, what is your personal setup used on Rising Tide? That thing wails.
I use a Hammond B3, Piano, Rhodes, Clavinet, various analog keyboards and a Melodica.
Who was/is/are the a musician(s) that have been the most positive influence on creating your personal playing style?
There are many. I listen to a lot of different styles of music and try to incorporate everything I hear into my playing. Some major influences would be:
Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Mccoy Tyner, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy Mcgriff, Earl “Wire” Lindo, Jacki Mittoo, Jimi Hendrix all the way thru the collective sound of Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, and many more.
Speaking of musicians that kept your style progressing, the age old question is next. Who are the musicians you find most inspirational, and how has that inspirational view changed over the years?
Everyone I just mentioned were the most inspirational for me. It is interesting how the same music impacts you differently at different times of your life. I think I am closer to the music from these artists more than ever. I have a deep connection to the songs and they are a part of who I am. I have listened to a lot of different music and am always trying to expand my horizons but really enjoy going back to the classics.
I’ve been thinking about a Jacob Hemphill/Groundation collaboration for years - the track you cut with Hemphill, Let It Out, is spot on - it’s difficult to believe someone actually produced the track - it’s that well put together. How did this one come about?
We have been friends with SOJA for many years. We have toured together and always seem to be hanging out in some far distant land. One year we were touring together in Brazil. Jacob and I started talking about collaborating on some music. He was producing Chris Boomer at the time and sent me a track to play keys on. Everybody enjoyed the track and we talked about me playing some keys on a SOJA album. After a few years of being on the road, he sent me 4 tracks from “Amid The Noise and Haste”. While we were working on that I told him I needed to stop for about 10 days because I was working on a new project and had some musicians flying into California to record in my studio. He asked me what the project was about and when I finished describing it he said “Send me a track”. That session ended up being the basis for Rising Tide and Jacob was on board.
What type of energy did the collaboration bring to Rising Tide’s recording process?
Well, we recorded the basic tracks before I sent to Jacob. I knew he was going to be on the album so I had written a few songs with him in mind. I had told the band and everybody was happy that he was going to be on the album.
Playing music and exploring its energy can lead to all sorts of positive inner growth and discovery - at this point in time what do you think is the most positive idea/thing music has helped you understand?
There are so many realizations that come thru music. The most positive one for me is Unity. Music is a team sport. You must listen to your bandmates, communicate with one another, pay attention enough to notice the subtle shifts in people’s demeanor and react accordingly. It is a lesson for all of humanity. We must work together, listen to each other, have humility, accept when we are wrong, and not gloat when we are right.
We all come from the same family and sometimes that is hard to see. If we ever forget, music is there to teach us again and again until we realize that the most beautiful things in life come when we truly connect with one another. The language of music is much more descriptive than words. It allows us to connect with each other on a more spiritual level. Once we reach that level then we are ready to reach out to the rest of humanity, no matter what language, culture, or country they come from. We have truly been blessed to share vibes with people all over this earth and have grown so much from these experiences.
As you were writing this album what was your vision for its end sound product, and what do you want the listener to take away from your work?
I was envisioning it to be exactly as it came out. We have made many albums together and were ready to make this one. Everything we had done in the past has led to this moment. We were very free when making this album and everybody gave some input on its direction. I hope the listener can hear this comradery in our music, that the music brings people together and inspires our future leaders to do the same.
Rising Tide is the incredible roots reggae band formed by members of internationally acclaimed reggae fusion group, Groundation. Rising Tide shares much in common with their alternate incarnation, but has forged a pulsing sound that is certainly all its own. Lead by the outstanding female vocals of Kim Pommel, Sharida Sharpe, and Faith Walston, Rising Tide blasts itself into the future with a juggernaut of a debut album. Promoting nothing less of social awareness, strength, and a positive consciousness. Today I had the pleasure of chatting with the producer and the creator of that expansive Rising Tide keyboard sound, Marcus Urani.
I would like to personally extend an incredible thank you and some extra aloha to Marcus Urani for taking the time to share his positve vibrations and chill with us over this interview.
Rising Tide's new album was released on March 18 - Check out the album and everything you need to know about Rising Tide at:
L-R: Yotam Silberstein, Sherida Sharpe, Marcus Urani, Kim Pommel, Ryan Newman, Faith Walston, Paul Spina.
listen to each other, have humility,
*photos courtesy of risingtidevibes.com