WE ARE A RARE BREED.
I'm going to start this off with a flash back. It was the mid 1990's and I had been outside the record store smoking cigarettes sitting on the steps for a half hour before it opened. It was "two fold Tuesday" as I liked to call it, the Tuesday where, simultaneously, I got paid for wheat pasting flyers for the local club's "Alternative night" and the day when records would be out.
I waited and Bill Perry would unlock the door while talking local politics and weekend drama. I paced, flicked my cigarette and was hot on his heels in the door.
Bill pulled every release from Lookout, Epitaph, and Fat. He knew that without fail I'd be buying every single release from the labels and I knew every release would be amazing.
Now back to my office here in Gainesville, Florida. I have played in Less Than Jake for 22 years, started two labels and have had a hell of a run. 6 months back, I was talking to my good friend Obi Fernandez about the time when every release from Moon records became a soundtrack for him and after talking a few hours; We started to formulate a label that put out only the one type of music we both have loved, Rare Breed was born. A label we hope to make you fall in love with everything we release.
A Word From Obi.
It all started with a cassette tape given to me by Mr. King Django himself. A fairly weathered, obviously broken in, grey Maxwell tape with white labels on each side. Side A read The Ethiopians in faded blue ink. Side B read The Skatalites which judging from the name I already knew would be epic before even giving it a listen. Up until this point my introduction to Ska and Reggae music went as follows: Rancid, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake. It wasn’t until I started playing in Day 19, which was a local north jersey punk ska band that I was exposed to bands like Skinnerbox, Stubborn Allstars, The Toasters and The Slackers.
Growing up in north jersey during the 90’s could only be defined as an insanely magical time in my musical shaping/recollection. On any given weekend I could see The Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music, The Bouncing Souls, Rx Bandits, The Toasters, The Pilfers, The Slackers (This list could really go on) all with in a 3-5 day period. Between all the shows being put on in local venues like Skaters World, The Wayne Firehouse, even the Palace in Boundbrook NJ and having NYC as my backyard it was more than enough to jumpstart and fuel an ethically charged passion for music that from that day forward would shape all the days of my life. Seeing all these touring bands coming through and getting just a small snap shot into their lives would change and inspire my life forever.
Fast forward from getting that tape to starting the band Westbound Train I finally got the chance to travel the world and play the music that I fell in love with when I was 15. Influenced by labels like Epitaph/Hellcat and Moon Records I really want to see this music have a home that is committed to nurturing it and sharing it with the masses. Teaming up with my friend Vinnie Fiorello was a no brainer in terms of choosing my partner in crime that would have a similar love for Ska, Reggae and Soul music. Rarebreed was born out of a desire to be a part of your sound track and the home to a music that we respect and admire.
- Obi Fernandez