Rachel Ana Dobken: Life Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Hana Gustafson on March 22, 2024
Rachel Ana Dobken: Life Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Photo: Justin Lubranicki


Rachel Ana Dobken is a powerhouse. “I want people to think, ‘Wow, this girl is a fucking ripper. She plays drums. She wrote this song. She wrote these parts.’ I want it to hit hard, and I want people to know that I mean business,” says Dobken, outlining her ambitions for Acceptance, a nine-track mix of heavy rock, psychedelia, soul and blues. As if the aforementioned contributions were not enough, she also plays guitar and keyboards, sings, and composed all the songs on her new album. While it had been five years since Dobken’s previous record, 2018’s When It Happened to You, there’s good reason for the wait: Dobken had a hand in nearly every aspect of the project. “This record was done very piecemeal,” she reveals, citing the drop of a friend and collaborator, the death of her father, a global pandemic and other contributing factors that stretched the process, but ultimately served the artist, who had time to make it her own.

Dobken’s history goes back to snapping pictures, which led to bumping shoulders with Danny Clinch during her Relix internship and ultimately gigging with the famed photographer and friends at his Transparent Gallery in her native Asbury Park, N.J. The experience unlocked an opportunity for collaboration, and Clinch provides some harmonica on Acceptance. “The creative process is a universal thing, in my opinion. Whether you are painting, drawing, doing photography or creating music, there are so many similarities.”

As a set, Acceptance functions as a love letter to fate, with Dobken honing in on the idea that life is not for the faint of heart. Instead, she focuses on perseverance, melding her own strength into expressive lines that capture her thoughts and feelings across the album. “With this record in particular, I feel like my music is an amalgamation of all the music I love because I think that, naturally, I don’t ever go into writing music trying to sound like something. I just allow whatever I’m hearing or feeling to come out of me,” she reflects. “I feel like, on every level from my last record, this one is a step up.”