by Chandler Christopher

The Rare Occasions are a three piece indie-rock band currently based in Los Angeles, California. New England bred, they are known for their “explosive garage rock anthems,” partnered with catchy, vocal melodies. Originally a band of four, The Rare Occasions are currently composed of Brian McLaughlin (singer), Luke Imbusch (drummer), and Jeremy Cohen (bassist). The group originally sparked in high school between childhood friends, Brian and Luke. The duo played in jam-bands growing up and eventually went to college together in Boston, with Brian attending Tufts University and Luke at the Berklee College of Music. It was at Berklee that Luke met bassist, Jeremy Cohen, and quickly the three of them became a fluid trio, brainstorming the direction of this vague, musical project. Eventually, the group produced a CD full of demos in hopes of scoring a gig, and The Rare Occasions were born. Their success was catalyzed by one of the band’s most significant achievements– winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest back in 2015, leading to national tours and funding for the production of their currently vast catalogue. 

Their first project, Applefork (2013), gained enough traction for the ensemble to gain local credibility, leading to shows at school functions and basement parties around the Boston area. Upon graduating from Berklee, it was Luke who was the first to make a move to Los Angeles. He studied film/tv scoring and, still today, works as a freelance musician in this space. Being the first one to move to LA, The Rare Occasions were forced to create their music bi-coastally before the rest of the crew were able to join Luke. They noted that the experience of producing their tunes over email and facetime sessions did more than prepare them for the changes the pandemic was soon to bring on. Soon to be forced into a lockdown, the trio had already acquired the skills required to continue collaboratively creating music in the Covid-19 world we find ourselves in today. 

The Rare Occasions’ latest album, Big Whoop (2021), is the band’s attempt to figure out how to proceed as a three piece upon losing their second guitarist. “We realized after playing some shows as a trio that we bring a really fun and powerful energy together. That’s basically where ‘Big Whoop’ came from,” the guys explained. They wanted to take their music in a different direction with this album. This resulted in the second half of the songs they wrote for the project to be “more interesting, experimental with strings, and jazz-influenced.”  The Rare Occasions’ goals for the future are pure and passion-driven– to reach as many fans as possible. They are under satisfied but doing okay with their reach solely being online. “We need shows. Right now it’s sort of off the table and we want to jockey our way into the music industry. Our definition of success is doing what bands do– make a record, tour the record, and happily repeat the cycle.”  The Rare Occasions yearn for a musical result of sustainable, human connection, and in a post-pandemic world, these three determined musicians are sure to find a way.

Check out some of The Rare Occasions' tunes and support artists by following them on their socials linked below! :)