Iration Brings Reggae to a Diverse SunFest Lineup

Hawaiian-bred and California-based, Iration — made up of Cayson Peterson, Joe Dickens, Micah Pueschel, and Adam Taylor — are bringing their sweet brand of reggae-rock to SunFest this Sunday. This year's SunFest lineup is possibly the best ever. But it's not just fans who are excited. Iration themselves are looking forward to mingling with some of their personal favorites, like Hozier and Pixies (whom Iration will join again at Big Guava in Tampa).

Following its album Automatic, which hit number 1 on iTunes and Billboard reggae album charts, the group is excited about its new up-tempo album, which will be released sometime this summer. The guys had the pleasure of working with true heavyweight producers while making the new album, including David Manzoor (who has previously worked with Lupe Fiasco, R. Kelly, and Lloyd) and Mark Needham (who has previously worked with Imagine Dragons, the Killers, and Fleetwood Mac).

For now, fans can look forward to the upcoming release of Iration's first single, “Reelin,” which singer and guitarist Micah Pueschel promises will be everything their listeners love.

New Times got a chance to talk to Pueschel about SunFest, the new album, and — among other things — Nick Jonas.

New Times: Are you guys looking forward to playing SunFest?

Micah Pueschel: Yeah, we’re really excited. We’ve never done it before. We don’t really know exactly what to expect, but the lineup is great.

Are there any other bands who’ll be playing that you’re excited about seeing?

Yeah, a lot of them are playing right when we’re playing, which is kind of a bummer. Anytime you play a big festival like that, there are so many acts. I wish we could be there for more than just one day. Seeing Hozier and Pixies would have been cool, but I think they play when we play, so maybe we’ll try to get offstage and check them out [laughs].

What can you tell me about your set list for the show? Do you plan out a set list and stick to it strictly, or are you one of those bands who likes to improvise and stray from the set list once you’re up there?

We have a show that we kind of piece together, and we change it for every tour, but we think about it and put it together in a specific way, and we have a light show that goes along with it. I don’t know how much of that will be visible during the day, but that’s a coordinated effort. We kind of have to be on the set list or it can kind of get crazy [laughs]. But as far as the music goes, we don’t play it the same way necessarily every single night. Little things change and solos change and stuff like that.

You have a bunch of festival shows lined up; what do you enjoy most about performing at big shows like SunFest and Big Guava versus club or theater shows?

Being able to play with bigger acts and acts that we like and we’re fans of and being able to see how they put their show on and being able to mingle with other artists, I think that’s why artists love festivals. It’s like a tour with everybody for one day. It’s kind of hectic. You’re not in your comfort zone. You’re not getting the sound check or that kind of stuff, but it’s always really fun.

Your album Automatic went number one on the iTunes and Billboard reggae albums charts. How did that feel?

That felt great. I mean, we’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of things go number one. It’s always kind of surreal. You make these records and you put them out. Then you put on the shows and people show up and sing all the words or they tell us in person that our music has an effect on them. It’s so surreal. We don’t expect it, but we just feel lucky.

What can you tell me about your forthcoming album?

The upcoming album will be coming out in the middle of the summer. We’re really excited about it. It’s definitely going to be a more up-tempo and beat driven record which is something that we really felt that we needed to bring to the next step. We worked with a different team for this one. We worked with a different producer David Manzoor, who’s from the hip-hop world and then we have the engineer and the mixing team from the indie-rock scene who worked with Imagine Dragons and The Killers. We had a really, really good team in the studio. Everything went really well and the songs all came out great. I’m really proud of it.

That team you had must have made for a really good mix

Yeah, I mean we didn’t necessarily set out to do that but it came together that way and we were really excited to get in the studio with Will [Brierre] and David [Manzoor]. They both worked really well together and with us. They vibe with us, and that’s huge when you’re making art. We’re just lucky to be working with guys like that.

Can you tell us anything about the first single?

The first single that we’re going to be releasing is called “Reelin." We just wanted to put out a song that kind of shows us 2.0. Everything is bigger — all of the things that Iration fans love. It has a good beat, it’s got a good melody and a strong hook, and it’s got the guitar and the drum base.

You’re originally from Hawaii. How does that influence your music and your approach to life?

You can’t take the Hawaii out of us. It’s just such a big part of our lives. Growing up on an island where you’re surrounded by the ocean, the ocean is always present and a part of your life. We surf, we swim, we dive, we fish. In Hawaii, land is the most sacred thing. We’re very respectful of the land, and it’s something that means a lot to us. It creeps into the music and into all facets of our life.

If you could collaborate with any other band or musician out there right now, who would it be?

We really like Run the Jewels. I don’t know if it would necessarily fit, but we really love that record. High End is another band I think that could fit with us. We love Foster the People. We enjoy bands that are kind of doing the same thing we’re trying to do but in a different genre.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures that you care to share?

They’re not even guilty pleasures anymore, they’re just straight-up pleasures. Right before we go onstage, that’s what we’re listening to. That’s what a lot of artists do. They put on the candy-coated jams. For one, Nick Jonas' “Jealous” or “Chains” or any of those songs are at the moment the ones we’re kind of vibing to. Right now, it’s pretty much a steady flow of Nick Jonas [laughs].

Other than making music, what do you enjoy doing?

We do a lot of golfing, actually. We pretty much golf on the road on days off. It’s generally one of the two: golfing and surfing. We get to get out in nature for the day and kind of be out of the tour bus, and that’s good for us. 

Iration with Fall Out Boy, Pixies, and others. 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at SunFest, 100 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-659-5980, or visit Ticket prices vary. A five-day pass is $80 at the gate, $70 in advance. A one-day ticket is $32 in advance and $40 at the gate. Kids under 5 are admitted free courtesy of Wells Fargo; kids 6 to 12 cost $10 in advance and $12 at the gate. 
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Ashley Zimmerman