Hot off the release of their fourth full-length LP, Hotting Up, the Hawaiian-bred, Santa Barbara-based group Iration is now on the road spreading their gospel of good times, positivity, and tropical fun via their multi-faceted version of reggae.
Formed in 2004 near U.C. Santa Barbara, and originally a reggae cover band, Iration quickly captured the drunken imaginations of the local college crowd and have been at it ever since.
Part of their success lies in the accessibility of their music. Comforting and familiar, their reggae certainly wears its influences on its sleeves. We had a chance to speak with high-energy but easygoing guitarist and vocalist Micah Pueschel about reggae and being in the band with another guy named Micah.
New Times: You guys are originally Hawaiian but became a band in California. How did the group form, and how do you manage with two Micahs?
Micah Pueschel: We were all friends in high school and reconnected in college. We've had two Joe's for years, so we're good at managing same names.
Your style of reggae is sunshine with some dub and rock thrown in for good measure. What are your collective influences like and how democratic of a process is work within the band?
Our influences are too many to name. Obviously reggae and island music, rock, hip-hop, pop, soul, blues, etc. it's all in there if you look for it. Songwriting is democratic in that every band member has a say in what they play on each song.
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A friend recently told me that anytime there’s a seaside, there’s bound to be some Bob Marley played. She supported this by stating that she has witnessed it in the U.S. and Italy this year, in different coastal towns. How strong is the link between the beach and reggae?
It's huge. I think reggae is island music and lends itself to warm weather and the presence of the ocean. Hawaii is definitely proof of that.
More importantly, how do you manage to grab the attention of drunken college kids?
I think lasers are always good for capturing the attention of people drunk, high, or otherwise. So we use them.
How did this tour come to be and how are you managing regular concert dates with a few festivals thrown in the mix?
This tour came in support of our new album, Hotting Up, and luckily, the festivals came before we actually hit the road, so it wasn't too big a challenge to route.
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Why isn’t reggae more mainstream? People enjoy it when it is performed, but it doesn’t seem to be in the charts as often as it should. Why do you think that is? Is the regular American music consumer content with just their copy of Marley’s Legend?
I think because it's still seen as a niche genre. I think that's why bands like the ones on this tour are out there trying to prove that this is just good music. We play instruments, we write our songs, and we aren't confined by one genre or style of music.
What can fans expect from this tour, both from you and your touring mates?
I think one common factor is a very positive energy and message. All the bands are also very talented live performers, so the entire lineup is worth seeing.
What’s next for the band in support of Hotting Up?
Well, this tour first and foremost, then probably some travel dates in Mexico and some other places.
Iration with The Green, The Movement, and Hours Eastly, 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 15, at Revolution Live, 100 SW 3 AVE, Ft. Lauderdale. Tickets cost $23. Call 954-449-1025 or visit jointherevolution.net.