By: David Garcia
As another full year of nationwide touring comes to an end for Iration, the Hawaiian-bred band who now resides in Santa Barbara looks forward to a new year full of endless opportunities that lie ahead. After releasing their first full-length album in 2007, the rising reggae act got a quick start to nationwide touring in 2008 when they were invited out on the road with reggae-rockstars, Pepper. Since then, the band has never looked back and has continued to evolve their sound while maintaining a constant tour schedule around the states.
In April of 2013, Iration announced that singer, Kai Rediske, was leaving the band due to personal reasons. The departure left Micah Pueschel as the only remaining vocalist in Iration's line up to go along with Adam Taylor on bass, Cayson Peterson on keys and Joe Dickens on the drums. Soon after, the band acquired Orange County's own, Micah Brown. A solo artist who began creating original music in 2010, Brown adds a brand new element to Iration's musical approach both on and off the stage by bringing his own style of blues, folk, and rock-n-roll to the mix. Recently, the Weekly caught up with Pueschel, to discuss the evolution of the band, new music to be released in 2015, as well as their upcoming show with The Expanders tonight at The Observatory.
OC Weekly (David Garcia): Your latest album, 2013's Automatic, showed a different, more mature sound than in previous releases. Can you explain what elements you added to your sound to make this album stand out from the others?
Micah Pueschel: I think with Automatic, we just really wanted to take each song on an individual basis. We didn't want to try to make songs sound a particular way. We wanted each song to have its own life and own sound. It had been years since we recorded Time Bomb, so each member of the band had grown as a musician as well.
What major changes within the band have you seen take place since Kai departed? How has the addition of Orange County's Micah Brown on the lead guitar helped mold your sound and live performance to what it is today?
Since Kai left, the biggest change has been the addition of Micah Brown. He brought a unique approach to guitar that we had previously lacked, as well as an obvious vocal ability. I think having two guitars really opens the door musically for us and allows us to play songs we had strayed away from before.
As an actively touring band, you guys always seem to make sure to stop in OC at least once throughout the year where other bands may skip the region and head to LA or SD instead. What brings you guys back time after time?
We love Orange County and we consider it an entirely different market than LA or SD. We've always had amazing support there since our days at the OC Tavern and playing some of the smaller bars and clubs.
What are some of your favorite local spots around Orange County?
Favorite places in Orange County are generally the places we can surf or golf. Trestles, Newport, Huntington.
I've seen the band start announcing on social media that you are working on a new album. History shows that Iration typically releases a full-length every 3 years (No Time For Rest – 2007, Time Bomb – 2010, Automatic – 2013), do you guys plan on releasing the album in 2015 or staying with the trend and waiting until 2016?
We plan on releasing the new music in 2015. We have previously waited longer in between records but we feel like our fans deserve music more often and we had the material so why not?
Since this will be the band's first album being written without Kai, what new components can fans expect to find on the new material? And what was your approach going into the studio this time around as opposed to writing in the past?
It was a different writing process without Kai but I think we just took more of a group effort in creating and recording. I think everybody had a bigger part in the creative process and obviously having Micah Brown to add a new wrinkle to the songs gave it a unique tone. I think we just focused on creating very rhythmic/beat driven songs this time around.
The upcoming show this Tuesday at The Observatory will be one of Iration's last of the year, will you be bringing anything special to the stage?
We will be playing some new songs and some we haven't played before from our past catalogue. However, we know the songs people want to hear and we will try to include all of those.
Iration performs with The Expanders at The Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.observatoryoc.com. Tues., December 30th, 7p.m. $25. All Ages.