There are many great things about Santa Barbara – the weather, the beach, the mountains, the lifestyle… And you can add Iration to this list, the popular Santa Barbara-based reggae band. Most of the current members of Iration met growing up in Hawaii, but they reconnected and formed the band in Santa Barbara, with their first release – the New Roots EP – coming out in 2006. Other recordings followed, including 2013’s Automatic and 2015’s Hotting Up which both hit the top of the U.S. Reggae chart.
This interview is with Iration guitarist and lead singer Micah Pueschel. It was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for their headlining performance at the 12th Annual KJEE Summer Round Up at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 6/3/16. It was done by email, with answers received 5/20/16. (Josue Rivas photo)
Micah Pueschel: Yeah, definitely. It was a goal of ours just to play the Bowl when we started, so to headline there is awesome.
JM: You’ve played at the Bowl a couple of times before. What were those shows like for you?
MP: They got progressively easier. The first was with Kings of Leon and it being our first time we were all pretty nervy. We are more comfortable on big stages now so that helps.
JM: What’s the best concert that you ever saw at the Bowl?
MP: Kings of Leon was pretty amazing just because they were kind of on their way up. Only By The Night had just come out so the energy was awesome. Atoms for Peace was great. Also Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds was a pretty great show a few years back.
JM: Besides playing music, of course, what do you most look forward to doing when you return to Santa Barbara?
MP: Well we actually all live in town, so for us it’s sleeping in our own beds, being with our loved ones, surfing/golfing and enjoying the weather.
JM: What initially drew you to reggae?
MP: We grew up in Hawaii, so reggae was very much a part of the every day radio and local music scenes. Modern local Hawaiian music is called ‘Jawaiian’ music so it has always kinda been ingrained in our musical minds. I think we always felt like reggae would always be a part of our sound, but not entirely.
JM: Iration got its start at house parties in Isla Vista. What’s the craziest thing that happened during one of your Isla Vista gigs?
MP: Our former lead singer Catlin Peterson got arrested for noise violation. He was cuffed in front of a rowdy IV crowd, which almost incited a riot. The officers were hit with beers and had to kind of let him go and leave.
MP: We worked with an entirely different team. New producer, new engineer, new studios. We also added a new band member so the sound changed as well. We approached it knowing we wanted it to be more beat-driven and uptempo.
JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
MP: Play a lot with other people. If you are a songwriter work on your craft. Learn and study the process.
JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future?
MP: We just finished recording an acoustic album and are going to be doing festivals and one-off shows this Summer. Just looking forward to creating new music.