Q&A: Reggae band Iration’s frontman Micah Pueschel

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By JACKIE MOE

Hawaii-bred and California-based reggae pop rock band Iration will bring its easy breezy jams to the outdoor FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine on Aug. 26 for the final stop of their co-headlining Sunshine & Summer Nights tour.

The concert will feature a diverse lineup, including co-headliner hip-hop duo Atmosphere, reggae rock band Passafire, and founding member of Living Legends, rapper and producer The Grouch with DJ Fresh. 

Iration is recognized for their mix of reggae and island sounds influenced by Big Island-born lead singer and guitarist Micah Pueschel, bassist Adam Taylor, drummer Joe Dickens, keyboardist Cayson Peterson, and guitarist/vocalist Micah Brown.

The tour is in support of their latest album Coastin’, which debuted no. 2 on the Billboard Reggae Albums upon its June 2020 release. The album features a mixture of genres including reggae, rock, pop, R&B and funk tunes.

Pueschel chats with Backstage SoCal about what inspires him, how the reggae scene has changed, and what’s next for Iration.

I just returned from the Big Island last week, and I heard Iration playing all over — bars, shops, even coffee farms. What does it mean to you to be so heavily embraced by the island? 

 It means a lot. Having Hawaii embrace our music is amazing.

The 2020 release of Coastin’ was at a time of uncertainty for many, and the tracks are so positive and euphoric. What was your fan feedback like at that time? 

The fan feedback was very positive. I think people appreciated that we were sacrificing what was best for the album’s success for the enjoyment of our fans. 

What track on Coastin’ means the most to you personally? 

 “Learn From Me” is a song I wrote for my daughter before she was born. She’s 2 now so it will always have a special place in my heart.

You have several notable artists featured on Coastin’. What artist would be your ultimate dream to collaborate with? 

I think Jack Johnson would be a rad collaboration. We’re both from Hawaii and we really admire his career.

How would you say reggae music and culture has changed over your career? 

It has had a massive change. When we started, there were only a handful of groups that were doing it in the U.S. and now there are hundreds. I think lots of young fans are missing out on the original roots reggae sounds that we were influenced by ie: Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Israel Vibrations, Black Uhuru, etc.

Beyond music, what other passions or pursuits do you have? 

I love to play golf in my spare time and love spending time with my family.

What advice would you give 20-year-old Micah? 

Trust yourself and stop drinking so much, ha.

Has your life changed as an artist when you became a father? 

I think the inspirations changed and the perspective changed. I want to make meaningful music. I really want people to be able to feel the music we make.

When do you usually feel the most inspired to write music? 

It’s a random thing for me. Inspiration just kind of comes at weird times. You have to be open to it.

As you wrap up the summer tour, what is next for Iration?

We’re going to finish writing and recording our next album. 

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Iration: Sunshine & Summer Nights Tour

Where: FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

When: Friday, Aug. 26

More info: irationmusic.com

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