After a three-year stint in California touring and gigging as a bassist in several reggae bands, 25-year-old musician Ian Renaud was ready to move back to Miami and start a solo project.
The pandemic pushed Renaud to return home in 2020. Eager to continue playing music, he decided to momentarily put aside his bass — his primary instrument up to this point — and start writing music on his guitar.
Before leaving for California in 2017, Renaud was deep in the Kendall music scene and co-led the reggae-funk band Verali.
"I moved back to Miami and had no band; I was by myself," Renaud shares. "That was the first time where I was able to really just sit down and write something for me and not for someone else."
With a few songs up his sleeve, Renaud started playing shows and making trips to the recording studio.
"Someone said to me, 'You can't spell Floridian without Ian,' and I was like, That's the band name right there," Renaud says,
Under the moniker FloridIan and only half a year since his move back to sunny South Florida, Renaud released the five-track Naranja EP.
What started as a solo project quickly turned into a full band, with Tristan Cata (bass), Jake Karner (drums), and Nouredine Garami (guitar) joining the lineup. (Garami recently left the band to focus on his own project, Soft Cricket.)
The move to an ensemble also meant ditching the name FloridIan for the Floridians.
Although Renaud remains the band's lead songwriter, the other band members bring their own writing styles and influences.
"We're finally finding our sound, as far as tonality and even songwriting," Renaud says.
Karner, who has played drums for bands like the Polar Boys and Palomino Blond, brings a more indie-rock sound. Cata, who plays bass in the band but separately plays the lap steel guitar and leans toward a jazz/bluegrass style, brings more intricate progressions to the table.
Currently, the Floridians' core members include Renaud, Cata, and Karner, along with the recent addition of David Gonzalez. He joins on synth, making Renaud's dream of having the band sound more like Tame Impala a reality. In fact, their mutual love for Kevin Parker's psychedelic sound compelled Renaud to ask Gonzalez to join the band.
Unsurprisingly, the Floridians do a mean cover of "Half Full Glass of Wine" and "Nangs," which the band recently unveiled during a live performance at the Hotbox, a new warehouse venue across the Corner bar in downtown Miami.
With a revamped band in tow, the band decided to adapt their blooming collective sounds to re-record and release the three psychedelic-rock jams "Dunes," "Fruitfly" and "The Fool" from Naranja.
The re-recorded EP Naranja — or now Naranja 2.0 as Renaud jokingly calls it — is set to drop on Wednesday, March 23.
"We all recorded it at Jake's house in his rehearsal room — it was an experience," Renaud says of the DIY approach to re-recording the EP. "We didn't have to worry about time crunch or money."
Gonzalez and Karner both have experience in audio engineering so they took the lead on mixing and passed the three songs over to musician Brennan Jasso for mastering.
Hoping to celebrate on stage, Naranja's re-release on Wednesday aligns with the Floridian's performance at the Miami-Dade County Fair at the East Midway Stage (one of two stages of local music programmed by Backroom Sessions).
"We've got some things brewing," Renaud says. Although he doesn't want to reveal too much yet, he hints of new music coming out in the next few months, and a full album in the fall.
The Floridians at Backroom Sessions x the Fair. Wednesday, March 23, at Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition, 10901 SW 24th St., Miami; 305-223-7060; thefair.me. Tickets cost $10 to $14.