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Iration spreads what its members dub “the luv” and "aloha" spirit.EXPAND
Iration spreads what its members dub “the luv” and "aloha" spirit.
Courtesy of the artist

Iration Is All for a Liberal Nation

Iration is a reggae, dub, and rock band formed in Central California that has been playing the stages of festivals like Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Hangouts for the past 14 years. Just last week, the six bandmates embarked on a national spotlight adventure, the Press Play Fall 2018 Tour, where they perform songs off their self-titled sixth album, Iration.

The 15-track project is an outlet for frustration, frontman Micah Pueschel says. “It came from a political cycle. We were right in the middle of the [2016] election, and things were happening in the world politically. There were so many topics that hit us, and we felt we had to say something about it.” The singer says their music is “more politically charged than where we’ve been before.”

Known by fans as Poosh, Pueschel is both lead vocalist and a guitarist for the eclectic musical group that’s all about spreading “luv” and an "aloha" spirit. He’s joined on the rock-reggae crew by Joseph Dickens, Joseph King, Cayson Peterson, Adam Taylor, and Micah Brown. Though some listeners classify the band's sound as “sunshine reggae” (a genre with tropical vibes), Pueschel rejects the label because the band isn’t big on being compartmentalized.

Perhaps tracks from when the guys were starting out sounded like the idyllic soundtrack for napping in a swaying hammock on a sandy seashore, but their latest work abounds with strains of hip-hop, pop, rock, and reggae. “Take it with open ears and an open mind,” Pueschel recommends, asking listeners to “understand that it’s not a reggae album or a rock album or a pop album — it’s just music. It’s almost like a playlist. Just put it on and let it go, and take it for what is.”

Because they are reggae musicians, you might assume they smoke pot. And it's true. In 2013, Pueschel appeared on CannibiNews, where he spoke relatively freely about the band’s relationship with the green goddess. "It's not hard to obtain," he said. "The places where we live — Santa Barbara and Hawaii — [it's] not an issue."

Fast-forward five years, and the frontman reflects on how the group has been typecast. “We don’t promote it a whole lot because we don’t want to be pigeonholed into the pot-smoking, reggae-band thing.” Pueschel says that though their image hasn’t been hurt by people quick to classify them, Iration advocates legalization in a “subdued” way. “Anybody who has actually tried marijuana, smoked marijuana, or experienced it knows that there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s not going to hurt you; it’s not going to hurt anybody.” He makes it clear that the band shies away from too much advocating of cannabis so that audiences can pay attention to the music.

Iration does address politics, though. Pueschel says he and Brown are the most outspoken on social media platforms such as Twitter. The singer feels "no guilt" when speaking out against anything that threatens the "right side of emotion and humanity." Does that include Trump? Yes, he confirms he is by no means a fan of the POTUS.

“The entire cycle of the presidential election, the way that politically the world has been totally divided, the way that there is so much misinformation and anger on both sides of the political spectrum [creates] alienation of minorities and things like that,” Pueschel says. He highlights Iration's "feelings of frustration and feeling that we needed to say something positive... even though things kinda got dark there for a bit — and are still dark.”

Iration's members remain unruffled as they endeavor to nurture hope in an atmosphere of negativity. Five of the six bandmates hail from Hawaii, and they have remained consistent in spreading the aloha spirit in their work. “More than anything, we’re just about supporting equality, empathy, and understanding,” Pueschel says. “That’s what it comes down to.”

Iration. With Common Kings and Katastro. 6:30 p.m. Friday, October 12, at Revolution Live. 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-449 1025; jointherevolution.net. Tickets cost $22 to $99.99 via ticketmaster.com.

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