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THE CALIFORNIA-BASED IRATION REGGAE BAND – MIXES UP THE BEAT!

By MATT MUNOZ—

The California reggae scene has been heating up so much lately it’s hard to keep track of the influx of new acts making their debuts.

For the members of Iration, working outside the confines of familiar two- chord jammin’ is still what sets them apart from the pack. The band members, all friends originally from the Hawaiian islands, formed in 2004 after arriving separately two years earlier to attend college in the Santa Barbara area. After starting in the fertile college party scene of nearby Isla Vista, their grassroots popularity has helped them score some major gigs, including a killer spot on the Cypress Hill Smokeout and other major festivals.

By Photo courtesy of Iration—-

“It is really crazy how they keep popping up,” said vocalist and guitarist Micah Pueschel during a phone interview. “I can’t keep up with them either. There’s a new band every day all over the country now.”

The godfather for most bands bands of the genre today is Sublime, which blended Jamaican reggae’s easygoing styles with elements of punk, ska, rock and hip-hop. Sublime’s impact can still be heard in groups like The Dirty Heads, Pepper and others who make attempts at forging their own path but owe as much to the influential reggae/ska band as they do to Bob Marley.

“I think that people just enjoy reggae music in general, but it’s a type of reggae with themes, ideas and sounds that are easy for people of all ages to be drawn to, not a politically charged Jamaican thing. Most of the kids listening now weren’t even born when the original Jamaican reggae was introduced, so it’s going to be hard for a lot of them to grab ahold of it and understand it.”

Pueschel added the key to the genre’s appeal doesn’t have to be analyzed in order to be embraced.

“Obviously, there are people like Bob Marley that have universal themes in their music, but I think our music and new bands that are coming out have modern themes and make reggae for everyday people. So it has the rhythms that everyone likes. We try to ride the line and make music that is accessible, much like the punky reggae party days of London.”

Iration’s 2010 single “Turn Around” became a minor hit, making regular rotation in the Southern California radio market. The group hopes to find similar success following the release of their next record, “Automatic,” which they hope to have out when the timing’s right.

“Having a reggae sound or being affiliated with the music, radio stations only want to put a certain number of those songs in rotation. We’re competing with Slightly Stoopid, 311 and bands like that that are reggae-ish. All those bands are competing for the same radio spots. We do draw better than a lot of bands, but that doesn’t guarantee radio play. We’re still a young band trying to find out our spot in the grand scheme of things and make our own space.”

 

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