San Diegans have long loved jamming out to reggae and alternative rock music, be it because of the underground punk scene here or the ocean-centric vibes delivered from local artists like Slightly Stoopid.
Iration is one of those bands who we often forget is not actually from San Diego (they’re Hawaiian natives) because they can often be found playing a venue around town or seen in photos hanging out with a member of our music community.
DiscoverSD recently spoke with frontman Micah Pueschel regarding all things Iration, from their nationwide tour, the “Hotting Up” album and why San Diego holds a close place in their heart.
DSD: Iration’s “Hotting Up” album has been hugely successful. I know that you had a new producer for this album... Do you think it’s the band’s best album so far?
MP: Oh, I definitely do. As far as quality, a lot of people really loved the “Time Bomb” album. It had a lot of songs that are synonymous with our sound. But, I think as far as a product and how complete it is, this is much better. As far as the songwriting, “Hotting Up” is as thorough as we have been able to be in studio.
DSD: How long did it take you guys to record it?
MP: It took us 10 days. It was really quick. We spent a lot of time doing pre-production before we got in there, and writing took a while for this, but [it was a] very speedy recording.
DSD: What was the most difficult part about making this album?
MP: The most difficult thing was being able to let go a little bit of what the sound and the songs were like. In our previous recording sessions and albums, we did a large portion of it ourselves. We had our hands in every little part. Letting the music be slightly different made it easier for us to let go... No one wants to hear the same thing over and over again, they want evolution. Maturity was a huge part of it.
DSD: Was there any inspiration or reason behind the more upbeat sound?
MP: The way the industry is going, we realized we needed something much more beat driven. We needed more quality on that side of thing. We knew with our live set that we were maybe lacking some songs that were on that level of danceable, up-tempo stuff. We needed some stuff to lift the show. It had a lot to do with wanting to expand our catalog in the live show. It was inherent with working with Dave. We knew it was going to be beats and hard-hitting drums. It’s exactly what we wanted. No filler songs. That’s why we did just nine songs on “Hotting Up.” We would rather have nine super solid, strong songs than 17 ‘ehh’ songs on the album.
DSD: What’s your favorite place to play in California, being in San Francisco, Orange County, Santa Barbara and San Diego pretty regularly?
MP: We love San Diego. It’s our second home for sure. Greek Theatre at Berkeley is great to play, too. When in San Diego, we really love Mexican food. You can get that at home (in Santa Barbara), but it’s not the same. We like the ocean and most of the guys in the band surf. We also have a ton of friends from Hawaii, our closest friends, and they all live in San Diego. We have been a presence in San Diego for a lot of years, so going down there is very comfortable and happy for us.
DSD: What’s next for Iration after the tour wraps up?
MP: We actually just finished four days of cutting in Costa Mesa. We’re finishing up an acoustic record. That’s getting mixed together at the moment. It’s a compilation of our kind of, I don’t want to say greatest hits, but kind of like the most familiar Iration songs. A few songs that maybe when we recorded them in an electric fashion, they didn’t really get to a place where we wanted them to be. We found that they lent themselves better to an acoustic version. Songs like “One Way Track” and “Home” sound great. We were really, really happy with how that went. It was really fun, and we did it all in four days. We were almost, like impressed by the product that we got. The product we got is reaching as high of a level or higher levels than the original versions.
DSD: What does “Hotting Up” mean?
MP: I’m a big soccer fan, and ‘hotting up’ is a term I hear a lot when watching soccer games. It’s the sound of the announcers going, “Things are taking off, the stadium is hotting up!” The energy in the stadium is lifting. Another way to put it is like a Bunsen burner at the bottom of a glass vile with liquid in it. The molecules bounce around, start moving everywhere. The whole thing really that I picture was like a guy, a character, who is letting his facade melt. He’s able to be himself. He’s reviving himself. Making the molecules bounce a bit. It’s also like us putting a Bunsen burner at the bottom of our butts to do this. Let’s have a fun record for everyone, one that’s somewhat light-hearted and more energetic.
For more information, visit irationmusic.com