Although they weren’t a band until years later, the five guys who make up Iration all went to high school together in Hawaii. Knowing each other for so long makes touring together much easier, the group's lead vocalist and guitarist, Michal Pueschel, explains. As of late, the band has spread their reggae vibes throughout the country on their Automatic Winter Tour, and they’re stopping in Austin for a little South By Southwest action at Flamingo Cantina on March 12 and Six Tap Room on March 13.
By Madison Hamilton
While preparing for a show in Florida and celebrating his birthday, Pueschel took a few minutes to chat with ORANGE Events Editor Madison Hamilton:
ORANGE: So you guys all live in California now but how did you meet?
PUESCHEL: We met in high school in Hawaii. We were all friends and then one of our buddies moved to Santa Barbara and kept raving about it so he recruited everyone else to come out there. That’s when we all linked back up and started playing music together.
ORANGE: You didn’t perform together in Hawaii?
PUESCHEL: No, we didn’t even play any instruments! I sang in high school and performed Hawaiian music for fun, but we never did gigs or anything like that. We pretty much just picked up the instruments in college and taught ourselves how to play. We learned by playing covers and at the time we were listening to a lot of reggae, so that’s how we got our sound.
ORANGE: Iration has been described as reggae, rock, sunshine music, etc. How would you best describe your music?
PUESCHEL: I think reggae-rock is the best description. The style we play is reggae but some of the lyrics have a pop structure. And we all like guitars and playing rock and roll too. Basically, if we like the song, we’ll play it — it doesn’t matter what the genre is.
ORANGE: Would you say you have a certain type of fan?
PUESCHEL: We’re lucky because our music touches people from almost every age group. There’s definitely a lot of younger fans, like college age, but we have people that come out who are our parents' age, too, and they love it. Our fans are just super supportive and positive. For the amount of fans that we have, it’s amazing how little haterade we get poured on us.
ORANGE: Having positive lyrics probably helps with that.
PUESCHEL: Definitely. We always try to make music that’s not too heavy. We want to make music that makes people feel good.
ORANGE: So your band has five guys, including you. What’s the best and worst part about being around that many guys all the time?
PUESCHEL: The best part is having a lot of musicians to make a full sound. And we always have someone to hang out with, you know? The worst part is just being on a bus with that many guys all the time. But we all get along pretty well, so that’s good.
ORANGE: You guys are touring a lot. Do you have a most memorable show?
PUESCHEL: Playing Red Rock for the first time on our last tour. You set your goal as a musician to play there someday, so to be able to do that was pretty cool.
ORANGE: What about during your downtime on tour? What do you do for fun when you aren’t performing?
PUESCHEL: Since this has been a winter tour, we’ve been doing some snowboarding. But in the summertime, we golf. And when we’re on the coast, it’s golfing and surfing. Mostly just a lot of outdoors stuff on the days off.
ORANGE: What about in Austin?
ORANGE: Random question — if you could collaborate with any artist (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
PUESCHEL: John Lennon or Paul McCartney. Because how could you not want to work with one of them? For me The Beatles are the top of the mountain.
ORANGE: Where do you see Iration in ten years?
PUESCHEL: Hopefully, we’re still growing. I’de like to see us branching out and playing overseas in Europe, South America and Asia. That’s the goal for us. Also just to be happy… and maybe touring a little less.