Hawaiian indie-reggae-rock band Iration has topped iTunes reggae charts, gained recognition from Billboard Magazine, headlined countless shows, and performed at festivals such as Lollapalooza and Hangout Festival. Now, their career is blossoming more than ever.
Their new single “Fly with Me” debuted just a few months ago and has been positively received, to say the least. This summer they have embarked on a massive tour with J Boog and Slightly Stoopid, showing their mainstay status in the rock-reggae genre. Recently, I had a chance to catch up with bassist Adam Taylor about the big things coming with their next record, surfing, and their mantra: “All about luv.”
Taylor walked us back through Iration’s high-end tour bus, pouring a mixed drink as some of the other crew and band members, including guitarist Micah Pueschel and the group’s lighting director gave their introductions. Despite a youthful smile and radiant energy, there is a touch of grey in his five o’clock shadow, a reminder of the time he has spent playing music and honing Iration’s sound. His energy and enthusiasm made it clear that he was excited about tonight’s set.
“This tour is like summer camp for us,” he explained. The Movement’s opening set sent melodies wafting through the bus windows. He continued on, chatting about how he had just spent a few days with the rest of the band in Neptune Beach, Fla., surfing and enjoying some free time. As we spoke, Taylor warmed up a little on his miniature acoustic bass (I believe it was a uke-bass). He was excited about his new purchase, detailing with enthusiasm that “you can plug it in!” Unfortunately, he had no plans to use it onstage that evening.
Being from Hawaii, he is used to the heat, but it was an early show and even the islanders admitted it was pretty hot out.
“I’m wearing pants,” he pointed out, elaborating that the band as a whole tries to dress a little nicer than the groups who come out in board shorts and the like, even though they have nothing against them.
When asked about the early set, Taylor had mixed feelings. He’s used to playing after dark or inside, and the group has a killer light show that he said isn’t highlighted as well during these early evening sets. He kept a positive attitude though, telling me how they will roll with whatever. Even despite the sun, their music fits a sunny summer day perfectly. Another unexpected benefit of this show was that the band was given an extra 10 minutes to perform.
Adam Taylor is clearly passionate about the fans. Despite touring with Slightly Stoopid and J Boog, his group tries to take a less obvious 420-friendly approach. He clarified that even though they do not write songs about joints and blunts, they like to use metaphors that could evoke the feeling of being high, but also just the feeling of being in love or waking up on the right side of the bed.
“We try not to pigeonhole ourselves” as stoner music, Taylor said, explaining that they want Iration to be music that everyone can enjoy and relate to.
He was clear with me that the music he makes is for the fans. It makes him feel good to play, but the motivation he has when he performs is what he can bring to others. For him, it isn’t as much of a personal emotional experience but more of an intentional way of creating songs that evoke positivity in others.
Taylor described the writing process as something that has become more collaborative over time. Each group member practices several instruments and contributes different inspirations. For instance, Taylor plays keys, drums, guitar and sings.
“We grew up around this kind of music,” Taylor said when we talked about Iration’s signature sound. Only two of the band’s newer members are not from Hawaii, so that influence will always be present. Their new music is headed in a more experimental direction, adding influences from genres other than rock and reggae. Their relationship with Dirty Heads came up when we discussed these new tracks: The two groups have a great relationship and embrace the similarities they share on upcoming music.
Adam’s final message to Iration fans was something we have heard from the group many times before: “‘It’s ll about luv.’ It is like l-u-v love, nothing too serious, just luv that you can share with anyone.”
For more on Iration, go here.