(Mental Health Conversations):  Micah Pueschel of IRATION

(Mental Health Conversations): Micah Pueschel of IRATION

Editor’s Note:  Guitarist Micah Pueschel of Iration recently sat down with Madness To Creation to discuss their released album “Coastin'”, along with mental health awareness, their Twitch channel, and so much more.  In their career, Iration has amassed one billion streams and have scored two number one albums on the Billboard reggae charts.  They’ve also played incredible and historic events for the San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants and for Senator Bernie Sanders.  They’ve also made waves with the single “Right Here Right Now”, which was a video and single to celebrate healthcare workers and those on the frontlines fighting this Covid-19 pandemic.  Iration is composed of Micah Brown on lead guitars/vocals, Micah Pueschel on guitars, Adam Taylor on bass, Joseph Dickens on drums, Cayson Peterson on keyboards, and Drake Peterson on percussion/trumpet.  Fans can find Iration at the following locations:

https://www.irationmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/iration

https://twitter.com/iration

https://www.instagram.com/iration/

Madness To Creation:  Micah, thanks for chatting with me today, what’s going on today?

Micah:  Oh not much, same old same old, I have a newborn baby, so I’m living that life right now. *laughs*

Madness To Creation:  Very cool!  Congratulations on the newborn, when was he or she born?

Micah:  On April 7th, she was born my daughter.

Madness To Creation:  On July 10th, you released the album “Coastin'”, take us into the studio of that album and take us into the writing process and how you have grown over the years into the writing process.

Micah:  The writing process has definitely evolved over time.  In the beginning, first and foremost when we started the band, we didn’t really have much of an idea how to write songs, we just kind of recorded fly by night, over the years, we got to work with some really good songwriters and producers that were able to meld how we look at songwriting, and personally, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the craft of songwriting and try to understand it better.  I think especially with this album, it’s been the most collaborative that we have been in as a band in the songwriting process, which I think is one of the most unique and well-rounded albums, which everybody was involved in all aspects of it, and now we share in the lyric writing, which is a big thing for us with this album.  Just having everybody being involved in all of the steps.  We’ve learned that if this person did this song, or if this person did that song, it kind of becomes a disjointed thing.

Madness To Creation:  You mentioned a collaborative effort in the songwriting process, what do you feel each band member brings to the table?

Micah:  I think that everybody has their own strengths.  For me, I’ve been a large part of the writing process for Iration from the beginning, so when we are writing, I’m kind of guiding the whole thought process in terms of where the song is going, and keeping it on track as far as what the song is trying to say, I think that my other strength is my melodies, that’s something that I’ve been really good at.  Micah Brown is technically music savvy, and he has a really good mind for structure and all that.  Cayson, our keyboard player, has an ear for detail with certain sounds and certain aspects of the song.  Adam and Joseph are really the backbone of the band, they are the rhythm section, for the most part they’re the most recognizable sound in part of what Iration is really about as a band.  The drummer and the bass is what most people would say is the bread and butter.  Our trumpet player Drake does a lot of the arrangements and he organizes all of that.  Yeah, we have a very well-rounded group, and that’s the reason right now why we are at our strongest and at our best because everybody is being utilized at doing what they do best, and with any band or team that is a good strategy.

Madness To Creation:  It’s so important to have that collaborative effort, what’s the next step that you want to take with Iration?

Micah:  I think the goal for us is to make music that is timeless, that’s always the goal, we always want to evolve, after “we’re irrelevant”, the music will stay interesting, the music will stay relevant for longer than we are around, so that means that my kids and my grandkids can put it on in 30 or 40 years and be like, “listen to this”, people will still think that it’s cool, and that’s my goal.  Other than that, we’re always trying to get in front of more people in a live setting, that’s what we really want to do.  We want to grow the band as much as we can and get in as many years as we can. 

Madness To Creation:  Naturally, the Covid-19 pandemic has sent us into a tail spin so to speak, what adjustments have the band had to make to promote “Coastin'”, and how have you adjusted your social media accounts to stay connected with your fanbase?

Micah:  Quite a bit, I mean when we put out an album, we rely heavily on the tour to promote it, I mean generally it’s the largest chunk of bands’ income.  Every other time that we’ve put an album out, we’ve gone straight out to the road.  So this year, we’ve been a lot more involved in the marketing plan and the in the process of releasing the album, that’s a lot more of our individual creativity as well as being involved in creating the videos and all of that stuff and all of the artwork that comes with the album, just to be more involved in the those steps is really cool.  The pandemic has really forced us to be more creative as a band in all aspects of what we do.  We’re so used to being a live band, but the thing is Iration is a band that goes out and plays live music and tour, that’s what people know us for, and having that taken away is like a boxer having their right hand taken away and having that hand tied to your side, and you’re forced to use your off hand, so we’ve been finding new ways to connect to our fanbase, whether that’s through “The Uplifter” podcast, our Twitch channel or through social media in general, we’re just trying to find as many different ways as possible to reconnect to the fanbase and stay connected through the album release, and to still get people excited about our music even though we’re not in front of them directly.

Madness To Creation:  You mentioned your podcast and Twitch channel, do you want to plug that real quick?

Micah:  We’ve been doing “The Uplifter” podcast for awhile, and we get together once a week, and we have a top general topic, it’s not just music, it’s all kinds of different things, but we did some stuff that talks about breaking down some of the songs, and with the release we kind of go through all of the tracks and the writing process of each song in-depth.  We talk about all of the parts and how they came about and how we built the song, the meaning behind the songs, and we kind of go into a more general discussion about stories, touring, we’ve had in-depth songs with Rebelution, we’ve had all kinds of fun people on there.  It’s just a fun, positive chat, we take it very lightly, it’s just kind of a good way to break up the seriousness of what’s going on outside of us in the real world.

We also have a Twitch channel and www.twitch.tv/irationlive where we are live streaming acoustic performances, live streaming video games, our music videos, it’s just another way to connect.  It’s generally me running that Twitch channel, we’ve gotten over 150 subscribers in the month that we’ve been doing it, it’s growing pretty fast and we’re excited about that as well.

Madness To Creation:  We cover mental health awareness at Madness To Creation and we want to normalize mental health conversations.  What advice do you have for people that are struggling and what makes you happy, and what helps you get through the struggles in life?

Micah:  That’s awesome, I have a degree in psychology, so I’m big on mental health, it’s something that is a big responsibility in our music and in our messages, we always remind people that your mental health is just as important as your physical health because we believe that ties in together and I think that in this country, there’s a stigma about confronting mental health that we need to work on, so that’s part of the reason why we make music that is positive and that it’s trying to help people.  When I have people write to me and say that “your music got me through the hardest times in my life”, to me that’s the ultimate reward and the ultimate compliment, for me doing what we’re doing, we have military people that have came up to us and say, “your music has gotten me through my deployment or my post-deployment” or that, “it’s gotten me through my depression or my anxiety”, to me that’s the biggest compliment that we can get as a band.  It makes us feel like what we’re doing is worth it.

For me personally, I like to be outside, that’s my biggest way to clear my head and go for a walk or go hiking or go golf.  I like to golf, walk and exercise, those are the best ways, it keeps me mentally there, or if I’m not feeling something I like to go outside, walk my dog, just kind of clear my head for an hour, so I think it’s one of the best ways to keep ourselves mentally healthy to keep your head on straight.

Madness To Creation:  What’s the first thing you want to do when this pandemic is over?

Micah:  I would like to feel comfortable to do more traveling,  I would like to be on an airplane, although not now *laughs*.  My wife and I and our daughter want to go on a trip and stay somewhere nice and go to Hawaii.  My wife is Scottish so go to Scotland and go visit her family over there, and I like to play golf so do that on the trip to Scotland, and I think that’s just the typical thing.  For me in my life, we have the baby and the house at this point, the stuff that I miss at this point is the simple things such as playing golf, going to the grocery store and not having to think about too much and I think maybe just going to have a meal at a restaurant.

Madness To Creation:  I know that you have other interviews, so where can people find Iration and anything else that you want to cover that we haven’t covered in regards to Iration?

Micah:  You can find Iration anywhere, especially on Apple Music and Spotify.  We’re really keen on Twitch and YouTube and we’re trying to get more of our visual content on YouTube, be a part of the Irators Facebook Group, be a part of The Uplifter and say what’s up on the Twitch channel.

And there you have it!  Check out the album via Spotify below:

  • Photo Credit:  Dane Hodgson
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