Santa Barbara-based reggae-rock band Iration recently dropped its latest single “Right Here Right Now,” the second from its forthcoming seventh LP “Coastin’,” due for release on July 10.
Aside from the
album coming out this summer, Iration’s plans for the remainder of
the year remain up in the air, as cautionary measures against the
spread COVID-19 make the eventual status of the band’s primary
income source, live performances, a mystery. In response to the
atmosphere of worry that has been brought about by the coronavirus,
the band decided rather recently that “Right Here Right Now”
should be the album’s second single, as its message is applicable
to weathering the current situation.
As Iration’s lead singer and guitarist Micah Pueschel told the News-Press, that message is “To enjoy what you have and be grateful for the things you have rather than focusing on the things that you don’t.”
The song unites Iration with reggae-rock contemporaries like fellow Santa Barbara band Rebelution’s lead vocalist and guitarist Eric Rachmany, and Scott Woodruff, the driving force behind reggae and dub band Stick Figure. Over the course of the single’s five minutes, Mr. Pueschel, Mr. Rachmany, and Mr. Woodruff in succession each sing verses expanding on the lyrics’ central eponymous sentiment, “living in the right here, right now.”
The three vocalists and their respective groups have collaborated before on remixes such as the one Stick Figure did of his song “Smokin’ Love” and on several that Rebelution has done for its numbers. However, “Right Here Right Now” marks the first time the three singers’ voices have appeared together on a newly released song.
“I think it’s the first time we’ve been together on an original song and not a remix, so that’s what sets this one apart,” Mr. Pueschel said.
Mr. Pueschel wrote and recorded the main track of “Right Here Right Now” with his Iration bandmates, guitarist and vocalist Micah Brown, drummer Joe Dickens, bassist Adam Taylor, and keyboardist Cayson Peterson, before sending it to Mr. Rachmany and Mr. Woodruff. The recorded track had gaps for each of them to sing their own verses, for which they were allowed to pen their own lyrics.
This is right in line with Mr. Pueschel’s regular approach to collaborations, to “leave the artistic door as wide open as possible.” In his opinion, collaborations should allow for those involved to bring their own creative voices to a song, because one singer’s verse may contain some musical ideas that wouldn’t naturally come from the others.
“I think that’s what makes a collaboration interesting… You give them an opportunity to find their way through melody, and syncopation, and pocket that we may not have found,” Mr. Pueschel said.
The singer wrote “Right Here Right Now” at a time when he felt distracted and not all that engaged with what was going on in his present. Though it was written well before COVID-19 halted normal life, Mr. Pueschel believes its outlook of “being thankful” and “being present” are relevant at all times, but especially relevant during this era of COVID-19.
In Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-phase plan for reopening California’s economy, events with large gatherings like concerts and sports events are a part of its fourth and final phase, so the status of Iration’s upcoming touring schedule is questionable. Since tours are where Iration makes most of its money, Mr. Pueschel called the far-off resuming of concerts a “tough pill to swallow.” In the meantime, the band is finding new avenues for putting out content both musical and otherwise.
In the latter category, Mr. Pueschel and his bandmates have been doing a podcast called “The Uplifter” on the band’s YouTube channel. Just like Iration aims to create positive vibes from its music, “The Uplifter” is a positive news podcast similar to “The Office” actor John Krasinski’s “Some Good News.” The band broadcasts every Friday and during the show, the members answer questions from fans and they each bring in a news story they find positive and uplifting. They also frequently have guests on the podcast, with this past Friday’s show featuring Mr. Rachmany.
As far as music goes, the Iration members have started putting together recording setups in their houses so they can keep up their chops while at home by creating stripped down, acoustic versions of Iration’s latest music. Mr. Pueschel called these “quarantine versions.” Over the course of the quarantine, they may also start creating brand-new songs with each band member recording their parts separately and passing the track to the next member until its complete.
Though it’s not quite the same as playing together with all the equipment in one place, Mr. Pueschel thinks his band doing what it can under the circumstances is enough to keep it musically sharp.
“For us the chops can be resharpened fairly quickly as long as we aren’t totally out of it for a year. We’re still playing acoustically and thinking about music and thinking about the songs,” he said.