411's Robert Cooper sits down with Jon Case of alt-metal band Irata to talk about their new EP Vultures and more! See what he has to say about the EP, metal fans, the band's influences and more!
Finally, I was able to set this up. I was able to get an interview with Jon Case, bassist and vocalist for Greensboro, North Carolina's own Irata. It was cool to interview him because he's a stone's throw away from my town. The band is a really cool band; their style is hard to place, with bits of psychedelia and doom thrown into a hard rock/metal soup. But anyways, this was a great interview, so here it is.
Me: First off, I know you told me earlier how to pronounce your bands' name, but just for the readers, how is it pronounced?
Jon: It's pronounced Eye-ra-ta.
Good!, now that we have that out of the way, I noticed first thing with your music that finding a genre to fit you in would be hard. I also know that bands don't really like to be put into genres, but if you were to fit somewhere, where would it be?
Jon: The listeners will pigeonhole you in to genres. Because they're trying to relate you to another band. We don't exactly see ourselves as a certain genre. We don't see ourselves as psychedelic metal, or metal, we just see ourselves as a rock band.
That's a fine description of the band, everyone loves some rock n' roll. I can say that I've listened to your new EP a good 3 or 4 times, and the song that always strikes me is, "Miser", it has a very doomy intro and a real dirty feel. Kind of reminds me of some old Black Sabbath.
Jon: Right there is an influence of ours, and a great band. "Miser" is one of the older songs that we wrote, and seems to get some attention in the reviews is a good song.
So do you have a favorite song off of the EP?
Jon: All the songs are my favorites, it's hard to really name a favorite, because they're all my babies. It's also hard to name a favorite because there are different types of favorite songs like favorite live song and stuff like that.
That makes sense. So looking at information on your album, I see that it was produced by a member of Kylesa!, How was that as an experience?
Jon: Phillip Cope of Kylesa, he's a pretty big name in the music scene right now, and he just jumped in on producing the album and did a great job. We had never met him before, but when we were sending out demos and trying to get the interest of people, he liked our sound, and he jumped in, he is a complete pro and did a great job.
That's good, he did a good job, I like the production on the album. So I know that when I Googled you guys when this interview opportunity came up that you guys were doing your first ever Eastern US tour, have you done any tours before now?
Jon: We have never done a long tour as Irata. We have had a few shorter tours, but nothing that has lasted as long as this one.
So how is the current tour treating you?
Jon: Currently, the tour is going pretty well and there are a few weeks left in it. New York dumped some snow on us, and I didn't pack so well. So I was walking in snow in my Vans, and my feet were wet, but hey, the show must go.
I know the feeling, just got to soldier on, right?
It was kind of funny, earlier in the week I was down here complaining about it being a chilly. I guess I've got nothing on you!
Jon: It can't be that bad, you don't know cold until you get up here
I'll have to take your word for it. Speaking of this tour, do you have any fun or entertaining stories to tell, or is it too early to pick one?
Jon: As for good stories, New York and the shitty weather is one of note. But it's hard to think of a good story, because every city seems to have one.
Jon: I'm sure that there is a story for everywhere.
What bands have influenced you guys?
Jon: We all come from different places and have different tastes in music.
Jon: Some bands and influences that the three of us have in common are The Melvins, and a lot of the 90's bands. There also are Quicksand, Fugazi, and you can see the Jane's Addiction with our vocals. We're also in to bands like Tweek Bird and Big Business. Our current guitarist is a Metallica fan. Some newer bands that we like are Kylesa, we also like Torche, and Isis.
I always kind of thought that Metallica could fit in that 90's band slot.
Jon: Our guitarist is the one who digs them, but he threw on 'Ride the Lightning' the other day, and it made me want to go dust off my Metallica collection.
Yeah, 'Ride' is their best in my opinion.
Jon: There is no doubt to that one.
Seeing as you guys are from the south, is there anything about bands down there, is there a different perspective compared to bands from the north or west?
Jon: Southern bands stick together, I think that there is more camaraderie between them, but I wouldn't know about perspective wise if they're any different than us, because I haven't interacted with enough of them to know if they were different than us.
I think you guys have a good cross-genre appeal to you. You don't quite fit a spot for metal, or rock, or even doom or psychedelia, you just do your own stuff.
Jon: Just as we talked about earlier, it's good to have a sound that has variance to it.
You guys definitely have a sound that I could see getting popular on the mainstream charts.
Jon: Thanks, man, I appreciate that. We don't write to get on a chart or get hits. But we have been having some small successes as of late, and if they lead to anything bigger then that'd be great.
I totally understand that, if you guys did hit it big, it'd just be a nice extra Christmas present.
I guess there is a good thing about the fact that you don't fit into metal or rock, because with metal there seems to be a certain stigma, but I've noticed that it's lessening and there seems to be a certain mainstream acceptance with metal, why do you think?
Jon: I think that metal fans are getting smarter as the years go by. Back in the earlier days of metal, it was all about aggression, and speed, and melody. It seems that now they are starting to tone down some of the aggression. I've noticed the fans too, the ones that show up to our shows tend to be a little tamer than what they used to be.
Perhaps that is because while back in the day, they were young and wild. Now, many of them have grown up and become fathers, uncles and what not and they've fostered metal into the younger generations with less ferocity.
Jon: You might be on to something, I think that it might have something to do with that, and I think that the appeal to metal has widened as well.
Is there anything that you'd like to plug before we finish this out?
Jon: Nothing in particular, but of course we do have an EP out right now, called 'Vultures'. The Vinyl of it should be coming out soon. You can also check out our website, twitter, facebook, and subscribe to our mailing list!
So there we go, I would like to thank Jon for his time.
I'll also be reviewing their new EP, 'Vultures', which will come out the same day as this interview (my review will, not the EP release).