Irata refuses to let music be pigeon-holed

by Heather MacIntyre

One of the more choice instrumental bands of the Triad, Irata isn’t distressed with the normal band anxiety about getting signed to a record label immediately. For these multi-genre devotees, it’s more about the music and getting the right sound for each individual album. “We try and stay away from [labels] people tend to put on music,” percussionist Jason Ward says. “Stereotypes that come along with certain genres of music can really pigeonhole a band. We decided ourselves to keep an open canvas for making cool and experimental music. The first album just happens to be instrumental-rock.” Many sound comparisons come from heavier bands like the Melvins and Jane’s Addiction. Notable experimenting with limitless patterns reminds you of tracks shared by Mars Volta, Pink Floyd and a few obscure bands from the Czech Republic. Collectively, their favorite new release is Meanderthal from Torche. When touching on the subject of deciding on an instrumental album, they explain the often-happening situation of brilliant intros that are ruined when vocals start. But they are keeping an open mind about their future; after all, their goal is to remain limitless with their musical endeavors. Bassist Jon Case explains, “If and when we decide that a tune needs lyrics or vocal sounds… then it shall be.” Some of their favorite groupes sans-chanteur include Russian Circles, Man or Astroman and Red Sparrow. Not even two years old, the band can more than walk – and they are heading right for Europe next spring, but not without stopping for an East Coast tour this fall. And of all the stops they’ve made here yet, their favorite NC show has been in Greenville at the Spazzatorium, where they had one of the best responses to their new 2008 self-titled release. Notorious for their live performances, they add an eclectic arrangement of outsources not limited to saxophones that run through guitar pedals and African djembe. The only thing added to the album that they don’t use live was a Moog for ambience, with which they still run samples during performances. Their next show is Thursday night at Vulume 11 in Raleigh. Lastly, my favorite line of the interview with these smirking rock musicians was at my intrigue of one (quirky) fact about each member. Their response was peculiar enough: “Jason Duff is a mute. Jon Case likes squirrels, and Jason Ward has two arms but only uses one. That is so indie.”