One of the best synthpop bands in the world is no more. Iris has called it quits.
I began hearing rumors of the band’s split online, and I soon discovered that singer Reagan Jones had changed his workplace status to past tense: “Worked at Iris.”
After reaching out to both members of the band, composer Andrew Sega confirmed the news for me on Facebook. ADDENDUM: Since publishing this article, Jones has also confirmed in a private message to me that the band has ended.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have played a small role in the band’s demise. Jones, who is unvaccinated, is currently recovering from COVID, and the two are bickering publicly about the vaccine’s safety, perhaps a sign of greater friction between the duo.
Iris’s last album was Six
The band began in 1993 as Forgiving Iris. Jones and original co-founder, former keyboardist/programmer Matthew Morris, got their start playing cover songs in Austin, Texas. They eventually started working on their own material.
In 1999, they shortened their name to simply Iris and released their debut album, Disconnect. It included “Annie, Would I Lie to You” as well as other Iris classics, “Danger Is the Shame” and “Lose in Wanting.”
After the release of Disconnect, Morris left the band to focus on his personal life. Sega soon replaced him as the band’s primary composer to work on the second album, and the core duo was born.
Together, Jones and Sega have produced five studio albums, a remix collection, and numerous singles. I was fortunate enough to see Iris perform live one time. In 2011, they toured the United States with Mesh and De/Vision as the Legends of Synthpop, and I caught their show in Tucson, Arizona. I remember being blown away by Jones’ incredible voice.
In 2019, Iris emerged from a lengthy break and released their sixth and apparently final album, Six, which I named number ten on my list of the best albums of the year. Six included the songs “Third Strike” and “Take the Pain.”
I am saddened by the news that the band has come to an end, but they leave behind an enduring synthpop legacy.
Iris – “Annie, Would I Lie to You”
Iris first caught my attention in the mid-90s with their classic track, “Annie, Would I Lie to You.” The song was an enormous hit in goth-industrial clubs, and I can distinctly remember dancing to it at Atlanta’s famous 688 Club. DJ Alabaster mixed it among other popular tracks at the time, such as Wolfsheim’s “Sparrows and the Nightingale” and Wumpscut’s “Thorns.”