A conversation with Iya Terra

Los Angeles-based, roots reggae band, Iya Terra has been on the rise for the last four years with the goal of spreading conscious, positive music. So far, 2017 is shaping up to be the biggest year of all for them. They will be embarking on their first nation-wide tour supporting Fortunate Youth, Josh Heinrichs & Skillinjah with Four Peace Band, and Cas Haley, they are on the line-up for some of the biggest reggae festivals in the US like the One Love Cali Reggae Fest and California Roots Festival, and the guys have been working hard on their second full-length album titled Sacred Sound, which is being mixed and mastered by the one and only E.N. Young. Upcoming tour dates and a lyric video for their newest single, “By My Side”, which is available now on all digital outlets, can be found below. I was fortunate enough to catch up with all five members, Blake Bartz (drums), Nick Loporchio (bass), Nathan Feinstein (vocals/guitar), Nick Sefakis (vocals/guitar), Luis Tovar (vocals/keys), to talk about the new album, what it’s like to be in a reggae band, and some crazy tour stories.

Thanks guys for taking the time out of your busy schedules to chat with Top Shelf Reggae. We’ve been following your music since the first EP so we’re excited to see what 2017 has in store for Iya Terra. What are you most looking forward to?

  • Nick L: I’m looking forward to spreading our new album to as many people as we can this year and making massive linkups all around the nation. Yes. One Love.
  • Nathan: I’m probably most excited to just travel with the boys and to experience lots of things that we haven’t experienced thus far. 
  • Nick S: I’m excited to get this new music out that we’ve been working hard on and to tour the nation and to get to the east coast and experience their vibe.
  • Luis: I’m excited to play at Cali Roots at the end of the tour. That’s been the dream of ours.
  • Blake: I’m excited to tour, release that new music, and play at Cali Roots. 

When can we be excepting to hear the new album and how has the sound changed and grown since the last album, Full Circle?

  • Nathan: Well, the new album is going to be out in early March. And how’s the sound changed? I would say it’s matured. 
  • Nick L: Well, when a plant grows, it grows from a seed and vegetates and then flowers and gives it’s flowers and then dies and goes in hibernation and adapts to it’s climate a little better each season and I think we adapted well this winter. 
  • Nathan: Definitely!
  • Nick S: We did. We are flowering quite a bit. We’re working on the mass harvest. 
  • Nathan: So basically, it’s gonna be good.   

How do you stay true to the roots of reggae music while still moving forward with modern times?

  • Nick S: Simply by listening to roots reggae music. We don’t really care if we do something that’s similar to something else. I really feel that two different bands could play the same thing and their energies make it completely different.
  • Nathan: I mean really it’s just like, I think everyone is from a different place and time. So, no matter what your influenced by, you’re gonna make it your own, regardless. When you play, it’s going to be unique to you. 
  • Nick L: You know who wins? The one having the most fun. So when we’re all having the most fun, we’re all winning. 
  • Nathan: It really is. It’s all about the fun, and the funk!

How does spirituality play a role in influencing your music?

  • Luis: I feel like it’s not even just music. It’s our personal lives. We don’t just sing about it just to talk about it…
  • Nick S: It resonates…
  • Luis: With each of us in our own personal lives. And that’s just something that transcends through our music.
  • Nathan: I’d say that with our goal being to spread love, you have to first love yourself, which is why we choose to live it in our personal lives and be true to ourselves so that way it can just be fluid with the music. 

Okay, on a lighter note, tell me the craziest tour story you have. 

  • Nathan: One time, Nick broke a window with his ass. 
  • Nick L: I broke the window in a hotel. We were with Arise Roots and Ital Vibes and I was trying to moon Arise Roots and my ass fell through the window.
  • Nick S: He had had a couple drinks…
  • Nick L: And then Ben handled biz and told [the hotel] that somebody threw a brick through our window. And they totally bought it. We did some CSI shit and moved all the glass inside instead of outside.
  • Nick S: We all pretended to be asleep. 
  • Nathan: Also, one time the van got stuck in Santa Cruz and we blocked an entire main street for a few hours in the morning. The cops came and we had to get it towed. We ended up putting up tents on the beach and just sleeping on the beach in Santa Cruz.
  • TSR: That sounds fun!
  • Nathan: It was fun to look back on…

Alright last question, imagine you’re watching a concert and one of the band members spontaneously combusts. You get called to the stage to replace that band member. Who’s the band?

  • Luis: I would say Dezarie. I love Dezarie.
  • Blake: Hmm, I’m honestly not sure because there is so many. If it was a funk band, it would be Lettuce or The Motet. And if it was reggae, it would be Groundation or Midnite. 
  • Nathan: I’m gonna say Underoath 
  • Nick L: The Grateful Dead in the 1970’s in Egypt 
  • Nick S: Pink Floyd live in Pompeii
  • TSR: Awesome! Thank you guys for taking the time to talk. And safe travels out on the road. We are looking forward to hearing all your new music. 

Iya Terra “By My Side” lyric video

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