In a world too often filled with division and disconnection, music still holds on to an incredible power to beat down barriers and bring people of all backgrounds together. With his latest project — Crossed Heart Clothing Presents: Pop Punk Goes Reggae, Vol. 1 — Nathan Aurora of Iya Terra has managed to create a sensory tour de force that not only resonates with listeners, especially those who came of age in the early 2000’s, but also builds a much needed bridge between two genres that, generally, are sonically worlds apart.
This reggae-brewed, punk-dressed shoutout to our anxious teenage selves is a fantastic testament to Aurora’s ability to weave together a genuinely diverse range of musical tastes from his younger days growing up in Las Vegas.
Each track was carefully chosen and crafted by Aurora, both lyrically and instrumentally.
So much intent went into honoring things like innovative guitar riffs from the title song or original drum fills with tricks like replacing the snare drum with a timbale, just to add that extra dash of reggae flair. The vocals from each of the 16 singles are another wonderful showcasing of how all of the guest artists are fully committed to connecting listeners from various backgrounds and walks of life and introducing them to American reggae in a whole new fashion, as well as preserving the inventive spirit of the original songs; the ones that charmed us in the first place.
Not only was intentionality put into artist and song choice, but song order was just as much of a factor, “I love a good flow,” says Aurora, “I love a good roller coaster, ya know? If you’re gonna do a mellow song then the next one or two need to be building energy, then you mellow out again, I just love the flow, the journey of an album.” A love that led to conversations with Matthew Keller, who mixed and mastered the album, about using effects to fill the gaps in between songs so each track blends into the next one. A flow that creates that desired journey when the album is played all the way through from the mesmerizing opening drum beat of the first single, SOJA’s rendition of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down” to the infectious hooks of the album’s closer, Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Stick Figure. PPGRv1 takes you on a captivating and intentionality driven journey, immersing you in a world of harmonies and rhythms that will serve as the cherry on top for the hottest summer ever.
After seeing the success of singer/songwriter Cas Haley’s own Instagram covers, Aurora was inspired by a conversation with the reggae-cover guru to fire up a camera of his own and begin sharing individual covers, as well as songs from the eventual album, with his audience. In fact, Aurora has mentioned how Haley’s unique style of blending reggae and so many other genres has been a major influence on this record. Thanks to his connection with shared manager Ryan Owens and the inspiration he gained from Haley, Aurora has been able to create content that not only honors the album but also reaches across the algorithm. Due to reels like his Slipknot cover that reached well over three million views, the content began being pushed to rock and metal feeds – feeds who would have never heard reggae otherwise – and something positive began to take shape.
Rocking a spectacular lineup of artists and influences like Artikal Sound System, HIRIE and Bumpin Uglies, and beside an epic producer like Matthew Keller, Aurora has constructed a project that speaks to the teenage spirit in all of us. Whether you’re an avid lover of reggae, metal or something in between, or by chance you are simply someone who enjoys exploring new sounds, this album is sure to captivate and resonate with you on a deep level.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you’re a Millennial.
The music of the early 2000’s saw a niche genre begin to emerge from the shadows and into the mainstream. It turned out that punk music wasn’t dead, in fact, it was more alive than it had been since its inception. But what happens when punk goes reggae? Well, sit back, close your eyes, and let the melodies of Pop Punk Goes Reggae, Vol. 1 wash over you and find out. It’s time to build bridges and connect with the music that unites us all. This album is definitely worth a listen and is yet another amazing example of how different genres can come together to create something completely unique and unexpected. With the help of Ineffable Records, and featuring bands like The Movement, Kyle Smith, Ballyhoo!, Stick Figure, and Aurora’s own, Iya Terra, Crossed Heart Clothing Presents: Pop Punk Goes Reggae, Vol. 1 drops everywhere September 15th. Pre-save here.