Sitting down with Iya Terra

Iya Terra is a five-piece reggae, rock, and roots band from Los Angeles, California. They have recently been touring the west coast with bands such as Tribal Seeds, Inna Vision, Fortunate Youth, New Kingston, and many more and have been a part of numerous festivals in the last year like The Summer Meltdown, Reggae on the River, The Shoreline Jam, and The One Love Festival. Iya Terra is best known for spreading positive messages through their conscious and upbeat reggae music and contributing to the movement that is reggae music. We had the opportunity to chat with lead singer, Nathan Feinstein, about the release of their new single, “Loving Design”, and other future plans for the band. 

First off, I'd like to congratulate Iya Terra on all the success on your latest album, Full Circle, as well as your recent tours with New Kingston and Tribal Seeds. Both those tours must have been awesome opportunities for you guys, tell me about that.

Thank you so much! Honestly, as an up-and-coming band we still just feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to share our music in any way. When we get asked to join forces with some of our favorite bands and musical idols we all just get this overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude. All I can say about it is that honest hard work with good intentions definitely pays off. We play music for the love of music – and that’s what I attribute any success that we get towards. We just want to share this peaceful message with the world through the love of reggae. It’s been amazing. I remember when we got the call to open for Fortunate Youth on a small tour we did together I was laying on a hotel room floor in Moss Beach and I was so excited I just woke up the boys and we were all giddy about it, literally jumping for joy haha! It doesn’t get old ya know? That feeling of pure happiness when you start to see results for your work. We just keep pushing forward one step at a time.

How would you say the band has grown and evolved in that last year?

I’d say that we’ve definitely matured as a band. We’ve been putting a lot of effort into bettering our over-all sound and working on our stage show. As time goes by, our musical tastes change and we keep creating a sound closer and closer to that which we all love. We’ve gotten into a deeper overstanding of who each other are as individuals and musicians, which enhances the chemistry when we get in the studio and start writing music. Plus, we were on the road more than we ever had been in the last year, which has taught us so much. We’ve really experienced what it’s like to be around each other for weeks on end, and put on a show every single night in a different city. It’s made us closer as brothers, and as a band. I give thanks for every experience that has helped us grow and learn as a band, and to all of the musicians that we look up to who have shared their experiences and wisdom with us.

Iya Terra interview - Loving Design

You guys started off 2016 strong by headlining one of the stages at the One Love Festival, which is a big step forward considering Iya Terra has only opened at festivals so far. What was that experience like?

It was great. We always just keep in mind that to get to the top, you have to touch every rung of the ladder. We’re happy just to be playing at festivals, regardless of whether we’re opening or not. I can’t lie, we were all shocked to hear that we were headlining that stage, but we were so excited. It was a big step forward. The whole vibe at that festival was insane! So many reggae lovers and people who support the scene in so many ways. The energy in our room was honestly one of the most intense energies I’ve ever felt while on stage. It was absolute gratitude and excitement. I have to big up 3 Cornerstone Entertainment for putting that festival together, and for showing Iya Terra some love. It was massive.

You just released the new single, “Loving Design”, tell me about the meaning of the title and where the inspiration for the song came from.

It’s a love song. Which is pretty rare for us, we’ve only put out one love song before this. But it was just right. “Loving Design” was written and recorded in one day. It’s probably the most organic of any of the songs we’ve ever written. We were on the tail end of a three day writing session at the HQ, running over a bunch of material for the new record. I sat down on the drums and Blake (our drummer) jumped on the keyboards and we started jamming on this little tune. We found a groove and we both just looked at each other like, “dude…this needs to be a thing” haha! So everyone hopped on their instruments and I sat down and started jotting down lyrics into a notebook. Next thing we knew we had the foundation for “Loving Design”. The name itself just came naturally from a lyric in the song. It almost has a double meaning to me. Firstly, the universe has an ultimate design for everything, and I feel like when you meet someone, it’s all part of a greater plan. Everyone and everything that you need will come into your life in its own perfect time and place. Also, I feel like it is describing that beautiful and intricate presence of a woman and the love that she has to give – that passionate and nurturing force that she can bring. A loving design. 

What was it like working with Jacob Iosia and what made you decide to bring him on to the track?

It was rad! We’ve all been fans of Jacob and his different bands and projects over the years. When we were writing the song, we realized it had that slow groove, lovers rock kind of style to it and we couldn’t think of anyone better to feature than Jacob Iosia. We were so stoked when he told us he’d love to feature on it! It’s definitely a really great feeling to make songs with musicians that you admire.

If you could have one person listen to the new single, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Hm…that’s a hard question. I’d guess I’d say Jerry Garcia? Hopefully he’d dig my guitar licks..Haha I don’t know! I’d just hope that anyone and everyone will check it out. It’s a new vibe for us, but I love experimenting with this diverse sound and different styles of reggae music.

Can we be expecting a new Iya Terra album in the near future?

Yes! Most definitely. There’s no real timeline for it yet, but we have a lot of songs written and have already begun the recording process. Although, we are expecting this one to take a lot longer than the last one because we’ve taken the most of the recording process into our own hands for the first time. We’ll be tracking most of the record ourselves at the Iya Terra HQ and working with multiple producers and engineers to help us get this new sound that we want. We are so, so excited to share this new music! We’re working really hard on it and hope to have it ready by the end of the year.

How will this album be different from the last one and will there be any collaborations with bands you've recently played with?

Well for starters, with us basically self-producing our record, we’ll have all the time in the world to work with different sounds, opening the door to new worlds of sound. That’s what I’m most excited about. Expect a lot of different sounds coming out of this next album. The songs are being written differently as well. We are all contributing heavily to the writing process. The lyrical content will be focused much more on uplifting, healing, growing, consciousness. There will be lots of three piece harmony, heavy digital sound-clash style riddims, and so much more. We are stoked. As for the collaborations, I’m not too sure yet, but we clearly love sharing songs with artists that we listen to, so I’d say you could probably expect to hear some collabs.

Awesome! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Top Shelf Reggae wishes you guys the best on the new album and the Golden Hearts tour with The Movement starting in April. Is there anything else you'd like to add or say to your fans?

Thank you so much! We have all the love for Top Shelf Reggae! Huge thanks to all who support Iya Terra. Our family of support is the life-blood of this movement and we wouldn’t exist without you. Keep an ear out for lots and lots of touring this summer and so forth. Can’t wait to hit new cities and meet new people! We’ll see ya on the road. One love.

Iya Terra “Nice it Up” music video

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