Side Stage Magazine: What is the music scene in Nashville, & how have The Nearly Deads fit into it?
Steven Tobi: The music scene in Nashville has become very diverse. It is the country music capital of the world, but has grown to see a lot of different genres take a foot hold here. That being said, the rock scene is still a small niche compared to the country, bluegrass and indie/hipster scenes. I feel The Nearly Deads are working hard to change that and to show that a heavy rock band can be successful here. Hopefully we can inspire other forming rock groups to make their start in this amazing music mecca.
Are you influenced at all by the music that has come out of Nashville?
Yes and no. I think we are mostly influenced with the amount of overall talent in this town. While most of the styles of music played here don’t influence my writing, I was definitely inspired to step up my game as a musician and performer when I moved here. Almost everyone here plays an instrument or sings and almost all of them are extremely talented. There are a few bands here that have influenced me musically like Halestorm and Icon for Hire. Both have amazing live shows and catchy rock tunes.
How did the band get it’s name?
The band is currently based in Nashville, however TJ, our original drummer Cory, and I moved here from Tampa and wanted to incorporate that into our story. There is a saying about Florida that it’s the state for newly weds and nearly deads. We thought The Nearly Deads sounded cool and referenced our home state, so it then became our band name.
What was the writing process like for this EP and how does it compare to your previous work?
The biggest difference between this EP and our previous releases is the influences we took from our fans. The first EP was our introduction into the industry and it was instrumental in creating our passionate fan base known as #zombies. Our next release, Invisible Tonight, was more of an experiment with our various musical influences and it veered a little from our original sound. With this EP, we wanted to give the fans something they will really love and something that reflects all the reasons they started listening to us in the beginning. We were able to review play/stream stats, read comments, reviews and take note of how the fans react at shows to all our songs. We took all that info in mind as we began to write the new EP and I believe as a result, we ended up with a new record that is genuine to who we are as musicians and to what our fans love most about The Nearly Deads.
Would you say that this EP is a fresh start and a return to the band’s heavier sound?
Definitely! I probably answered most of this in the previous question haha, but this is definitely our heaviest release. It has fresh new sounds, tones and messages while still retaining The Nearly Deads essence that we forged in our debut self titled EP.
Are there any plans for a full length album?
There are always plans for new releases, whether it’s a new full length album, single or EP. We never want to stop writing and always love creating new content for our dedicated audience.
Was there any music that did not make the EP, if so will it ever see the light of day?
Every time we release a new record there are always songs that don’t make the cut. For example, this EP is 6 tracks long and I probably wrote 20+ ideas/songs before we narrowed it down. Whether or not we use any of that material in the future, I’m not sure. It all depends on if we can turn them into something we feel is a quality song and that represents us as a band. Maybe when we are bigger we can use them for a b-sides rarities record.
Personal favorite tracks?
That’s like asking to pick a favorite child or pet haha. I do love the singles as a listener, but there are 2 tracks that have a special place for me as a songwriter.
The first is “Frequencies”. I am a huge fan of sci-fi and I also love bands and songs with lots of layers and etherial sounding guitars and synths. This is our first track that I really got to explore those sorts of guitar tones and programing. Not only are the lyrics science fiction inspired, but I think the music reflects that passion of mine as well.
My second favorite track as a musician is the final track “As Good As It Gets”. My all time favorite band is The Smashing Pumpkins. I also am a huge fan of other 90’s alternative rock bands. I have always loved when bands like the Pumpkins and Goo Goo Dolls incorporate strings and other outside instruments to create songs like “Tonight Tonigh”t or “Iris”; songs that have so much passion and a theatrical feeling to them. Hopefully we achieved something close with this song and it hits people the same way the songs that inspired it do.
Which of the songs was the most challenging to work on?
That’s a good and challenging question 🙂 They all have different elements that came easily or that were a challenge. I think “Not Listening” gave us the most trouble during the writing process. We wanted something a little more straight forward with a driving rhythm and chant along lyrics. Hopefully we were successful, but it was a struggle trying to fit that realm without getting to cheesy or too far from “The Nearly Deads sound”.
Teresa Jeane is a classically trained musician. How has her musical background helped to shape the sound of the band?
I think it has played a big part in our success. Not only has it given her the range and vocal strength that she has, but it has also helped shape her badass piano skills haha. I feel TJ has a voice that is unique in the “Female Fronted Rock” arena and her schooling and training has helped to shape that.
The band is heading out on tour for the next 2 months. Are there any places that you’re looking forward to playing?
We are very excited to get back on the road and to hit all of these stops. We love meeting all of our passionate fans all over the country and hopefully soon around the world. I am however looking forward to getting back to the west coast. Its been a while since our last tour that way and I know we have many dedicated fans over there who have been patiently waiting our return.
What is your message to your fans?
First we want to thank everyone so very much who supported our pledge campaign and helped to make this new EP a reality. We also want to thank all the fans who will be picking up a copy May 26th and who are coming out to any of the tour dates. You are the reason we do this and there wouldn’t be The Nearly Deads without you.
The Break Into Action tour starts April 17th. Our EP release show is May 25th at Rocketown in Nashville. The New EP releases May 26th to the public. Check out our latest single “My Evil Ways” on Spotify, iTunes and other digital retailers and checkout the music video here!