Led by the inimitable vocalist Theresa Jeane along with Steven Tobi (guitar), Kevin Koelsch (bass), Javier Garza Jr. (guitar) and Josh Perrone (drums), The Nearly Deads are one of the hottest, rising rock bands to come out of Nashville. The band became a viral sensation with their break out, zombie infused music video for the single "Never Look Back"; as a result, their fans dubbed themselves "Zombies", creating The Nearly Deads #ZombieNation. The band’s amalgam of powerful pop vocals and aggressive alternative rock music combined with their love of all things geek and messages of positivity and empowerment creates a truly unique style that’s garnering attention from media and fans around the world. The band is currently gaining massive traction with their smash hit song “My Evil Ways.”
The Nearly Deads has released their hotly-anticipated new EP, Revenge of the Nearly Deads, on vinyl, CD and digitally for purchase and stream via Kobalt Music.
RK : Hello TJ. Fiirst of all thank you for accepting our invitation for interview. Say something about The Nearly Deads.
TJ: We’re a rock band from Nashville with punk and grunge influences. We’re known for having a sense of humor and for using video games, movies, and zombies as inspiration for our music videos.
RK : Share with us what is the story behind the name The Nearly Deads. Why did you decide to pick this name for the band?
TJ: The original lineup had a different name; DangerFlight. When I joined the band I really thought we needed a new name, too! Since we met in Florida , I wanted something that gave a nod to our roots but also sounded like a good punk band name. There’s a saying about the state of Florida that it’s home of the “Newlyweds and the nearly deads” so that’s where the name came from!
RK : Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? How did you all first meet each other? Has anything surprised you about it all so far?
TJ: The thing that’s surprised me the most is the fact that we never even imagined having fans all over the world. We’ve been a band for around 7 years, which was pre-instagram and around the time that Facebook and YouTube were relatively new concepts for musicians to grow their fanbase on. We went from garage band to having people halfway around the world getting “Never Look Back” tattoos. It’s been incredible and humbling at the same time. I guess the moment I knew we had a good thing going was when our video for Never Look Back really started taking off. We were getting attention online and a real buzz going. We truly did not expect that to happen to us as a band so soon. We started touring and taking the band much more seriously at that point.
RK : Which are your biggest band influences?
TJ: Our biggest influences are Garbage, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins, Blink 182, My Chemical Romance, and The Used.
RK : What was the first song you played as a band?
TJ: It was honestly Never Look Back!
RK : What do you consider to be the incisive moments in your work and/or career?
TJ: One of our biggest accomplishments has definitely got to be our fanbase. We’ve been able to successfully crowd-fund all of our albums because of them. The first time we did one we had no idea how well it would do, and we ended up doubling our initial goal. Since then we’ve done several more campaigns, including our current Patreon page.
RK : How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
TJ: We are always open-minded about trying new things. We’ll always listen to each other or our producer and try a new idea out. My background in classical composition has taught me to be collaborative and to always try something outrageous because it might end up sounding even better than your original idea. Some of the best musical moments happen by accident.
RK : You had released your first EP, The Nearly Deads, in 2011 and the song Never Look Back was a massive hit . What is the biggest change you feel after and before " Never Look Back ”? Tell us something about the track.
TJ: As I mentioned before, Never Look Back was really the first song we finished as a band. Our producer really wanted to do a zombie themed video, so we gathered our friends and spend a few days filming the video in my backyard and basement. Before that, we had only done one other video, and didn’t have much of a fan base, since we were just starting out. The timing really worked in our favor because we released the video near Halloween to hopefully get more attention that way. It completely changed the trajectory of the band, and it’s still our fastest growing video online. It’s been the gift that keeps on giving. Every day new people are finding us through YouTube and becoming fans because of that one video. I think people can tell that we had fun making it, and I think that’s why it has been so good to us. Plus, zombies never really die so it will be around forever!
RK : What was the inspiration for your newest music video “Revenge” and what’s the story behind “Revenge”?
TJ: With Revenge we wanted to do another simple performance video because it made sense with the song. The meaning of the song is that continuing on as a band and continuing to make music is our way of getting revenge on everyone who’s ever doubted us. We have seen countless bands come and go, and we’re still out here growing. There have been obstacles along the way, member changes, issues with our previous record label, personal hurdles…but we’re still making music, performing every night, and our fanbase is larger and more dedicated than ever.
RK : How has 2018 been treating you so far? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year and how close are you to reaching it?
TJ: 2018 has been a year of rest for us in all honesty. We were getting burned out touring and we all just wanted to be home and stable for a while. It put me personally in a better mindset to start writing new music. We started our Patreon and made a goal to release several new singles by the end of the year. At the moment, we’re in the studio working on some of the best songs we’ve done so far. It’s been really fun getting to know our fans better while also giving them exclusive access to everything going on behind the scenes.
RK : Where do you think you are all happiest: In the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
TJ: I personally love being in the studio because I love singing and trying new ideas so much. I know the guys probably all love performing better because of the energy of the crowd.
RK : What has been a favorite performance of yours so far?
TJ: The entire Black Widow Tour with In This Moment was incredible to be a part of. Their fans welcomed us with open arms and we made so many new friends on that tour. We were treated so well by the bands, crew, and staff at every venue.
RK : Since you are on the scene for quite a long time, from 2010, we are sure you went through many challenges. Was there ever a time when you simply want to quit?
TJ: There were definitely some challenges but I don’t think we ever seriously thought about walking away. Our fans keep us coming back and truly inspire us to keep going. Every story of how a song has helped someone through a hard time reminds us that what we do has value to someone out there, even if the music industry isn’t exactly what we thought it might be. We have to always be evolving our expectations and the bottom line is that we answer to our fans and no one else. As long as someone is out there listening, we’ll still be making music.
RK : The greatest compliment you've received as a band, so far.
TJ: One time we opened up for Halestorm in Nashville, and not only were they super gracious, respectful and watched some of our set, but they even told us we had some Pixies vibes. Since ThePixies are one of my all time favorite bands, I was thrilled that they caught that influence in our music.
RK : What advice The Nearly Deads would give to fellow bands when picking up a studio?
TJ: It’s important to know that you get what you pay for, and that a good quality recording takes a little bit of money. We’ve recorded on a budget before, and those recordings were all turned away by our local radio station because the quality wasn’t good enough to be on the air. Make sure the studio has a good reputation and you’re working with someone who is comfortable recording bands in your genre. A pop producer might not know how to make a death-metal band sound their best!
RK : Outside your genre, what music do you like?
TJ: I love pop music! Some of my current favorites are Julia Michaels, Tove Lo and Lana Del Rey. I’m also loving the new Alkaline Trio and looking forward to Cursive’s new album!
RK : Have you ever been to India and anything you know about Indian Art & Culture?
TJ: I have never been to India but I would love to visit one day! I absolutely love Indian food and would love to taste some truly authentic dishes if and when I ever make it there!
RK : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to make a bridge between National and International Art & Culture By featuring some National & International personalities who already have made their own path in their respective fields and we think your story and tips might help the newcomers to build their career. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your Indian followers.
TJ: The most beautiful part of being alive in our current age is that we are all so connected. The internet has truly allowed borders to disappear and cultures to combine. I think it’s incredible that Retro Kolkata is focusing on artists not just from India, but from all over the world. Music is a universal language, and it speaks to everyone. The human experience is also universal. We all experience love, loss, excitement, joy, sorrow. A lot of our songs are written about being courageous and believing in yourself. I like to show people that they can be whatever they want to be in life, and we truly appreciate the opportunity to be featured. To all of our Indian followers, thank you so much for spreading the word about us to your friends and for sharing our music!
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