Editor’s Note: This interview with Theresa of The Nearly Deads was conducted via email. Questions and answers may have been cleaned up for grammar and clarity, but the content has not been altered.
[Samantha Warren/AltWire]: Thank you guys for taking the time out to do this interview with me today. You currently released a new EP called Revenge of the Nearly Deads in May. What was it like in the studio recording process? What differed on this release from previous recording sessions?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: With Revenge, we really formed the songs in the studio. We had a few ideas, some riffs, chorus, and main themes, but I made a point not to come in with anything finished because most of it ends up changing in the studio anyway! I loved the freedom of trying new things on the spot and not having an idea in my head of what the songs were going to sound like ahead of time. On our previous release, Invisible Tonight, it was the opposite. We had been playing a lot of the new material on tour, testing it out, tweaking things here and there, and perfecting them well before we hit the studio. When we finally went in to record the record, I don’t feel like I was as open to changing things as I was with Revenge.
[AW]: What has the reaction been from the fans? What are you most excited about for the New EP?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: So far the fans are loving it. I feel like we are really getting back to our roots and perfecting our polished grunge sound. I’m most excited to see how people react to “Frequencies” and “Revenge” because we have some really cool video ideas in the works and are super proud of those songs in particular.
[AW]: Your music sends out positive messages and empowerment. What are your favorite messages, and why do they stand out and mean the most to you?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: I think everyone deserves the right to live their life the way they want to. I think it’s healthy to let go of negativity in your life and move on. I do believe that living well is the best revenge, and trust me I didn’t learn that the easy way. I’ve held resentment and had regrets, I’ve fought with people and stayed in abusive friendships and relationships well past their expiration dates. I’ve tried to please people who didn’t respect me. But without going through that, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I’ve learned that it’s much more powerful to surround yourself with like-minded people who build you up and make you feel invincible. Life is too short not to. No matter the excuse, there’s someone out there who thinks you’re incredible. And if you feel like no one does, know that The Nearly Deads do. We’ve all been through a lot individually and as a band, and we’ve got a lot to say because of it. I feel like I have a responsibility, especially as a female, to be a role model and to show girls that if I can get through tough times, they can too.
[AW]: The band’s claim to fame was with your hit music video back in 2011 “Never Look Back.” What was it like for you guys as a band when you realized it had over 7 Million Views?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: It’s always been very surreal and we are so grateful for that video and the exposure it has gotten us. We’ve gained some diehard fans and every day more and more people hear about us because of it. 7 million was incredible and at that point we were like, ok, clearly people love this song way more than any of our others so let’s just keep writing more songs like that!
[AW]: The band has clearly gone through a lot of musical evolution. What was it like exploring the sounds you wanted to go for? Was it nerve-wracking to do something so unique?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: Honestly it was far more difficult to worry about trying to make music that we thought the industry would like than writing music that our fans liked and that we liked. We had moments where we were stuck in our head, too focused on writing a perfect song that I think we got derailed for a moment. Professionally, we were also feeling jaded after our experience with our label, and we were a little exhausted as a band. But after two successful crowdfunding campaigns, we saw that our fan base was actually growing more and more, so we were invigorated to give our fans more of the music they wanted. On this new EP we went into it knowing we wanted to get back to our original, heavy sound, and just let loose and have fun.
[AW]: How have the fans reacted to all of the evolution, and what do you do if you have creative differences in the process?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: Our fans are loyal. The Zombie Nation dies hard, pun completely intended. We are blessed and lucky to have so many amazing people all over the world who care about our music and our message and about us as humans. It’s humbling. So far with the singles from Revenge, we’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response from our fans, and that gets me really excited for the full album to come out! They want to see us succeed just as much as we do, and I think they understand that. When you have a favorite band, you’re not always going to love every single song they do, but you stay a fan and grow with them nonetheless. We’ve had fans tell us “Well, I didn’t love this song” or “What were you thinking on this one”? and that’s never bothered me at all. Part of what makes our fans so amazing is that they are honest, almost like a good friend would be.
[AW]: In 2014 and 2015 the band won awards at the Nashville Industry Music Awards. What was that experience like as a band? How did those victories affect you?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: It’s awesome to be recognized by our peers, especially in Music City. Rock is a small but growing community in Nashville, and we are happy to be a part of it. It’s been awesome to meet other bands, get together on shows, share photographers, and generally use the awards for networking and a chance to help each other out.
[AW]: One of your awards was for, “Best Live Rock Performers”. When you’re performing, what do you make sure to do differently? How do you make sure your performances stand out from all of the rest?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: I just let loose, be myself, and don’t care if I look stupid! I think a lot of young performers are afraid of looking silly, but I have a background in theater, so I lost that fear long ago. It was challenging going from playing a character on stage to playing myself. I had to almost learn how to play an amped-up version of who I already am. It takes practice just like anything else, and I didn’t become a good performer overnight. Just ask anyone who came to one of our first shows. And I still have room for improvement! I’m always thinking of new things to try and how to get the crowd involved during the show. So one thing I’ve learned to do every night is take a moment before the set to mentally go through the set and note specific things I want to say in between songs.
[AW]: You’ve won several contests including Converse Battle of the Bands and the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. How has winning those competitions affected you as a band? Do you plan to enter more competitions in the future?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: Winning the Converse battle was great because 1. We won free shoes. 2. We played to our first huge crowd and made tons of new fans that day that are still fans! and 3. We gained a great relationship with Journey’s. They’ve gone on to feature our music video in their stores and we even got to be in their catalog! Winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest helped get us onto our first Warped Tour, a prize we didn’t even realize was a part of the competition. We had no idea and it was an incredible experience. When we first formed The Nearly Deads, these contests were crucial to getting our name out there and proving that we had something to offer. We won’t rule any contest out in the future because you never know what you might win!
[AW]: Any last words?
Theresa Jeane/The Nearly Deads: Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years! We couldn’t have made Revenge without you, and we hope you love it as much as we do!