Review Fix chats with The Nearly Dead’s Steve Tobi who discusses the band’s upcoming EP, Revenge of The Nearly Deads, which is set for release on May 26. Tobi also chats up the band’s upcoming show at Webster Hall on April 20, as well as their creative process and goals for the future.
About the Band:
Based in the music mecca of Nashville TN, The Nearly Deads emit polished grit. Mixing the powerful pop vocals of singer Theresa Jeane with the aggressive grunge-inspired instrumentals of Steve Tobi, Javier Garza, Josh Perrone, and Kevin Koelsch, the band has managed to create a truly unique genre that not only gives a nod to gritty grunge but brings it back in a way never heard before.
Evidence of this musical evolution came to fruition in the form of a breakthrough track called “Never Look Back”. Armed with a Zombie-infused music video that skyrocketed past 7 million views, NLB finds TND scratching the surface of a sound that fully comes into focus on their 11-song debut album, Invisible Tonight, available now!
From studio to stage to the written page, The Nearly Deads continue to forge a new path dotted by passion, charisma, talent, hard work, and messages of positivity and empowerment. The band’s genuine nature and generosity towards their supporters have fueled the ascension of their “Zombie Nation” of fandom.
Review Fix: What makes this EP special?
Steve Tobi: Simply, I think it’s the best example of who we are as musicians mixed the elements that our fans love most about us. It’s the closest we’ve been to “our sound” since the first EP. We really wanted to give our dedicated fans the album they deserve by listening to their feedback over the years and focusing on the aspects they love most about our music. From there we explored our own inspirations and tried to push ourselves to a new level of writing, emotion, and sounds.
Review Fix: What’s the standout song? How was it written?
Tobi: That’s a tough question considering the EP was written at two different times. I feel “Diamond in the Rough” and the title track “Revenge” are the EP’s standouts.
Diamond in the Rough just came to us very naturally. The intro riff was something I had been playing around with for a while. I brought it to TJ with some verse and chorus ideas and she immediately had some lyrics and melodies that fit perfectly with the song. We wanted to bring back more of TJ’s piano skills into this EP and this was the first song that reintroduced that element. Working with our producer Jon King, we polished out the rough edges and created our first new single that is reminiscent of our breakout single “Never Look Back” while having its own unique flavor and message.
Revenge didn’t come to us as easy and I think that’s what makes it stand out to me as well. It was the last song we wrote and I feel possibly the strongest. We needed one last song for the 6 track EP. We had worked on about 10-15 other ideas that just weren’t clicking. The instrumental for revenge was a quick idea I threw together one morning on the way to the studio, honestly thinking it would be another throwaway. We gave it a shot and magically everything clicked. It instantly became this heavy, catchy single that’s not only the title track but the overall theme of the new record.
Review Fix: Why do you guys love zombies?
Tobi: I can’t speak for the rest of the band but I have been a fan of zombie films since I was in high school. I love horror movies and there is something about zombies that make them stand out from the other subgenres. I think it’s because I can imagine it as a real possibility compared to say vampires, Frankenstein or the boogie man. It’s fun to imagine how I would handle a zombie apocalypse and they are loads of fun to demolish in video games.
Also, I think to be in this band and our fans have made us grow to love zombies even more. It’s fun having this connection with strangers and through our mutual love of zombies, they become friends.
Review Fix: Is it hard to look past “Never Look Back”? Plenty of bands would kill to have that type of success. What drives you guys?
Tobi: I don’t think its hard to look past. We feel very lucky to have such a successful song early in our career. I know there is a tendency to wonder if anything else can live up to it, but I viewed the success of Never Look Back as the first evidence that people care about our music. Sometimes we need a reminder that the music, lyrics, videos, live shows, sleeping in a van, living off trail mix and peanut butter; that it all means something to someone out there and that it’s bigger than just us. We are driven by a love of writing and performing, but we are far more motivated when we hear how our music affects and changes the lives of others. Knowing that makes us try harder to deliver our very best each time we enter the studio.
Review Fix: What’s the band’s creative process like?
Tobi: It’s not as magical or “sex, drugs and rock n roll” as people might imagine haha. It varies song by song, but for the most part, we have a formula. TJ and I do the majority of the writing. We come up with the basic framework, lyrics, and chord progressions. We will bring that to the band and let them create their own parts on drums, bass, and rhythm. This usually brings some new ideas to the table and changes the song a bit. Then we take it to our producer who helps up solidify the structure and polish out the lyrics and melodies. Lastly, we get in the studio and track the song. In the studio, we each have the opportunity to be more creative and try out different parts and sounds until we reach the final variation.
Review Fix: How does it feel to play Webster Hall?
Tobi: We are very excited to play Webster Hall! We have only performed in NY a few times, so it’s an honor to have our next NY show at such a prestigious venue. It’s one of the best feelings to play at a historic venue like Webster; to walk around and see photos, hear stories and stand on a stage that so many incredible performers have throughout the years.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Tobi: Skies the limit! Maybe a spot on Conan and Saturday Night Live or a sold out show at Wembley Stadium haha. Hopefully someday soon, but for now the end of the tour marks the release of our new EP “Revenge of The Nearly Deads”. We look forward to seeing and hearing how our fans react to the new songs and hopefully making some new fans in the process. We will be playing Rock Fest Wisconsin in July and are working on more tours around that and through the end of the year. We have new music videos on the way and will continue to be working on new tunes for the future.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Tobi: Our first single “My Evil Ways” from “Revenge of The Nearly Deads” is available now on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio and many other digital sites. We also have a video for it up at https://youtu.be/AutS-dYmvtc. The new EP is being released May 26th, but you can get your hand on a CD or Vinyl early at any one of the Break into Action tour dates. We can’t wait to hit the road and look forward to seeing many of our fans out there.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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