Javier: Amazing! I love Valora so much. They’re just like the most amazing band in the world and they rock!
Josh: Oh yeah, it’s great. They are a great group of people and we’ve had a lot of fun with them. I’m excited to continue on for the next couple of weeks.
Stephen: I have been having a great time. We’ve managed to make it out to some areas that we’ve never been before, the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska. It’s been really great seeing fans turn out in places that we have never been, it’s nice.
Kevin: Yeah, I have to second going to places we haven’t played before, I love that! Meeting new people, seeing new parts of the country. I mean we’ve driven through these states, but we haven’t actually played them yet and we’ve had fans telling us to come out and now we finally got the opportunity, so we are excited. And Valora is awesome too!
TJ: Yeah, I guess I’m kinda reiterating everyone else. We are very happy, lots of good vibes! Valora is awesome, it’s really great to be out on a tour with such amazing female vocalists as well so, it’s nice having some other chicks around.
SR: So what do you enjoy most about being on the road? And what do you miss most while out on tour?
Javier: What I miss most is probably the showers. What I enjoy most, is the showers haha. But luckily today we went to Planet Fitness and I got my shower in so I’m feeling pretty good.
Josh: Uh yeah, my favorite part is definitely play a show every night, it’s kinda what makes it worth it. And the hardest part is well, I’ll second the showers and sleeping in a bed, I like my bed.
Stephen: Yeah, obviously we are doing this because we love playing music, so I love playing to the fans. I also really enjoy traveling, so that’s awesome. Seeing new places, experiencing different cultures, meeting new people. And then, I guess I’m going to be sappy real quick, I miss my wife.
TJ: I was like ‘you better say that’!
Kevin: I’d say my favorite part has to be playing a show every night, in a different city. You know, you get different energies, and it has all been really good. I mean it’s a rock show, people know what they are expecting. And I’d say that I miss my bed more than showers, I mean I could be a dirt bag at home so I would definitely choose my bed over a shower.
TJ: My favorite thing is definitely meeting the fans every night, to get to meet some of these people face to face. We have a lot of fans all over the world, thanks to the internet, and some people in these areas have never seen us and have been waiting years so they are just losing it when they see us. I miss my cat a lot and I miss my boyfriend.
Javier: Well we have a pledge candidate over here, live in person. We will have Hans answer this question for you.
Hans(PLEDGER): Oh definitely! These guys are great live, and their whole Pledge campaign has been great. Everything they did, all of the updates and they have released a couple of singles on there, a couple of music videos. If you haven’t pledged yet, you got to do it. Check out their other singles and the new music video.
SR: Right on! So this question is more for TJ, you have shared the stage with some of rock’s leading ladies right now, Maria Brink and the Butcher Babies, what have you learned from these woman regarding being a female performer?
TJ: O my gosh, so much! That’s a really good question, I have so much respect them. I think specifically just the stage presence, especially like Maria. She just comes out and owns it every single night and the Butcher Babies as well. And being such a different genre, but seeing them every night, they are such incredible musicians, they are very professional, they get the crowd into it. Just being able to watch that caliber of a show every single night on that tour was absolutely invaluable. We just soaked it all in like a sponge. It’s great being on tour with girls, I don’t know I love it! Woman lift each other up, they help each other out. Everyone was very nice, very kind, very uplifting. They all sat and watched our set a few times, and you know that cool that women really do support each other. That’s something that we learned talking to Maria and In This Moment, they are very similar to us. They believe in the power of positivity, it has just been invaluable what we’ve learned from them.
SR: What is the writing process like and has it changed over the years?
TJ: Um, the writing process basically like myself and Stephen do the bulk of the writing and we do some co-writes, we hash things out with the producer, we hash things out with the band. And I think definitely in the beginning, back in 2010, I think we were a little more stubborn about being open to new ideas and I think that is something that we learned over the years. Not going to lie, especially me in the studio, if JK, our producer wants to try something now I’m just like ‘yeah, whatever sure!’, but before when we were younger we were trying to stick to our guns and you know you have to be open minded. It makes the music so much better, it really can. And if it doesn’t work out, then off to the next idea. I don’t know Stephen, what do you say?
Stephen: Yeah, I totally agree. It’s basically been the two of us, but then we added the producer and now have that perspective and then we also before we get into the studio often times bring the ideas to the band, so they are bringing in their ideas for their parts and the vibe of the song. I think this new records shows definitely a lot more mature sound about it because we are more mature about it.
Javier: As a listener I love to listen to the melody and the lyrics, and the overall liveliness of the audio hitting the eardrum, I just love music so much and it touches my heart in such a way.
Josh: As a listener I will make myself listen to a lot of music that is in right now, even Top 40 stuff that doesn’t apply to our sound and just hearing the different hooks. A lot of it is the more simple it is, the more catchy it is, and everything is beat driven, especially in pop songs and I definitely try to incorporate that into what I lay down in the studio.
Stephen: For me, my favorite bands that I always go to and that I will never stop listening to, what draws me is their diversity. When you listen to their catalogue and every song and album has its own voice. I can’t stand listening to music where you listen to the whole album and it feels like you have listened to a thirty minute long song. So for me that what I pay attention to most and try to incorporate that into our writing. I want our music to be unique, I want each song to be its own. I want people to hear “Fact and Friction” and immediately know that it is “Fact and Friction”, and it means something to them. And then they will hear “Never Look Back” or “Invisible Tonight” and immediately from the first beat know what song it is and then that songs mean something completely different to them and have them react differently and have it be a new experience.
Kevin: For me, the main thing I listen for is the bass and the drums, if they aren’t tight and together and flowing well I am immediately put off by a song. But after that I will analyze a melody and the vocals are always last for me. As for putting a certain sound in it for the listeners, I’d say my energy through my playing. I try to convey my energy through my playing and have them feel what I would do live.
TJ: I’m definitely going to say the lyrics, I listen to the subject matter that the singer is singing about. I find a lot of inspiration for my own music just listening to other songs and vocalist, just seeing what they’re feeling. I feel like you really get the emotions of a song, what it’s about, especially if it is good writing then you’re reminded about when something happen to you and then you think well maybe I can go home and write a song about that experience. I get really inspired watching or listening to other musicians. And it’s not really about the melody, its more about the lyrics, and I personally struggle more with writing lyrics and finding inspirations for that, so I am always getting a lot of inspiration.
SR: What can we expect from the new material, the fans can hear some of it at the shows on this tour. but is there something new that you guys decided to try that you are excited to share with us?
TJ: I am really excited! Our producer has been sending us little snippets of one of our new songs, and the album is still being worked on for the Pledge campaign, so we are still going to be sending updates to the fans on that, it’s not finished yet. We are actually getting into some more programming, some effects, kind of a spacey kind of sound on one of our new songs. It’s a little bit more on the grand epic progressive side, while on the other side we have more of an audience participation sing along song, you know because after going on these awesome tours we thought it would be fun if we had a cool opener that would have people fist pumping in the air. And then of course the new stuff we played tonight, stuff like “Evil Ways” is just straight forward rock and roll, so we have a little bit of everything. And we have a piano ballad, BOOM! Mic drop!
Stephen: I also want to point out that we have mentioned being heavier and back to our roots for all of the fans that liked our first EP and the rock and rollness and we have definitely gotten back to that point and we’ve gotten heavier and if that doesn’t convince you, Javier had to buy a new guitar and amp just so that he could play these heavier parts. They were too rock for his old stuff haha.
Javier: I had just bought a really expensive guitar, and I just had this dream of owning this guitar. I bought it and as soon as I brought it to the table and I was like ‘ look at this cool guitar’, they were like ‘ yeah, we need a new guitar’ and I was just like “WHAT?’. But, it does make a difference in the set.
SR: So why was “My Evil Ways” chosen to lead the new EP?
Kevin: I’ll take this one. I think we chose it because we love that song, it stands for a lot of who we are as people. It stands for our fans as well, they are all just like us. We feel it’s a powerful song, lyrically and musically, and we kinda just want to kick people in the teeth right off the bat.
SR: Any headlining tour plans to promote the new EP in 2017?
TJ: We are currently booking stuff, so stay tuned for more announcements soon!
Stephen: What we can say is the new album comes out to everyone who pledges on January 15th, so if you want the record early go out and pledge now. At that point we will start our press release and public release and so we will be booking a lot of tours around the release so you can expect us to be on the road a lot as early as late January early February.
SR: Thank you all for talking to us!
FULL photo coverage of The Nearly Deads here.