Hi, there I’m TJ lead vocalist for The Nearly Deads! I started playing the piano and writing music when I was very young and that eventually led me to college to study music composition at the University of South Florida. I had a few college bands and eventually crossed paths with the founding members of TND. I am very influenced by bands such as Garbage and The Used when it comes to rock and roll. I’m so excited that we are working on our second full-length album it’s been a long time coming!Tell us about your new single, “Suffocating,” and the inspiration behind it.
“Suffocating” is about all those times when you’re not feeling motivated, where you’re being your own worst enemy and holding yourself back. There are definitely times, especially when being creative, when I feel like I just can’t shut off the negative voices in my mind. I think it’s important to express these feelings so that people realize that they are completely normal and that everything isn’t as effortless as it seems on the surface. You’ve got to just get those emotions out and move on.
What was the songwriting and recording process?
For this record, we did something really fun and different. We literally sat in a circle and wrote down on a sheet of paper our vision and our goals for the final product, how we wanted to make people feel, and how we ultimately wanted to feel about our work. Then we all individually showed our song ideas since each member of the band is a talented writer. From that pool of songs, we narrowed down our absolute favorites. From there as a band, we fine-tuned each song, added our own elements and lastly, I finalize the lyrics.
I love sending my lyric and melody ideas to the band and seeing what they think and what they can improve upon or add. Being a band is collaborative, we work together to craft the best song possible. What makes these first few singles special is that each one was conceptualized by a different member of the band!
Recording has been a lot of fun — we are working with Brian Craddock whom we have only previously done singles with — and we all knew it was the right move to have him produce our whole record. He brings a lot of fun guitar ideas to the table and understands our point of view perfectly. He also gets the band to try things we would normally be resistant to, but in the end, it’s all about making the songs shine.
What do you hope your fans/listeners take away with them when they listen to your music?
I hope our listeners feel happy, sad, introspective, joyful angry, peaceful, hopeful, and powerful. Above all else, I hope they take away our authenticity. There is so much shallowness in the world today, and we hope that people see that we are just real people trying to make real music and trying to make our way through life just like everyone else.
When did you first pick up piano/keys, and what drew you to that instrument?
I started playing the piano since I could reach the keys! I was probably around 4 or 5 years old, playing on my parents’ old Casio keyboard. It wasn’t long until I was in piano lessons, but I always loved writing my own melodies rather than sitting around and learning sheet music. I wish I had the attention span to study and play classically! Piano is the ultimate instrument. If you can play the piano, you can musically express almost anything to anyone.
Who are some of your musical influences?
For this record, we channeled so many diverse influences. Personally, I am inspired by bands like The Offspring and Foo Fighters.
First off, we’ll be finishing up the album and releasing a few more singles next year ahead of the big release! Once the album is out in the world, we’ll be playing a limited number of shows to support it.
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