Curious to know more about the life of an independent rock band, we caught up with The Nearly Deads, a Nashville based alternative rock band to talk about their experience with crowdfunding and how they feel the music scene is changing.
First up, why don’t you tell our readers a little bit about yourselves. Four guys and one platinum blonde singer that love to have fun and use movie and pop culture references in our music videos! We’re influenced by 90s grunge and punk, and we throw in a little piano every now and then, too!
You released your first EP (The Nearly Deads) in 2011 which has since taken off, gathering 7.7 million listens to date. What sort of effect has that had on the band? We’re so thankful to have so many fans all over the world because of our video for Never Look Back! The zombie thing definitely took off, and now we are able to keep creating music independently because of our dedicated zombies!
You parted with Standby Records in 2014 after only a year with them, what prompted that decision? It really was a mutual decision between us and them. We wish them the best but realized that it wasn’t a good fit for us at the time.
Being an independent band means you have to foot the costs for everything yourselves. As well as organising your own tours and release schedules. What is it like dealing with that pressure and is it worth it? That’s a great question! It’s definitely hard to try to run a business on top of performing, songwriting, and working on our craft. The more successful we become, the more work there is to do. It is worth it in the end to be able to own all of our rights and to release on our terms, keeping creative control. It’s also worth it to be able to meet our fans and hear about how our music has helped them through a tough time in their life. We’ve been lucky enough to have several successful crowdfunding campaigns that have allowed us to keep making videos and music!
You took to Kickstarter to support the release of your 2014 album (Invisible Tonight) and the subsequent tour. What was that process like? Kickstarter was an amazing journey for us, and we were blown away by the support of our fans. It really showed us that we have something special and that we didn’t need a label to release our debut album. Our fans have definitely become our record label in a way. I think knowing that they are directly supporting us is very meaningful to our fans. They want to see us succeed just as much as we do, and with the Kickstarter we started getting to know so many people on such a more personal level. It’s awesome being able to meet someone on tour who helped make it happen and thank them face to face!
You recently started a Nearly Deads Patreon which allows fans to pledge a monthly donation to the band in return for exclusive access to live streams, discounts for downloads of your music, and a chance to win original signed artwork by the band. How have crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Patreon affected the lives of independent musicians like yourselves? Crowdfunding has completely changed the game and turned the music industry upside down. We aren’t anti-label, but at this point in our careers, it just makes sense to turn to the fans. They’ve been there since the beginning, and we love giving them exclusive content in return. With a monthly project like Patreon, we’re able to plan a budget, and release new music a lot more quickly. With Kickstarter, the money came all in one big chunk and we had to spread things out over time, meaning it took months after the campaign ended for fans to actually get their rewards and music. With Patreon, we can pretty much do whatever we want, whenever we want, simply based on the number of people who join. Even $1 or $5 a month makes a huge difference to us, and truly allows us to keep going. We’re able to pay for studio time, producers, engineers, music video directors, equipment rentals, location fees, practice room fees, new gear, promotional costs, new merch designs…the list is endless! Because of our fans, we can make bigger and better content – without a label!
What’s next for The Nearly Deads? We’ll definitely get some new music out this year, as well as a new video or two. Patrons will get early access to everything we release! We’re going to be focused on singles rather than another full length album or EP. We’re always on the lookout for tours, and will hopefully hit the road again too by the end of the year!