In their own words, Nerds in Denial! Incidentally, any band which posts a video called “Lasers discover vast medieval cities in jungles near Angkor Wat” are definitely in denial… Talking of videos, we’ve included their brand new one, “Starling”, down the bottom for you.
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Nerds in Denial is from a suburb of Rochester, NY called Brockport.
How did you meet?
Richie, Devin, and Ben went to Brockport Central Schools from Kindergarten to Graduation. Dashuan joined about a year after the band had started, after he transferred to Brockport High School.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
The band, Nerds in Denial was created in 2011, though the original members had been making music together since middle school. When Dashuan joined it was 2012, and the addition of him on drums really brought together our sound in a way we had never played together before.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Well there are many types of nerds in this world. You have computer nerds, music nerds, movie nerds, anime nerds, etc. Contrary to popular belief we here at Nerds in Denial are not nerds. We take ourselves extremely seriously, and chose a name to showcase that. We again, are not, never have been, and never will be nerds. We’re Nerds in Denial. We’re not nerds.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
Our style is heavily influenced by some of the great rock and rollers of the modern day such as The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, and The Black Keys to name a few. We love the old school Rock N’ Roll attitude that these guys have in their music. Aside from that, we are all very adventurous with our choice of genre as far as our own listening goes. We like to add flavors if you will of other genres such as Jazz, Funk, Punk, Gospel, or whatever else we may be feeling that day.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Our music has always been difficult to categorize into one genre. As aforementioned we like to add different flavors of music like Jazz or Funk that will take a song to another place entirely. This not only gives us the advantage of diverse music, but it helps us as musicians to become more diverse ourselves. Aside from our songwriting habits, the 3 guitarists love to sing, and we consistently feature 3 part harmonies in many of our songs.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Almost all of our song lyrics do relate to our lives, but that aren’t always happy, or always sad. They track for us personally, moments of high emotion. Positive or negative? That’s for you to figure out.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We have played a wide variety of shows in Rochester, Buffalo, NYC, and even Richmond, Virginia. When we play we like to help the crowd not only hear what we’re all about, but to see it too. We do a lot of jumping and running to get the crowd going. It takes a lot of practice to really go hard physically and to still play a show worth listening to, and luckily we have reached a point where we can really do that every show.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
During a headlining show at the California Brew Haus in Rochester, NY, Ben, our lead guitar player was having lots of technical problems with his board and guitars. He did his best to switch guitars, and fix any problems, but they continued to persist. When push came to shove, and Ben had done all he could, he threw down his guitar, pointed at some strong looking guys in front of the stage, and jumped right into the crowd. It was awesome.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Dashuan has a nice 5-piece Yamaha kit and a 6-piece Pearl kit that he sometimes intermixes. His cymbals are a big part of the sound too. He likes to use Sabian cymbals. He says they sound the best. Richie uses a Fender Jaguar Deluxe Bass through an Ampeg B2-RE head, and a Fender 2×15 cab. Devin uses a Gibson Les Paul, and an Epiphone ES-355 through many pedals, and a Vox VT120Plus Valvetronics 2×12. Ben uses a Fender Jazzmaster, a Fender Stratocaster, and a Fender Telecaster through many pedals, and a Fender Vaporizer 2×10.
What are your plans for 2016?
We have announced our debut album, Take Two, that will be released July 4th, 2016. We have already released a single called ‘Crazy’ on May 15th, 2015. The second single off the album will be released June 17th, 2016 and is called “Starling”. Starling will also be accompanied by Nerds in Denial’s first music video. More dates will be announced, and all of our singles are available to stream or download at https://nerdsindenial.bandcamp.com/.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up (as support or headlining) who else would you have on the bill?
We have always though the ‘Suck It And See Tour’ that the Arctic Monkeys did in 2011 with the Black Keys would have been amazing to see, though having the opportunity to play with those huge influences of ours would be a dream. Another band that we admire, and would love to play with is Cage The Elephant. Their musical diversity, mixed with their energetic stage presence would arguably compliment our style.
Header photo by Noah Winslow