Columbus-based indie rockers, Nick D’ & the Believers, recently released a new single “Crown”, a final goodbye to an ex through bright trumpets and rich vocal harmonies. The group consists of lead singer Nick D’Andrea, keyboardist Joe Barker, guitarist Kerry Henderson, bassist Seth Bain, and drummer Cory Webb. Their unique mix of indie, pop, and rock render them similar to artists like COIN and Walk the Moon. The band also released a music video for their single “Wanted” two weeks ago. Stay tuned to learn more about Nick D’ & the Believers, their music, and their upcoming plans.
When did the band officially form?
We first formed about 3 years ago. Joseph had just moved from Columbus to Minneapolis. I [Nick] had just been kind of doing some solo songwriting stuff for the last couple years and I finally decided to try and make a go of it and we put the band together and… well, let me back up a little bit. I went to a concert with my uncle and kind of had a revelation moment where he told me, you know, “You need to go for it, and you’ve gotta give it everything you got”. So I was in night school to be a teacher at the time, and the next day I met with Joseph and had a beer, I dropped out of night school and we started up the band, and… yeah. That brings us to today! [laughs]
How did you come upon your name?
We booked our first gig before we really had a name for the project and we were on the phone with the venue and the promoter and we were kind of just like ‘the Nick D’ project’ or whatever, so they were like, ‘Well what’s the name?’ And that kind of popped out, so we referenced Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers when we were starting the band, so that was definitely part of the vibe and the thought process.
Who are your biggest influences?
Fleetwood Mac, we reference them all the time, and also Spoon is a huge one. Jim from Spoon has a studio and is a really cool producer, so we reference their stuff all the time. The Black Keys, obviously, they’re Akron guys. The first track that we recorded, Nick brought in “Everlasting Light”, and I [Joseph] was like, “Hey, let’s just see how to make the drums sound like this”, and that was on “Find a Little Love”, and that kind of guided our rock identity.
Has being from Ohio shaped you as musicians in any way?
Joseph: Oh yeah, for sure. We’ve said it before, but there’s definitely a grit to Ohio. And I think that we can’t help but take that blue-collar approach. Sort of like- well not DIY, but grinding it out. It’s just like, we work as hard as we do to get the music out there, so it’s definitely gonna influence your thought process on things.
Nick: To quote Lebron James, “In Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.” And I think that’s definitely the approach we take recording and songwriting and everything. It’s definitely about the grind.
Has it improved your work ethic?
Yeah, definitely. I mean work-ethic wise, we’ve all worked in good and really crappy jobs. We’ve been in the workforce, and we still are in the workforce, we’re not full time musicians, so we can’t help but approach it like we would a job too, you know? It’s a job, but also, it’s a job we have the most fun doing, so you know, that helps. We work pretty hard, we work hard because we love it, and we’re all part of this together, and that really forms everything we do.
Who have you toured or played with and loved?
Red Wanting Blue has really taken us under their wing for a few shows and they’re definitely our heroes we look up to a lot. Seeing that the way they do their shows, and the kind of energy they have as a band, and what genuinely great people they are… Wow. They work really hard in music and they’re a big inspiration for sure.
Do you have a favorite memory from when you played with them?
Uhh… The sweet, sweet, catering buffets? [laughs] They did have a big catering breakfast, it’s true. But they also have this tour bus that they bought- I think it was probably from an older gentleman who was using it to tour around the country- and they kept it the same way, it’s just this white bus that looks like it’s in Sarasota, Florida, in like 1980, and they just kept it that way. I think we just loved hanging out on that bus, and they decorated it with knick-knacks that they bring along and put on stage, and their tour bus is kind of filled with that too so…
What are you currently listening to?
Joseph: We were jamming to Tame Impala on the way up here..
Nick: Yeah, Tame Impala and the new Andrew Bird record too..
Joseph: What’s another one?… JUNGLE!
Nick: Jungle’s the best. I made a New Year’s Resolution to start working out and just discovered Jungle around the same time, so it’s like the perfect record to do any kind of exercise to.
Most embarrassing moment as a band?
Joseph: We always wear gold tank tops on stage, so I think there’s this dichotomy of feeling REALLY proud of that but also being the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done.
Nick: We’ve definitely had shows where we realized the sound cut off halfway through the show and we just keep playing through it, and after the show it’s like, “Man you guys were having a lot of fun up there, but we couldn’t hear anything..”, so I guess it has to do more with the moment afterwards.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Oh yeah. There’s a TED Talk about how different stances change your brain chemistry. One of those is the power stance, during which basically you just stand and put your arms straight up in the air, so we all stand in a circle and do that. It’s great. Sometimes we’ll sing “Everything is Awesome”, too, while we’re power standing. It’s kind of more like chanting it than singing it.” [starts singing “Everything is Awesome“, laughs]
Who is the pickiest eater in the band?
I feel like we’re all the least picky, but Kerry is for sure. I think we should just put on Kerry, [starts imitating him] “I only eat gluten and broccoli!” [laughs]
Burrito or bowl?
A salad all day long! Or a bowl with tortilla chips.
Would you rather have an elephant sized rabbit, or a rabbit sized elephant?
Nick: WHOA. Rabbit sized elephant! A tiny elephant that you could just take with you everywhere!?
Joseph: I don’t know, If I had an elephant sized rabbit, I’d definitely ride it around town.
What are your favorite emojis?
We were actually just talking about this a little bit ago! We just discovered the upside down smiley face, which SO disarming, but kind of like, there’s no way to know how to interpret it. It’s kind of just like when there’s no possible response, you’ve gotta resort to the upside down smiley face. Just let people sweat it out. We feel like we also use the gun and the fire a lot. The cherry, too, is pretty underrated. We just added a new drummer to the band, Cory Webb, and he kind of took over our Twitter, and he’s sort of an emoji wizard. He really turned us on to how underrated the cherry emoji is. He’s a gif guy though-we’re all gif guys. When it comes down to it, I think we’re really at heart. Gifs are the way. They’re the future.
Out of all of you, who has eaten the most pieces of pizza at once?
Oh shit. At one time? We might have just answered that question. We just had a pizza delivered to the radio station we did a video at that got there before we got there, so there was delicious hot pizza waiting for us. I don’t know. I think Cory’s the guy who eats the most pizza.
Do you play covers at shows? What are they?
Last weekend, we were just down in Athens for Mom’s Weekend (at Ohio University) and we meant so hard to cover Bruce Springsteen for all the moms, and we talked about it. We were like, ‘Yeah, we’ll just do it during the show! It’s only two chords, we got it’, and then we didn’t. If we were going to do a cover, it would be Bruce Springsteen, “Dancing in the Dark”. Actually, we’ve done “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” a couple of times.
Favorite song to play live?
“Never Gonna Give Up”. We reworked that one with the two new guys we brought on, and we’ve really been liking it recently. That one and “Wanted” have been really fun redoing.
What are 3 words to describe yourselves as a band?
Bacon, bacon, bacon. In that order. Make sure you get bacon first. But actually, probably energy, upbeat, and nostalgia. Or pretty, upbeat, and layered. It’s hard to say. Is ‘dance your face off’ one word? Can that be one of them?
How often do you practice together?
Not that often! Kerry lives in LA, so usually, right before a show he’ll fly in and we’ll do a couple of days of practice with everybody, and that’s it! We all go over our parts by ourselves so it’s pretty quick once we get together, but altogether, we don’t do a ton of rehearsal. We spend most of our free time learning the dance from Bye Bye Bye. I don’t know why that popped into my head. It’s the truth though.
Who do you hope to tour with in the future?
If Coldplay would return our calls, we’d probably tour with them. We’d love to tour with Dr. Dog. Walk the Moon also asked us to go out with them.
You just released a new single “Crown”, is there anything else in progress?
Yeah, we’ve got four songs that are pretty much done that we’ll put out in the fall as a full Crown EP. We kind of recorded it all at the same time, so we’re going to release them slowly to give ourselves enough time to promote them the right way.
Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind the track?
It kind of drew on a couple different relationships, partly ones I’ve been in or watched what other people have gone through, and it was kind of that story of being in the end of a long relationship and you’ve given it all you had and you really wanted it to work out, but it just didn’t and you had to walk away. That’s kind of where the song starts off, at the end of a very long relationship. It’s kind of like an exuberant walking away with your head up. The way our songs usually work out is the story and the sadness is in the verses, and the chorus shines some sunshine on it.
Is there anything else we should keep an eye out for in the next upcoming months?
We’ll be at Promowest Fest in Columbus, we’re really excited for that! And we’ll have a new EP out in the fall.
Make sure to listen to Nick D’ & the Believers’ new single “Crown”, and check out their video for “Wanted” below.