December 12, 2018 Interview – Deena Jakoub of Veridia
Finding your own identity in a world of uncertainty can be a tremendous challenge. Easy to lose yourself in the tides of confusion, if you say true to yourself, the puzzle pieces will surely fall into place. Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, VERIDIA has been seeking their true self since their formation in 2014. Rising from the ashes of previous projects – led by Deena Jakoub and Brandon Brown, along with Kyle Levy – they have seen tremendous growth already touring the world, sharing the stage as hand-picked direct support for Evanescence, as well as earning themselves a #1 radio hit with “We Are The Brave,” and a Top 20 iTunes Alternative Albums Chart with track “Pretty Lies” (feat. Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire).
Most recently releasing their full-length debut album The Beast You Feed in late October, what is next for the fast rising act? Reflecting on their journey thus far, lead lady Deena Jakoub sat down to talk the artistic direction of VERIDIA, learning from Evanescence’s Amy Lee, the work behind their debut LP, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – VERIDI came together some 5 years ago. In a relatively short time, the band has released 2 EPs and an LP, toured with Evanescence, as well as attained a good deal of buzz. Tell us, what has the journey of VERIDIA been like thus far?
Deena Jakoub – Those are definitely some of our most valued highlights! VERIDIA’s journey has been a lot of hard work to say the least, but every step has been worth it. We’ve spent countless nights sleeping in our van or at campsites when we can’t afford a hotel room, living on peanut butter, boba tea, and dreams. (Laughs)
I wouldn’t change any of those irreplaceable memories with my brothers. We’ve been able to make some incredible relationships, connecting with fans all over the world – from playing venues like Sticky’s Chicken Shack to the Georgia Dome to some overseas shows in Germany and Denmark. We’ve had record deals and pub deals and now having just released our first full-length as an independent act. Our fans have kept us going through all of those ups and downs, and we’re honored to get to do what we love, every single day.
Cryptic Rock – The hard work is certainly paying off. VERIDIA is not your first band, and you have been involved in music for a long time. What inspired the vision behind VERIDIA and the band’s sound?
Deena Jakoub – Brandon and I started off performing some pretty heavy stuff in Dallas, then we moved to Nashville in 2012 to start something new. We wanted to immerse ourselves in the industry and collaborate with other artists, writers, and producers we were fans of. We chose the name VERIDIA, because to us, it’s definition means “truth,” and we always wanted to strive for that in our music, our lyrics, and in relationships. We wanted a sound that would incorporate our eclectic musical backgrounds and inspirations.
Originally, we started as a 4-piece, two of which were guitars, and launched with the sound that we knew best: edgy Rock, but incorporating a lot of electronics and a hint of Pop. While we were experimenting with the sound, we put out the 2 EPs so that we had music to tour on, while we continued to write.
On this new album, The Beast You Feed, you’ll still hear nods to songs on our first EP, like “Disconnected,” or the second EP in “Pretty Lies.” For the first time, on this album, we feel like we finally found a way to truly mesh our inspirations, staying true to the Alternative edge, but really showing off our passions for Pop, Electronic, Urban, and International sounds.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting and the band’s sound is quite diverse. You have songs that are more Rock-oriented, others that are more Electronic. How important is it to you to have the freedom to try different things musically?
Deena Jakoub – Even though there are undertones that keep the sound consistently “VERIDIA,” it is so exhilarating and important to us to go into the studio knowing that the musical direction will tell the emotional story just as much as the lyric. Also, having the freedom to tell that story with different sounds makes each song very personal and special.
Cryptic Rock – The style is certainly something you can call your own.As mentioned, you went out on tour in 2016 with Evanescence. Hand-picked by Amy Lee herself to support the tour, how did you first become friendly with her and has she offered you any advice as a newer band?
Deena Jakoub – We actually played a couple of shows with Evanescence in 2015, which was our first opportunity to meet Amy and the band. She graciously selected us to open their shows in Dallas and LA that year, and the connection was instant! We bonded on so many levels. Amy is so wise and has incredible perspective on the music industry. Among many other things, her generosity and support have reinforced the importance of staying true to your art and investing in relationships, in everything you do.
Cryptic Rock – That is great to hear that you hit it off so well.You actually collaborated with Amy on the track “I’ll Never Be Ready,” off your aforementioned debut LP, The Beast You Feed. Just released this fall, the album is an intriguing and lively listen. What was the writing and recording process for the album?
Deena Jakoub – The concept for The Beast You Feed was inspired by the Cherokee proverb, Two Wolves, the idea that the good and the bad coexist in us all and we have to choose which beast to feed…. ego, anger, selfishness, hate…or compassion, joy, love, to name a few. We don’t have control over all of our circumstances, but we can choose how we respond and move on from them.
The first half of the album talks about some darker, isolating parts of my life, dealing with tragedy, depression, anger. Then our anthem, “I Won’t Stay Down,” is a turning point that opens up the rest of the album, when I allowed community and relationship back into my life and tell stories of hope, gratitude, and love. Each song and each emotion are so distinctive.
Having Amy Lee on “I’ll Never Be Ready” brought a musicality and emotion to the song that we could not have accomplished on our own. I am so grateful for that collaboration.
Cryptic Rock – And each song has a lot of emotion on the album as well. The band recently released a music video for the album’s lead track, “Numb.” A song with a very different sound, it is rather addictive. This, as well as much of the rest of the record, comes across as very personal lyrically. What can you tell us about the story behind the words?
Deena Jakoub – Thanks! We had fun bringing this one to life. It just made sense to have a musical and vocal rhythm that you could get lost in, because this was meant to be a song where we could detach and just let go of what we’ve been going through. Sometimes, we need a moment to step back from our circumstances in order to heal. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression, and this was the last song we wrote before going into the studio. I had just suffered some great losses in my life and just wanted to feel anything else but that deep sadness.
Cryptic Rock – Well, music certainly gives an outlet to express yourself, but also something others can relate to as well. Seeing the band has already done a good share of touring, what would you say the experiences have taught you?
Deena Jakoub – Touring has taught me that relationships are everything… The precious ones you have to leave behind when you hit the road, the ones you make with fans who love our art and inspire us, and the ones we get to make backstage, from other artists to the production teams. We’ve had the honor of getting to know some truly amazing people and feeding into each other’s art and stories. We’re all in this together, community is so important, and we aspire to make our shows and platforms a place for that kind of connection.
Cryptic Rock – That is a very valuable lesson because we need strong relationships in all aspects of life.With the new record out, can we expect some more touring from VERIDIA in 2019?
Deena Jakoub – Yes! We’re seeking out the right opportunities now, and in the meantime we are working on more visuals to support the album. New music video coming soon!
Cryptic Rock – Very cool! After listening to the music of VERIDIA, you cannot help but think the band’s influences are rather eclectic. Tell us a little about some of your personal musical influences.
Deena Jakoub – I was listening to a mix of throwbacks and current artists in the studio from The Cranberries, T.L.C., Brandy, Chicago, The Animals, Panic! At The Disco, Twenty One Pilots, Ed Sheeran… to name a few, but our influences are all over the place! I believe Brandon was vibing with some Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy during the recording process.
Cryptic Rock – That is a great selection of artists. Last question. On Cryptic Rock, we also cover movies, particularly Horror and Sci-Fi. If you are a fan of these genres, what are some of your favorites and why?
Deena Jakoub – Ok, let’s get weird, because I am a fan of some old school stuff, pretty much anything with adorable aliens, like Alf, Mac and Me (1988) and I’ll be predictable and say E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) because I actually named my chihuahua Ernest Theodore so his initials would be E.T. because he’s small, wrinkly, and gray. (Laughs) I am not really a fan of realistic Horror, so I like some old B Horror films like C.H.U.D. (1984) and The Gingerdead Man (2005) – The first one was hilariously stupid, but there is no way I’d cosign on watching the sequel, like, please don’t watch it!