story / Catherine Santino
photos / Anaïs “Frenchy” Shiba
For Nashville-based band Veridia, music is just as much about feeling as it is listening. Comprised of vocalist Deena Jakoub, guitarist Brandon Brown, and drummer Kyle Levy, Veridia blends alternative rock, pop, and electronic in a way that transcends category. Their music sets out to inspire awakening in the listener, whether they’re battling inner demons or dealing with loss; so much so, that they’re sometimes been labeled as a Christian Rock band.
Veridia was formed in 2014 and in 2016, were handpicked by Amy Lee to join Evanescence’s tour. Lee has remained close to the band since and is even featured on their first full-length album, The Beast You Feed. An ambitious debut, the album is a collection of heart-wrenching, meaningful tracks crafted with careful intention.
The music video for their debut single “Numb” (which has accrued over 70,000 listens on Spotify), premieres exclusively on LADYGUNN today. Frontwoman Deena Jakoub spoke with us about Veridia’s journey and how their music came to be a safe haven for the lonely and lost.
How did you meet each other and begin making music together?
I met Brandon on MySpace and Kyle on YouTube. B and I played together for years. Kyle did a drum cover of an old song of ours and we ended up asking him to start VERIDIA with us! It’s basically a successful internet dating story, only with band mates. Haha!
What was it like to work with Amy Lee of Evanescence? What has that support meant to you?
Working with Amy Lee was life-changing. Not only did her incredible talent add the perfect emotive sound to our song “I’ll Never be Ready,” but the story of her own personal loss added a depth to it that made it one of the first moments of healing for me in my loss and I am so grateful to share in creating a song that has been helping others get through theirs.
“Numb” was your first single off of your album and the video premieres today. What can you tell us about that song? What inspired it?
“Numb” was the last song we wrote before hitting the studio. I was in shock over some great recent losses, and every time I would come out of it, start to feel again, it was so excruciating that I’d find ways to physically/emotionally/mentally detach and get numb again instead of giving myself permission to feel everything I was supposed to in order to get through it.
It’s so important to talk about what we’re going through. I learned that numbing is a natural response to a crisis that can help you catch your breath, which is what this song is for me, but eventually, you have to feel all the feelings so that you can experience love and joy again. Otherwise, whatever you ended up using to numb might become an addiction that will not only block out the bad, but also every good moment too, and I don’t want to miss living this incredible life.
Tell us about ‘The Beast You Feed’ – the journey to creating it, the inspiration behind it, what you’re most excited about.
The heart of ‘The Beast You Feed’ is that the good and the bad coexist and we have to choose what we feed into our lives in every moment – anger, ego, hate, selfishness; or love, gratitude, patience, kindness. I follow Thistle.and.Ink on insta and he posted a really stunning piece inspired by the Cherokee proverb, Two Wolves. I fell in love with it and he graciously held on to the piece for almost 2 years, because I knew it connected with everything I had been writing. That image transformed into The Beast You Feed and he collaborated with me to create the album cover to represent it.
“Feed the Animal” is a song that I am excited about because it’s grungy, sassy, and brutally honest about wanting more than just superficial connection. I need/desire the kind of love and connection I can sink my teeth into, in all my relationships. I think we all really want that.
You’ve sometimes been categorized as a Christian Rock band. How has that affected your career journey? Have others made unfair assumptions about you or your music? Are there any stereotypes of Christian rock that you want to break?
I am not sure if I’ll ever understand why some acts get that label and some don’t. We live in a time where people like Dan Reynolds and Justin Bieber openly talk and write about their faith and Twenty One Pilots and Paramore have even charted on the same Christian Rock charts that we have. None of them have a religious label on their art, but they do have something positive and powerful to say that the world wants to hear.
I think any artist’s beliefs will naturally inspire what they create. I’ve just never thought of my faith as a marketing tool. It’s a part of who I am. We’ve actually never classified our music as “Christian Rock,” we have always been an Alternative band on all formats. We are definitely grateful for every stage, radio station, and platform that has shared our music – it’s given us an incredible fan base that has supported us through years of doing what we love!
I think it’s important to stand for something, to believe in something, and to have open conversations about what we’re going through and learning in life. That’s what our songs are about, those conversations, the good, the bad, and the ugly… Being vulnerable enough to say, “I am not ok, I am hurting, I feel alone, and I need connection.” Not every song we write is redemptive. Sometimes we’re just angry, heartbroken, or scared, and we need to write about what we’re feeling or going through, living in the tension or suspense of the moment, like in real life. In The Beast You Feed, the entire first half of the record is a confessional of some dark places during a really difficult time in my life, and the redemption doesn’t come until the second half of the record, but I had to get there first. I had to feel all that negative emotion to be able to fully appreciate the beautiful moments and people in my life when they came and to learn how to live in the tension with hope and gratitude.
The sad thing about any genre or label is that there are stereotypes and they can automatically segregate or limit potential audiences. That’s why I love being Alternative, because we have a consistent edge, but we’re able to create an album where we incorporate all our musical styles and inspirations, inviting all different types of listeners into emotions and lyrics that are universal.
Anything else you can tell us? New projects coming up?
It’s time for some tour planning for this album at the top of 2019, most likely starting with my hometown, Dallas! Now that ‘The Beast You Feed’ has been released, our fans have been asking how they can continue to support us as an independent act, so we actually just launched a Patreon community, giving us the opportunity to have a more personal connection with our biggest fans and allowing them to become a direct part of the music!
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