Deena Jakoub of Veridia Talks "The Beast You Feed" & Mental Health Awareness: "I Want This Album to Start Some Open Conversations About Some Topics That May Be Uncomfortable"
Nashville alt-rock trio Veridia want to change the way we talk about mental health, and they’re starting the conversation with their recently released album, The Beast You Feed. The album, which takes listeners on a journey of despair, struggle, hope and eventually, self-acceptance and love, is a very personal release for vocalist Deena Jakoub, who opens up about her own personal struggles throughout it. Not only is The Beast You Feed a vulnerable and emotional release for the band, but it also marks some of their best work to date and finds them collaborating with Amy Lee of Evanescence for the empowering track, “Never Be Ready.”
With The Beast You Feed out now, Veridia are currently looking toward the future, which might include some tour dates and new music videos in 2019. Until then, get to know a little bit more about the band and listen to their track, “I Won’t Stay Down” below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
The Prelude Press: Can you tell us a little bit about Veridia for anyone who might not be familiar?
Deena Jakoub [vocals]: So, we are an independent Alternative band based out of Nashville, TN. Alt is probably the best way to describe our genre because we love incorporating all of our musical influences whenever we can, from rock, to pop, r&b, and even some ethnic sounds etc… We’ve been around for just over 4 years, but Brandon and I have been playing together since I met him in Texas way before we decided Nashville was where we needed to be.
How do you feel the Nashville music scene has affected you as artists?
If anything, being in Nashville has given us the opportunity to become better writers, musicians, and artists, because this city is saturated with talented artists of all kinds, from small club and bar shows to stadium shows, inspiration is around every corner!
You guys just released your debut full-length album, The Beast You Feed last month! What are you the most excited for fans to hear on this release?
I am personally excited for our song, Feed the Animal! It’s sassy, energetic, and gets you moving… We had a blast in the studio messing with didgeridoo sounds for the bass/low end, it gave it that sort of tribal feel. Deep, meaningful relationships are what we all want and most of the time, what stands in our way of making authentic connection is our fear of vulnerability, the fear of being hurt or judged, but I’ve come to realize that it’s so worth the risk to feel the fulfillment of the kind of satisfying love you can sink your teeth into. Feed the Animal is about our primal desire to love and be loved, and if I encounter someone that doesn’t make the time or effort to feed into the relationship, I have to find someone that will if I don’t want to emotionally starve.
It being your debut full-length, were there any major goals you wanted to accomplish with The Beast You Feed?
My personal goals in this album were experimenting with innovative sounds and tracks that reel you in and represent the emotional content of each song, and lyrically, I wanted my stories to be personal and relatable, to evoke a full gamut of emotions. The track list order was an intentional split, because the first half was a confessional of the dark places I’ve been dealing with; anger, loss, ego, guilt, and the other half is a declaration of who I want to become, holding close the things in life that are most valuable; compassion, empathy, joy, hope, love. I Won’t Stay Down is the dead-center track, the anthem to get back up and push through the hard stuff so we an feel the fulfillment of life again. I honestly didn’t even realize until recently that I was writing through my own stages of grief.
What was the most challenging thing about working on the album? The most rewarding?
Well, one of the biggest challenges after asking Amy Lee if she would perform on our song, I’ll Never be Ready, was actually getting her piece recorded… I flew in to meet her in N.Y. on one of her few off days and literally the day I was flying in, a snow storm started and all other flights were cancelled. Then, when I landed, the studio had to shut down! I didn’t even know if we were going to get to record, but the weather cleared that night and everyone was able to meet and record the next day before I barely made my flight back home! I was so so grateful that it didn’t fall through because it was such an incredible spiritual moment of healing watching and hearing her play beautifully through the grief of losses we had both endured that year.
And, honestly, one of the most rewarding parts has been the feedback we have been getting from our fans that supported us through our Pledge Music campaign, they made it possible for us to release this album and hearing that these songs have fed into their lives in a positive way is so rewarding… That is the reason we keep pushing through each moment to keep creating!
Before the album came out, you released “I Won’t Stay Down”, which I understand holds a very special meaning to you. Can you tell us a little bit about the track?
Yes, I Won’t Stay Down is the anthem of the album, the turning point that says I am no longer going to put my identity in my victimizing circumstances, I want to be and will get through this and I will be victorious! I wrote this after someone very close to me, who suffered a brain-injury, attempted suicide by law enforcement and is now incarcerated. He won’t have access to proper cognitive rehabilitation until he does at least 8 years of time. I was so angry, sad, and felt the weight of guilt, I don’t mean that I was responsible for what happened, I mean that guilt helped me recognize that I need to make an effort to educate myself on his mental illness so that I can do what I can to help him and others prevent something so tragic… Starting with awareness and action. As family and friends of those suffering, we need to educate ourselves and I truly believe we need better and mandatory Crisis Intervention Training for all of our first responders.
You’ve been very open about your support for mental health awareness as well. If your music and this album could help anyone through their own personal struggles, what would you want them to take away from it?
I want this album to start some open conversations about some topics that may be uncomfortable for a minute… Sometimes all you need to get through your current struggle is knowing that someone out there has been through or is going through something similar, not everyone is going to understand, but the least we can do is try to empathize and work to become better listeners and communicators. Most people won’t be willing to share until they see someone else’s scars first… that builds trust, relatability, and releases you from feelings of shame, inadequacy, loneliness. If sharing my scars will start some of those conversations, I am so honored to release an album that is literally an art gallery of my insecurities and imperfections.
With The Beast You Feed out now, do you have any shows coming up or plans to hit the road soon?
Our album release show in Nashville went so well, we are talking about the possibility of hitting a couple more of our core-cities so that we get to celebrate with as many of fans as possible. We’ll See!
Do you have any other big plans for the rest of 2018?
I am doing some dreaming and scheming with some other local creatives for a potential music video or two!
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and check out The Beast You Feed on Spotify!