With time comes age, and with age, maturity. While the quintet known as Nevertheless may have the median age of 23, the band has already been playing together for 6 years, after forming during high school in the area surrounding Chattanooga, Tennessee. When college threatened to split up the act, the desire to create music won out, leading to the creation of Nevertheless's debut album, Live Like We're Alive (9/19/06), which contains the hits "The Real" and "Live Like We're Alive." With a pop rock sound abounding, the album's songs naturally led to powerful performances rife with energy. During live performances, however, the band began to take notice of the moments that seemed to connect with people on more of a heart-level; the kind of emotionally-charged moments that one rarely forgets.
"During our shows, we always used the introspective, slower songs, 'Lover' and 'O'Child,' as a transition from the more accelerated, upbeat songs," shares lead singer Joshua Pearson. "Not to take away from our louder, faster songs, because we love to rock out, but people would always get real quiet, and it was at that point in the night that we were able to really show a deeper level of our hearts."
Blame it on audience reaction or simply becoming older, but Nevertheless really wants to be completely honest, open and real. To prove it, they wrote and recorded In The Making... (9/16/08).
Produced by Rob Hawkins (Fireflight, Jackson Waters), the album pushed the band's boundaries by delivering the unpredictable. "We took our time to think about what we really wanted to say with our next album," explains guitarist AJ Cheek. "We asked ourselves, 'What can we do to really touch people's lives, and not only make them think, but make ourselves think as well?'"
Ultimately, they found an answer by clothing In The Making... with emotionally-laced lyrics and the predominant use of piano - an instrument that played an important part of Nevertheless's sound during its independent days. "We feel like it's a lot easier to just write heavy songs than it is to sincerely express a message. A piano has a way of really capturing a listener, and we find that it brings out emotions better than a guitar." says Cheek. "We intentionally sought to progress in how our record would sound this time. It's not a complete departure from the last records' sound, but more an accent of it, with a bit more depth of emotion."
While haunted by the memories of learning how to first play music on his father's "beat-up, out of tune" piano at the age of 11, Cheek claims that recruiting the instrument for the album was natural and logical. Since In The Making... features the keys on over half the songs, it's no surprise that this album showcases a clout of emotion.
No longer in the same vein as Jimmy Eat World or Cartel, Nevertheless's second album skews toward the likes of Copeland, Switchfoot, and Mae.
"I would say the biggest difference, lyrically, is that we pulled even more from our own experiences on In the Making...," shares lead singer, Joshua Pearson. "On this record, every single song has at least a few lines that hit very close to home. An example would be (first radio single) 'Sleeping In,' which was written from a place of insecurity, which I believe to be one of my ugliest opponents, from time to time." And by highlighting such personal perspectives, In The Making... reeks of raw honesty and thus is the best tool to express its message.
Accepting that the band is young, yet strongly evolving, is the key inspiration for the album title. Pearson explains. "We titled the record In The Making... for two different reasons. First of all, we believe that every single day we are still in the making of becoming the kind of people that God wants us to be. This record is written from personal experiences that we know many people deal with in their everyday life. Every pain and trial, along with every good thing in our lives, pushes us in that direction, and we hope the lyrics convey that point. Second, Nevertheless, as a band, is still in the making of becoming who we want to be. We are constantly learning who we are musically, and as people. This album is a reflection of this point in our lives."
An example of growth is the fact that, by September 2008, four out of the five Nevertheless band members will be married. One song on the album, "Augustine," was inspired by Joshua Pearson's engagement story, which took place in St. Augustine, Florida. "With 'Augustine,' I'm not trying to make some grandeur statement about the meaning of life," admits Pearson. "I just want to paint a picture about an important aspect of life that others can identify with. Marriage definitely changes one's whole perspective. Every day I am learning more about love, and it most certainly influences the lyrics."
And while showing heart and expressing hope may not be new to Nevertheless's lyrics, In The Making... is a different and more accessible approach of expression.
"The goal for our music is to provide hope and inspire a desire to experience God's glory," says Cheek. "I hope people can learn from our songs that no matter what they are going through, and if they don't know where to turn, just know that there is always hope through Jesus."
Pearson adds, "I believe that we are called to write about both the light that shines in the darkness, and about the darkness that does not understand it. I believe that honesty always breaks down walls. Healing begins when we are able to, first of all, be honest before God. Secondly, be honest and vulnerable with one another. I hope that our songs reflect this idea, and that, when people listen to Nevertheless, they get a sense that God loves them, and wants to talk to them."
The beauty, love and awe-inspiring mystery that faith in God brings, even when it seems to make no sense at all, is where the oft-asked-about band name originates. Luke, chapter 5, explains. "When Jesus had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, 'Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.' But Simon answered and said to Him, 'Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word, I will let down the net.' And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking."