The New Respects (TNR), a family band, have the kind of ferocious sound that embodies all things carefree and radiant. Just as they are heavily persuaded by gospel music and their Nashville roots, the music they’re creating is just as persuasive and commanding, awash with themes of freedom and lightness. Step into the groovy world of The New Respects (Alexandria Fitzgerald, Alexis Fitzgerald, Darius Fitzgerald and Jasmine Mullen collectively responded in this interview)— you’ll find joy abundant here, coasting in the melodies that seek to connect and convict. Don’t forget to presave their upcoming EP, Here Comes Trouble out this Friday, March 10th on Spotify here!
For those of us who are new to your stuff, can you tell us a little about your background and what brought you to music?
TNR — We kind of stumbled into being a band. We were surrounded by great music and great musicians but didn’t consider doing music ourselves until Jasmine and Zandy wrote a song together when we were juniors and seniors in high school. Even then we just played to play. We were a garage band that didn’t have a plan to leave, but the garage kicked us out.
You’re a Nashville-based band, which is a city brimming with music of all kinds. How has that shaped you as musicians? What’s your favorite part of the city?
TNR — We grew up around professional musicians, some of whom were in our own family. It pushed us to strive for something that was, and still is, way past our level. We never really compared ourselves to our peers. Instead we looked up to the veterans in Nashville who have decades of experience on us. At times that can become a little unhealthy; we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to progress further along musically than we are. Luckily, we personally knew a lot of those musicians we looked up to, so we were able to ask them questions and they told us to chill out and enjoy the moment. Our favorite part of the city is wherever the food is. We love to eat… a lot.
Your newest single, “Money”, is a powerful anthem. Can you tell us about the message behind it?
TNR — Life ain’t about money! We, as a band, don’t have a ton of cash right now but we are having a blast living our lives! Life is about so much more than gaining and spending money. Life is about love, family, and friends— all the amazing things we get to enjoy for free!
The music video for “Money” matches the fierce nature of the song and the visuals are just as bold. What was the thought process behind it?
TNR — We wanted to do just that, create a visual that matched the song! Darius and Lexi bounced ideas around with the director of the video, Ry Cox, and together they landed on something that we are all proud of.
What is it like making music as a family? How does it affect your songwriting process and performance dynamic?
TNR — We got to skip the awkward “get to know you” phase that most bands have to go through and just started making music, so that’s a big plus. When we write, the “am I gonna hurt their feelings if I don’t like that line or chord progression” thoughts go out the window. Not because we don’t care about each other’s feelings, but we all know we love each other, and we have two decades of life together to prove it. When we’re performing, we have very similar instincts, so we can kind of tell where each other is headed before we get there— well most of the time.
Your music has developed from acoustic instrumentation to a soulful rock style. Do you feel that your sound has grown into itself?
TNR — Yes and no. I feel that we’ve definitely stepped into our sound and settled into the rhythm of it, but I hope we never stop growing and changing. We always want to learn more about music and ourselves. It can only get better from here.
You’re heavily influenced by gospel music as well as notable artists such as Aretha Franklin, Alabama Shakes, and John Mayer. What aspects have you pulled from your inspirations into your own music?
TNR — We take little nuggets from all of those guys. From Aretha, the true queen, we take a little bit of her soulful melodies. From The Shakes, guitar tones and “be yourselfness.” From John Mayer (specifically the John Mayer Trio) groove, groove, groove, groove, groove, and more groove.
What is the overarching message you hope your music brings to listeners?
TNR — We want everyone to feel like they’re part of what we are doing as a band, and as friends, and as family. It’s not our goal to take from our listeners, but to leave them with something bigger than us. We want the joyful and honest spirit of our music to live with everyone who hears it.
What can listeners look forward to in the future from The New Respects?
TNR — More music and more shows. We played the most shows we’ve ever played in 2016, and we want to double it (if not triple it) this year. You can be on the lookout for an EP in the spring. We’re really excited to share some new tunes with everyone!