Feeling energetic can be a challenge now, but Dallas-based pop-punk band NU-95 wants to radiate positive energy. During this time of ongoing political debate and uncertainty about the post-pandemic future, NU-95 is encouraging fans to not feed into hate or negativity.
NU-95 first formed in 2015. The band has since undergone a few lineup changes and includes bassist Haley Garman, drummer Daelon “DaeDae” Dodd, rhythm guitarist Ramses Ramirez, lead guitarist Cody Campbell and lead vocalist Ivan Prochaska.
Campbell, who joined the band late last year, is the newest addition to NU-95. He came from the metal scene, playing guitar for bands like See You at Sundown. Since joining NU-95, Campbell says, the band’s pop-punk sound has allowed him to explore a different side of himself.
“Pop-punk, for me, it’s all about being real and shit like that,” Campbell says. “It’s about playing the music I love and not doing what everyone else is trying to do. But I also keep it positive because pop-punk is a positive genre. I have a lot of dark melodic tunes inside of me, but I try to keep it positive as well.”
NU-95’s songs are instrument-driven, with infectious guitar licks and hard drum beats. Their tracks boom with Prochaska's screaming vocals, but lyrically, are never dark or violent in tone. As a writer, Prochaska’s aim is to remain authentic and avoid creating an exaggerated musical persona.
“One thing I try to do lyric-wise is keep it true to ourselves,” Prochaska says. “I think one thing that hurts a lot of pop-punk bands is they write about typical things that pop-punk bands usually write about, which makes them kind of boring because it's things that people have already heard before.”
This past May, NU-95 released a song called “Believe,” which they say was inspired by negative online comments. Campbell wrote the drum and guitar portions of the track on his computer and brought it to band practice one day for his band members to add their own flavor. Being the new guy, this was his way of showing off a new sound.
Prochaska took to writing lyrics after feeling drained by the pandemic, the endless political commentary and online hate.
“For a long time I would just be on my phone,” Prochaska says, “just seeing all of this hateful stuff all day long, 24/7. It just brings you down.”
The band members are of different races and genders, but NU-95 considers this an afterthought. While Prochaska says the diversity of the group doesn’t really inspire NU-95’s material, he values the camaraderie they share.
“I didn't even really think about [the diversity of the band] until more recent times,” Prochaska says, “and that's one reason why it's kind of hard for me to believe that everybody nowadays is so filled with hate just because as a band, we all have love for each other.”
During this time, each band member has personal projects and goals. Cody has set up a home studio. Garman has been keeping interactions to a minimum as she is worried about getting sick. Ramirez and Prochaska have been trying to keep away from social media.
Dodd outdid them all by being almost completely off the grid. After jumping into a lake with his phone in his pocket, he is without a phone.
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“He said he’s kind of happy about it,” Prochaska says, “and honestly, I understand why.”
NU-95 has plans to release new music throughout the fall months. The follow up to “Believe” will be released soon, and the band plans to shoot a music video for the track. They are also planning to release a new EP at the top of next year.
In the meantime, the band encourages fans to not feed into any negativity, whether it be online or in real life. Once the pandemic is over, they look forward to returning to the stage.
“Getting to go on stage and play fast-paced, energetic songs and radiating that energy to our audience and getting it back is just one of the coolest things,” Ramirez says. “It doesn't matter how old you are, what race you are, what gender you are. This is all about making music and having fun.”