It’s the age-old tale: four dudes move to Nashville to pursue their dreams of making it big in music. Unlike the many that have come before them, these particular four dudes may actually have a chance. Sweet Fever came together in 2018, yet has already made waves in not only the local music scene, but on the national stage as well. Opening for Colony House, playing CMA Fest 2019, and slotting as the only USA finalist for the Hard Rock Cafe International Battle of the Bands, Sweet Fever has had a busy first year.
In the true fashion of a 21st century rock band, Sweet Fever brings a little something for music listeners everywhere, both young and old. Their sound runs rampant with high-powered lead vocals, tight harmonies, and dynamic lead guitar – a myriad that is obviously the result of an undeniable chemistry. So, whether you’re more partial to The Eagles and Pure Prairie League or to The Black Keys and Jack White, Sweet Fever is the next big thing for you.
I recently caught up with the guys whilst on a stint back home from tour in Nashville, on the cusp of their October LP debut:
AKG: So, give me a little bit about your background – When did you start playing together? How did you become a band?
DW: My name is Derrick Wesley, I’m from Liberty, Kentucky. I sing and play guitar for Sweet Fever. Jake Kimble plays bass/vocals, from Annapolis, Maryland. Nolan Brown, lead guitar and piano/vocals, from Shelby Township, Michigan. Nick Amend, drums/percussion/vocals, is from Orlando, Florida.
Jake and I met through a job when I first moved to town. We started writing and performing around the area. Jake, Nick, and Nolan knew each other from Belmont University. In the early days, Nick and Nolan were part of another rock group in Nashville that had a similar vision to the one Jake and I had. The four of us were inspired by each other’s work so we met together to jam. We immediately felt the chemistry and decided to continue forward as Sweet Fever.
AKG: Are you all from Nashville?
DW: We’re based in Nashville and we met here. It’s a great community with awesome music, I don’t see us leaving soon.
AKG: Do you all live together?
DW: Nick and I live together, and Jake and Nolan live together. All full band rehearsals are done at Jake and Nolan’s house. However, both houses have been used to create and write music.
AKG: How is managing that 24/7 time together?
DW: There’s a great deal of respect within the band. We were all friends before the band started so that helps to create an even further bond when we do anything related to Sweet Fever.
AKG: Do you think it results in more content, creatively?
DW: Most definitely, we’re always bouncing ideas off of one another and that enables us to shape our sound. Creating music with your friends, in a judge-free zone, really allows all of the ideas stirring in our brains to be unleashed.
AKG: Where does the name ‘Sweet Fever’ come from?
DW: Sweet Fever was the title of a song that Jake and I were writing, the song didn’t stick but the name did.
AKG: “Roll On” gives me a lot of old school southern rock vibes. Who are some of your inspirations sound-wise as a band?
DW: We all have a soft spot for classic/southern rock, we were lucky that we grew up knowing Aerosmith and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Artists like Van Morrison and The Beatles have inspired countless songs for us. Recently, we’ve been listening to bands like Vampire Weekend, The Killers, and Dawes to gain some inspiration towards a more modern sound. Rock is a tough genre because it’s been perfected so many times: The only authentic way we see forward is reflecting a collective sound of our influences throughout many decades.
AKG: You were the 2019 USA Champions of Hard Rock’s International Battle of the Bands this summer. Congrats! What drove you to enter the contest?
DW: We were booking shows in-house and we heard about the contest. It was a great opportunity, so we signed up and went on a crazy adventure.
AKG: What was that experience like?
DW: Unbelievable. We not only bonded within the band, but the experience as a whole helped us create a genuine relationship with the other bands in the competition. Now we have friends in Scotland and Brazil!
AKG: What was the most meaningful takeaway from your time competing?
DW: From the first round, we had friends and family that came to the competition and voted for us to go to New York City. Loads of love and support encouraged us and we went on to represent the USA in the finals in Times Square. Hard Rock really made us feel like stars. They toured us around NYC, and we became friends with champions, Moonlight Zoo of Scotland and Napkin from Brazil. It really was an unforgettable experience.
AKG: You have a new single, “As Long as the Sun Shines,” and a new album out in October.
DW: Yes! About a year ago, Jake wanted to show us a new song that he had written during some downtime in between shows. We were on the road in Memphis the first time we heard “As Long as the Sun Shines” and we all wanted to sing along. Now, it’s the lead single from our upcoming 4 song EP that will be out in October.
AKG: What was the recording/writing process like for your debut album?
DW: The nature of the band is that we are all songwriters so inevitably we had a lot of material to work with. We had been working with these particular songs for about a year, so the material was well rehearsed, and we knocked out the songs in a few days. We have found that it takes a year or so between the time of writing and recording a song.
AKG: Do you write the songs collectively? Or is it more of an independent writing process?
DW: Both really, just depends on the day. Naturally, we’re always writing individually, and we can’t always be together, but we’re usually writing when we are together. A song goes through such a transformation after the band learns it - every member’s fingerprint gets ingrained in the fibers.
AKG: If you could collaborate with one artist, who would it be?
DW: It would be cool to do a song with Jade Bird. Her voice is so powerful, yet soothing. Would also love to make an epic jam with Sam Fender.
AKG: What’s one album that you couldn’t live without?
DW: “Smokin’ O.P.’s” by Bob Seger has accompanied us through many extended late-night drives.
AKG: What can your fans expect next for Sweet Fever?
DW: We’ll be singing “As Long as the Sun Shines” and promoting our upcoming EP. We’re eager to play some festival dates next summer and get back into the studio. Maybe you’ll even hear us on your favorite radio station!
Clearly, there's a lot of greatness in store for these guys. Stay tuned to see what's next for Sweet Fever - and catch 'em out on the road this fall!