Interview: Neva Dinova

by tom maxwell

Neva Dinova, an interesting name for a band with a wholly unique sound. Mellow yet active, sweet yet bitter, and altogether original, this Nebraska band shares it’s title with lead member Jake Bellows late grandmother. Unfortunately Jake’s grandfather passed away just before the interview, leaving us with the desire to know more about the band from his perspective, yet somehow wishing his absence was for a less heart-breaking reason. Neva Dinova’s Bo Anderson graciously answered ten questions offering some insight into the band’s existence.

How would you feel about being compared to Radiohead, Spain and/or The Smiths?
The Smiths and Spain are new ones to me, but that’s fine. We get compared to Radiohead a lot, although lately it seems to have been in a more negative slant, which is weird. I don’t know when Radiohead became a bad word. I don’t think we mind the comparisons, but I don’t know if we understand a lot of them, either. I have to admit, though, the Radiohead one, I just don’t see.

Well, since those band comparisons are relatively broad in terms of sound, how do you account for the unique sound of Neva Dinova?
Jake writes songs that he thinks will be good. We play them. It’s pretty simple, actually. We don’t spend time wondering if it’s going to sound like “Neva Dinova,” we’re just concerned about the song being good. If it’s a country song, then it’s a country song. If it’s a big, distorted guitar number, then that’s what the song will be. I think what’s most important to us is remaining true to the song.

What’s the significance of the name Neva Dinova?
The name was Jake’s late grandmother’s name.

How do you feel about kung fu movies?
I think it would be fair to say that we are all fans of kung fu movies, but I defy any normal human being to say that they are not!

What’s the deal with a group that has three guitarists creating such a down tempo album?
The three guitars came as a result of wanting to be able to replicate all the guitar sounds Jake wanted to hear live. On earlier recordings, when the band was a trio, Jake would track all of these different guitar parts and countermelodies, and then when the songs were played live, they didn’t sound quite as right. So, the guitars were added. It doesn’t seem that odd to us, even though, given the type of music we do play, I guess it’s not the most common thing to see.

In terms of the band, is Omaha, Nebraska a place you’re happy to be from?
Omaha is a great town, but I think it’s a town like any other, with the same crap and hassles any other town might have. It’s remarkable in its unremarkableness.

Who would you count as current influences on your music?
Jake would probably be better to answer this one, seeing how he is the primary songwriter, but I’ll take a stab anyway. Jake really doesn’t listen to music that much. He just plays the guitar, and writes music. I think there are a lot of bands we all collectively admire (Flaming Lips, Television, Pavement) but I’m not sure how much any of them have influenced Jake’s songwriting, or our songs, honestly. It’s funny; because I’ve seen us compared to various bands in reviews and I think to myself “I wonder if Jake knows who that is?” Nine times out of ten, the answer’s probably no.

Is there a tour planned?
We will be touring the East Coast in January with Cursive. For more info and tourdates, check out the website: