Signature sense of humor is result of hard work and history in the biz
By Benjamin Dale
Kevin Smith and Ke$ha had a baby – and named it Nightbeast.
When he’s not touring the country and the world with the likes of New Found Glory, Bayside or the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Nightbeast, aka the Beast of the Night, aka Nick Testa, is busy creating his own brand of comedic electronic hip-hop.
Saturday, August 13, Nightbeast is celebrating the release of his EP, You’re Welcome, at Blind Bob’s. The night’s quirky variety includes up-and-coming rappers God Bless and Asher Jones, the raging wild men of Abertooth Lincoln and prolific indie rockers Okay Lindon.
Nightbeast’s new record is a blend of video game pop noise and whiny ironic humor mixed with auto-tuned vocals and a dash of off-the-cuff spontaneity. It’s as if MC Chris collaborated with Tenacious D to poke fun at and exaggerate today’s Top 40 sounds with tongue in cheek wink, kiss.
Nightbeast’s recording process is just as interesting. He first records all of his ideas to Garageband and sends them to his producer, Tim Brennan, in Milwaukee.
“He cleans everything up, adds a thing or two, takes away a thing or two, puts everything in Reason — a computer production program — and makes it sound really big,” said Nightbeast.
“Once I have it to my liking, I re-record all the vocals with John Lakes (of the Dayton band Astrofang) using Protools.”
Nightbeast’s satirical, self-deprecating lyricism translates well to the stage and he will play with a full band for this show — creating a sound more abrasive than the record itself.
“The shows are more fun than the record,” said Nightbeast. “They’re more interactive, I try to get the whole crowd involved. I have a whole band now, with God Bless and Asher Jones (GB&AJ) as my hype men. It’s a lot of jokes, a lot of banter. It’s brash — way more in your face when it’s live.”
Nightbeast and GB&AJ have become frequent collaborators as of late, with Nightbeast taking a behind-the-scenes role as a beat maker for the hip-hop duo.
“I really like the situation I’m in with God Bless and Asher Jones,” said ‘Beast, “We met playing at a show together and I thought they had great potential. Now they’ve asked me to make some beats for them on their new record. They’ll have at least one or two of my songs on there.”
All three artists bleed from the same vein of upbeat hip-hop that eschews negativity for feel-good vibes and sheer entertainment value.
“Everybody has problems, everybody has hard times,” said Nightbeast, “I try to enjoy what is going on, and focus on liking playing music. I don’t take it too seriously. I just do it to make myself laugh and make my friends laugh.”
Nightbeast started out playing in Hawthorne Heights before “Ohio Is For Lovers,” when they were still called A Day in the Life. While touring with and working for big national acts, he quietly honed his beat-making chops and the bands took notice and began to offer him opening slots at their shows.
After nine years of touring and performing as Nightbeast, he says he’s content now to make music for other people rather than constantly face the ridicule of the inevitable drunken critics-in-residence.
“At 29 years old, I don’t want to deal with hecklers and playing in front of people as much anymore. If you can have fun with music, then that’s the real thing. Just knowing people and seeing how they weren’t even enjoying their favorite thing anymore — it’s like, ‘Why would you do something that you loved at one point until you don’t love it anymore?’”
He’s still performing in Dayton, though.
“I would rather play in Dayton in front of my friends anytime,” said Nightbeast, “And I’m excited, I haven’t headlined a show here in a long time. I just feel at home here, everybody treats bands really well because there’s not that much going on, you have to try hard here. That just makes everyone want it even more.”
You’re Welcome is available on Modern Short Stories records, a label out of Pittsburgh owned by Nightbeast’s friends, the band Punchline. Pick up a copy the day of the show or on iTunes via www.thenightbeast.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer and editorial intern Benjamin Dale at BenDale@DaytonCityPaper.com.