Ever since guitarist and vocalist Nick Cassarino, bassist Nate Edgar and drummer Nikki Glaspie joined up for an impromptu late night jam during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival back in 2012, The Nth Power has been showing that soul music can be greater than just a power trio. With funk and groove, the band has a habit of making people dance and move around whenever they perform live. They also like to leave the door open for collaboration, which is evident in their latest album Reverence that came out last September.
The Nth Power will be coming to Park City Music Hall in Bridgeport on April 29, and local singer-songwriter Darian Cunning will be opening up the evening.
Cassarino and I recently talked about honing his craft in New York, touring and working with a hip hop legend, collaborating on their most recent release and hitting the festival circuit this summer.
RD: You’re originally from Burlington, VT and you nurtured your music career as a backing musician for a bunch of different bands in your current surroundings of Brooklyn before starting The Nth Power with Nikki and Nate. When did you make the move from Burlington to Brooklyn, what was it like for you starting out as a musician in New York City and looking back how would you describe your evolution from that time in your life to now?
NC: It was dope. I had to make the move from Burlington to Brooklyn just because Burlington is super beautiful but there’s definitely a small bubble so I had to spread my wings and fly. Brooklyn was the spot for me to go to, when I first started playing music in New York I was playing in a lot of gospel churches and doing a bunch of jazz gigs. It taught me a lot about who I wanted to be musically, it showed me that your only strength is your own individual voice. That’s what I’ve always tried to double down on.
RD: When did you go on tour with the hip hop legend Big Daddy Kane?
NC: I was playing with this 10 piece hip hop band called The Lifted Crew and I think it was 2014 when we started touring with Kane, maybe 2013. We collaborated with him on this project called The Las Supper which also included this R&B singer named Showtyme and we were touring behind that album.
RD: What was he like to work with?
NC: Super cool to work with, he’s a boss. Super pro, he’s just a G. There’s no other way to explain it, he’s just a G.
RD: He’s a very confident guy to be around.
NC: Yeah, exactly.
RD: Alright, cool. Reverence features collaborations with saxophonist Maceo Parker, Ivan Neville & Nick Daniels III from Dumpstaphunk, vocalist Cheryl Pepsii Riley and keyboardist Amy Bellamy. What was the environment like making this record with all these people involved? What was the experience like overall?
NC: It was great. For example, with Ivan and Nick we did a session in New Orleans at this studio and we were just getting in there with them and basically we would come up with parts on the spot while letting them rip ad libs. It was super dope to see them work in the studio and the vocal quality stuff was amazing. With Cheryl, it was her and I working together in a studio in Brooklyn that had a bunch of gear from the old Sony Music Studios in Manhattan. We were in this small studio recording on these old mics, it was her and I in there and she was absolutely ripping. It was great working with all those folks.
RD: You can definitely sense the cohesiveness from all the talents involved in the record while listening to it. For me, as a person who has been a fan of yours since your days with The Lifted Crew, one thing that has really astounded me is the way you sing. You kind of got this soulful Michael Bolton thing going on, so who do you consider to be your main influences when it comes to your singing style? Did it take any training for you at all or is the way you sing very natural?
NC: It’s pretty natural but I could use some training, to be honest with you. I love Whitney Houston, I love Maurice White from Earth, Wind & Fire, growing up I loved listening to stuff like that. Being involved in gospel music really made me feel like I wanted to sing in that particular way but I can’t really sing like that. I also listen to a lot of James Taylor, so it’s somewhere between him and gospel music for me.
RD: I can see that balance. What are The Nth Power’s plans for the summer after this current tour? Do you just plan on being on the road for a while in support of your latest album? Are there any other projects in the fold?
NC: We’re doing a bunch of festivals this summer, we’re going to be playing with our good friend Jennifer Hartswick who will also be joining up on some festivals with us. We’ll be at The Peach Music Festival in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. Part of the plan is to definitely work on new music as well because we have a bunch of stuff that’s been percolating that we need to get out, for sure.