One fateful night in New Orleans after a long week of partying and performing at the legendary Jazz Fest, a group of musicians -- Nikki Glaspie, Nigel Hall, Nick Cassarino, and Nate Edgar -- came together for an impromptu set at the Maple Leaf bar after partaking in some serious weed combined with the constant stream of booze. Yet, something special happened that night in the ganja-fueled set that sobered them all to a reality: they were playing some funky shit together. It wasn't just perceived either; the next morning they could all recall the unique vibe that brought them together. Thus was born the Nth Power, a conglomeration of the power players from bands ranging from Beyoncé to Soulive, Big Daddy Kane, John Scofield and more.
We sat down with Nigel Hall and Nikki Glaspie to discuss the Nth Power as well as critical topics like where to get the best weed on tour, which type of high is most conducive to making great music, and a lot more.
Check out our exclusive premiere of their new track "Thank You" and get some insight below:
From the video you can tell it was a fun experience. What were some of your favorite moments from recording these tracks with the Nth Power?
Nigel: It's not too complicated for me. Just being in the studio with my friends and actually being in a band with these people -- that's my favorite thing in the world. We all love each other as musicians, but that amount of love you see on that video is because that exists outside of music as well.
Back in school I was the biggest "Nikki Gillespie" fan of all time. That's what we used to call her because we didn't know how to pronounce her last name. And my first gig at Wally's -- the place where most of us cut our teeth as musicians -- was with Nate Edgar. I also met Nick Cassarino a few years ago on another gig in Maine somewhere.
So that night at the Maple Leaf at Jazz Fest, that was it. Everyone kind of combined from all over the place to where they needed to be.
Nikki: And Weedie Braimah, our percussionist, came in a little bit later. I called him up to throw down on some tracks and Nigel was like, “Yo, he’s the man. He needs to be in the band.”
What was the vibe like when you wrote "Thank You" specifically?
Nikki: You know what's funny about that one in particular -- every member wrote a section of that song. It's a true collaboration. Everybody brings something different to the table. Because we trust each other musically, we just go with it. And it works.
Nigel: I think I can speak for everyone in the band when I say that we've all been in situations where someone tells us not to do what we want to do because that's not the hip thing or whatever. We don't really give a fuck about that though. When we all get into the studio, it's like, "Do that shit!" It makes you become more extroverted about it as opposed to introverted. That's really what's special about this song in particular; I did some shit that I wouldn't have been able to do anywhere else.
The first time you guys all played together you were super high. How did the vibe change when you got together sober? Does marijuana play a part in say improvisation more so than rehearsed songs?
Nigel: Weed plays a part in every moment of our lives. I will speak for Nikki -- it does for her too!
Nigel: I have never smoked so much weed in my life as when I'm on tour with Nth Power…and I thought I was a weed smoker!
Among the band is there a favorite medium -- dabs, vaporizers, bongs, joints?
Nikki: For me, when I'm at home, I have a 16-year-old step-daughter. So I just use a pen. But in general, I smoke joints. And when I was younger I used to smoke probably 10 blunts a day. I love glass too. Honestly, I like every single way that you can smoke weed. I love it. If there's a bong in front of me, I'm going to hit it. If there are dabs in front of me, I'm going to do that. The vehicle of which the THC gets into my bloodstream doesn't matter.
On the daily I like to smoke joints though. I like the process. I like to touch the weed. I like to break it apart. I like to smell it. I like to feel it. I'm obsessed with the actual method and the process of smoking a joint. I love it.
Nigel: If you watch her do it, she really takes her time. I'm ready to smoke like, "Where the hell is it?!" But once you hit hers, it's the most perfect joint in the world.
Nikki: There are no shortcuts to quality. I take my time when I'm rolling my cones.
Do you take the same approach to perfection in music as you do in rolling?
Nikki: Yeah, pretty much.
You both have traveled that world with different bands. Where's the best weed that you've ever gotten?
Nikki: Believe it or not, it was in Vancouver. I was there with Beyoncé, so of course I had to break away from the pack and go to a shop. So I find a shop and meet this lady who was friends with our keyboard tech. Basically we go to the back of the shop and that was the first time I did a dab actually. The technology wasn't there, but we were taking knife hits or whatever [laughs] and she had the real shit, the shatter, you know?
So we're sitting there and she takes out this weed. She goes on and on with this whole story about how there is a guy who is the only person in the world who has this strain. He just grows it for his head stash.He doesn't come up often, but she was good friends with him and he gave her an ounce. It's like one of those ghost weeds that people have heard about, but never had. So basically I begged her [laughs]. "Give me whatever you can! This is the best weed I've ever tasted in my life." I don't remember the name, but it had like "buddha" and "gold" in it. At first she wouldn't give me any because it was her own personal stash. But the next day she came to the Beyoncé show and gifted me a quarter of this weed.
Nigel: I don't want to sound too cliché, but I smoked some badass shit in Amsterdam -- I was out on tour with Scofield. We get there and I'm like, "Alright, I'm going to get some weed." Me and Terence Higgins walked down to check out the coffee shops. Everybody was packing into The Bulldog, but I wanted to go find some real shit off the beaten path. Terence doesn't usually smoke weed, but I get him into this coffee shop called Happy Feelings, and he starts vaporizing that shit. We smoked this crazy shit that looked good enough to eat. I didn't even want to smoke it. It looked like food. But we smoked all kinds of weed and I was high as shit. Terence almost walked in front of the train he was so high. So long story short: Amsterdam.
In terms of creating music, what works best: indicas or sativas?
Nikki: Personally I like sativas. I think that they are more conducive to creating. I like hybrids too though.
What's next for the Nth Power? Where can people come check out the music live?
Nikki: We're going on tour.
Nigel: We're back!
See The Nth Power on tour:
5/2: Fiyafest, Mardis Gras World, New Orleans, LA (7pm set)
5/2: The Maple Leaf, New Orleans, LA (Late Night set)
5/11: Purple Hatter's Ball, Live Oak, FL (George Duke Tribute Set)
6/4: Nectar's, Burlington, VT
6/5: Stage 48 in NYC *