Pennsylvania-bred cousins Jonathan Capeci (vocals) and Joey Beretta (guitarist) formed a band nine months ago and soon after released their first single “XO”. The single garnered over 100,000 views in the first month, landing them gigs like Bonnaroo and international performances. We spent some time with Nightly discussing the success of their EP, their experience being signed to Interscope Records, and some of their craziest moments on stage
Ainger Alexander: What’s the origin of your band name?
Joey Beretta: There were many brainstorming sessions. We were thinking of a band name, and all of the songs we were writing were personal. They were things that happened to us, in relationships or in life generally. We thought of a text message that said ‘Night, Love You’. That shortened to NightLY. Also, one of the first songs we wrote was called ‘Night’, so that’s where the inspiration came from.
AA: How did you reach the decision to drop out of college and start the band? What did your parents say?
Jonathan Capeci: We’ve been touring in other bands so Joey and I have always known what we’ve wanted to do.
JB: We’re pretty terrible at everything else.
JC: One of our old bands got on the Warped Tour. We got a taste of what it was like, and we’ve been hooked from there. Our parents were pretty supportive! They were as supportive as they could be, given the fact that we were like ‘we’re going to drop out and be in a band.’ That’s every parent’s nightmare.
AA: How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?
JB: I wish you could hear the first song we ever did. It was brutal. The biggest difference is that when you’re young, you try to make things make sense as opposed to being honest and real about your experiences. John and I like to write, so we got to a point where we were like ‘let’s just write whatever we want, whatever feels real to us, things we’ve experienced,’ and that’s why this music makes sense as opposed to all of our other music.
AA: How does it feel to get over 100,000 plays on your single ‘XO’ within a month of putting it out?
JC: It’s sick! We started from ground zero, so to get a lot of plays very quickly was cool. When you see lyrics in people’s twitter profiles and bios, that’s when you know it’s actually meaningful to somebody. When someone who doesn’t know you posts something like that, it’s so sick. To this day it’s still the coolest thing ever. We met a fan who actually has an ‘XO’ tattoo that was in our handwriting; we had signed something for her. I can’t say what it means to us.
JB: It’s super humbling. Whenever someone likes our music, I’m like ‘woah, that’s awesome.’ I never expect anyone to like it except John and I, and our parents. It means the world to us.
AA: Talk about your experience working with Interscope records.
JC: It’s been good. It’s still fresh, but we chose that label over any other label because of the people there.
We believe in the people. They’re passionate about music and it’s not like other labels that are systematic and process-driven.
There’s a lot of creative talk, no matter what we want to do. If we want to roll out a new single, they’re like ‘what can we do that’s cool and fits your band to get this single out,’ versus it being a cookie cutter process that everyone follows. It’s been great so far, and we’ve met a lot of people that have become great friends.
AA: What has been your favorite performance venue/location?
JC: I have to say Nashville first. Nashville has been so good to us; it was our start, our home base, our foundation. They’ve created an insane buzz for us in that town. They got us on Bonnaroo, all because the city has really embraced us. Besides Nashville, New York was insane! It’s a difficult city to have fans in when you’re a part of a smaller band because it’s massive and [New Yorkers have] a million other things they could be doing. But we had fans lined up around the block. They brought us roses and everything, so New York felt like a very special moment.
AA: What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
JC: Trying to grow the EP, but still keep the people who’ve had it already engaged. We’ve been a band for about nine months now, so some people have had nine months worth of our EP. We have tons more music, but we believe in the songs we have. And there’s so many people who haven’t seen us or heard us.
AA: Have you been able to overcome that?
JC: Yeah, we overcome it by shooting new videos for some songs on our EP and creating fresh content to constantly put out.
AA: What’s the most spontaneous thing that’s happened during a performance?
JB: We’ve had a bra thrown at us once… and money. One time a woman threw money at us on stage. She made it rain on us.
JC: Other than that, nothing too bad. If one of us messes up, we all look at each other and laugh. Most of the time nobody notices but us.
AA: What’s your songwriting process and how long does it normally take?
JB: It’s different every time, honestly. Sometimes we’ll just come in with an idea and it’s done within an hour. Sometimes we have a really cool part but we can’t find a way to finish it. It may take multiple days.
JC: Some of the best ones are when we come in with an idea that we’re on the same page and can bang it out within an hour or two.
AA: What advice would you give to fellow bands/musicians?
JB: Perseverance is the most important thing. Growing up, being in bands is what everyone did. We had a lot of friends who were substantially more talented than us but gave up and got regular jobs. That’s fine too. It took us almost 12 years of being in a band to mature and gain the ability to do it for a living.
It’s easy to be distracted and think that there are better options out there. But if it’s really your passion, never stop. Keep doing it until you find success.
JC: Remember that it’s a lot smaller of an industry than you think. The people who are douchebags: word gets around. Be a good person. You being a diva or a douche is not going to get you any further along.
AA: What’s one of the most rewarding moments thus far?
JB: We spend a lot of time on the aesthetics of the band and the live show.When people come up to us and say that they really enjoyed the show, it’s rewarding to me. We spend months and months writing the songs, rehearsing them live, programming the lights, and trying to get the live show really awesome.
JC: Hearing people sing our songs live is rewarding to me. We’ve had a couple of shows where the crowd is singing so loud I’ve had to step back from the mic.
Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
JC: They’re going to be sick, that’s why you should be there. The one exciting thing about our shows is that we’re testing out new songs because we’re about to record another EP. It’s always nice when we’re talking to people after our set and they can tell us which songs are their favorites.
JB: We’re going to have a good time so come out and have a good time with us.
AA: Where can readers find you on social media?
Photography by Aubrey Smith.