Cousins Jonathan Capeci and Joey Beretta have turned a chance encounter with a music video director into a new artistic direction for their band, Nightly. Even after signing a major label deal with Interscope, the two have worked hard to maintain their creative vision.
“We like the way we operate, and I can tell the label does as well,” Capeci said. “When I say DIY, I mean that we’re still hands-on with our vision. If we’re wanting to do a specific type of artwork or video, we’ll consult people on our team who we know can help us. The ideas still come from us.”
The Nashville alt-pop duo, now embarking on a tour, released EP The Sound of Your Voice late last year, and kicked off 2019 by filling a video for single “Who Am I To You.” That began by meeting photographer Nolan Knight, who had photographed one of their shows. They loved his shots and have worked with him whenever possible since.
The cohesion between the visuals and music is derived from this relationship, making the video a reflection of the band’s chosen look—red and blue—to match the artwork of the EP.
Nightly’s DIY work ethic informs all aspects of its output. The writing process for “XO,” off 2016 debut EP Honestly, coincided with a makeshift “mood board” that kickstarted the band’s artistic statement.
By learning as they went along and sticking to their vision, the video reflected Nightly the way Capeci and Beretta wanted. Like most acts transitioning to a major label, Interscope, Nightly has had to balance the control it prefers with the opinions of others. It was a leap from bedroom recordings, but Capeci and Beretta managed to preserve their creativity.
The organic nature of Nightly’s approach spreads into everything from concert lighting and T-shirt designs to its very name. “Nightly” is short for “Night, Love You.” The duo had an early song called “The Night,” which, in its early form, was stylized as “Night LY.”
“Now it’s just a weird little secret that some of our fans now can discover,” Capeci said. “It’s something you might say to someone you’re close to—[‘night, love you.]”
Capeci and Beretta have made music under many names. Having dropped out of college, they needed a wake-up call about the long-term possibilities of writing music for a living. The two didn’t have that in Philadelphia and New Jersey, where they were raised. They found that jolt in Music City.
“Visiting Nashville opened our eyes to the possibility of making music your only thing,” Capeci said. “In Jersey and Philly, the only people I knew who did music were either music teachers or in cover bands making some extra money on weekends.
“Professional musicians weren’t that common over there, unlike Nashville, where so many people were actually doing it,” he said. “‘Wait, your only job is to write songs? That sounds like the best job ever!’”
The roots of Nightly were planted in numerous prior acts, including an alt-rock band called Dinner and Suite. While that band’s guitar-heavy alt-rock style is a far cry from Nightly’s streamlined synth-pop, Capeci said he sees the past endeavors as vital steps toward finding a current trajectory.
“I don’t think we necessarily try to abandon anything,” he said. “To be honest, Nightly’s songs are still a learning process. We’re always helping each other do it a little better. Everything we’ve learned from past bands has been a building block to get where we are now.”
Nightly enjoyed a stint opening for Kesha and, most recently, a 2018 run with rapper NF. Capeci is excited about opportunity. The duo has been rehearsing its upcoming set for more than a month and is excited to hit the road.
“That’s the rewarding part of being in a band; being able to sing with other people and meet fans,” he said. That in and of itself keeps us going.”