When the entire world seems to crumble down on us and all feels disconnected, chaotic and hopeless, The Nth Power turns to music to inspire the soul.
“Music is a healing art form,” singer/guitarist Nick Cassarino explains. “Everyone has problems and people need a space to be lifted up and escape for a minute.”
On their recent live recorded album, “Live To Be Free“, the funk-jazz powerhouse lends a hand in bringing us back together to the peaceful state we were born to enjoy. We had an opportunity to speak with Nick Cassarino prior to The Nth Power’s Feast of Funk set last November at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and he gave us an in-depth understanding of the band’s mission to create music with a higher purpose. Read the interview below and mark your calendar for the upcoming tour dates.
Let’s start by talking about the new album, “Live To Be Free.” Some of the songs are from the last studio album, “Abundance”, and some of them are new. Which ones are brand new and which are the live versions of the studio songs?
The first track “Freedom” is new. The second one called “Truth” is new. The third one is new. It’s called “Joy.” “Right Now” is the single off “Abundance.” “Home” is off of “Abundance” as well. We had a song called “Could It Be” and we redid it in a Marvin Gaye kind of style. There’s another new tune on there called “More and More.” I think there are six new tunes and three old ones.
The first three songs, “Freedom”, “Truth” and “Joy”, seem to be placed in a very specific order to create a strong emotional response. Was this planned? What was the goal behind the song arrangement on “Live To Be Free”?
Yeah, we were trying to figure it out and go in that direction. “Joy” is kind of slow so we were hesitant about putting it third but it creates a story-telling vibe.
“Freedom” starts off the album and sets the theme for the remainder of the project. In your opinion, what is the definition of freedom?
It’s tricky. There are so many people who aren’t free in our country due to race, gender, or status. Freedom is the ability to be who you are without being negatively judged or having anyone hold it against you. The song “Freedom” is about so many of our brothers and sisters being persecuted every day in this country. I don’t think they’re ever going to be truly free in my lifetime, not as free as I am as a white male. That being said, I feel the only place you can find true freedom is if you free your mind – like Buddha, Jesus or any of these great prophets talk about.
What other countries have you been to and how does experiencing other cultures affect your view of the U.S.? Does it make you appreciate what we have here more?
I’ve only been to Russia, China, Australia, Costa Rica and Honduras. I’ve obviously been to Canada. I’ve been to Europe too. Everywhere has something great about it, and even though we’re all still fucked up over here, I still love certain things about [this country].
The Nth Power is known for having a greater purpose in the creation of music as well as opening people’s conscious mind. How do you think music affects us on a higher level, rather than just for the sole entertainment value?
On a scientific level, the vibrations have specific effects on the body, mind and spirit. All throughout time, there was a specific tuning of 432 hertz that the music frequencies vibrated at. During the Nazi regime, they raised the hertz to 440. It’s a little higher and sharp. It throws off your natural ability to feel the oneness with the earth, the spirit and everything that’s happening. That combined with the fluoride they started putting in the water during the Nazi time, kind of puts people off kilter. It gets them off their natural grounded state.
We’ve been tuning back down to 432. This whole record is in 432 Hz. Hopefully we can have the correct vibrations that music is supposed to be at. It’s the same frequency the earth vibrates at. All living beings vibrate at this frequency. Scientifically, I feel music is part of aligning you with spiritual things, with the earth and each other.
Music is a healing art form. It doesn’t matter who you are; where you’re from; or what you’ve been through, life is hard for everybody. Everyone has problems and people need a space to be lifted up and escape for a minute. Also with music, it’s over a set period of time. With a painting, you can sit there staring for as long as you want but a song has a specific length. I feel like that helps people zone in.
So listening to a song creates mindfulness and helps us stay in the moment – like in the next 4 minutes, or however long, this is where you’re going to take us in that time frame.
And in a live setting, in general everyone in the audience is on the same frequency at the same time escaping from life’s problems to enjoy the experience.
Exactly. We want to bring people together.
Going back to the album title “Abundance”, let’s talk about the importance of that word. What do you think true abundance is and how can we achieve it?
I’m a pretty strong believer in the power of positive thinking and the power of getting what you put out. So many things in life point us away from that – like the phones, social media, work, stress, bills, and so many other things. It’s almost like these things were placed there to confuse and distract us. If you’re grounded with the spirit, with positive thought and love in your heart, with true work ethic and wanting to be better and wanting those around you to be better, abundance is totally achievable. It’s not tricky. My definition of abundance is to be full of something good.
The same question for love – what does love mean to you and how do we cultivate it?
I feel like love is God or God is love. I’m not Christian, but I feel like God is the spirit of oneness that connects all living things and the universe.
Thank you for creating with those special purposes in mind. It’s important for us in the current state of our society to be brought back together.
Thank you for listening.
Speaking on the actual creation process, what would you say are some of the pros and cons of doing a live album versus recording in the studio?
When we were writing this new music together, we did two recordings in Boston and two in Brooklyn. We used most of the Brooklyn show because it was a week after Boston and we had more time to practice it. I was literally writing the chorus to “More and More” hours before the first night of music. I wouldn’t say we were scrambling to get it together, but we were definitely down to the wire with the new music. I’d say that’s the only con for doing the live record. The Brooklyn show was just better than the Boston shows because we had played it a couple of times by then.
But if we had it all rehearsed and it was 100% ill, I feel I would almost prefer recording live. Well, there are certain things you can do in a studio you can’t do live and vice versa. We wanted to do the live recording because of the connection with the audience. We’re a very live experience band. We’ve all been playing for years. We’re reactionary and improvisational. We feed off the audience, just like any other band. To share that with people in the room – when they know it’s a record – it’s cool getting everybody behind something like that.
However, in the studio we can really take our time and flex on it. But that gets expensive. With the live record it’s like one shot and then it’s done. We’re not in the studio for a week.
Nick Cassarino & Jen Hartswick @ Feast of Funk
What was the post-production like for this record? Was it easier or more challenging than completing a studio album?
It was a little easier on this one. On “Abundance” we had a bunch of people involved – a mixer, producer, this and that – and we were all trying to get on the same page. On this one, the songs were written, produced and it was done. So it was just mixing for this one. Paul Diaz, the homie from Atlanta, came up to record it and he mixed it in his studio. He sent us a bunch of roughs and we sent him notes. Then Nikki went down there for a couple of days to get everything poppin’. It was pretty simple.
Don’t miss The Nth Power’s “To Be Free” Tour this winter which features two stops in Florida: Friday, December 30th at The Ritz in Jacksonville and Saturday, New Year’s Eve at Hometeam Rally in Lakeland.