As an accomplished songwriter, guitarist and producer, Nick Behnan magically fuses the infectious sounds of the Motor City.
He solders raw urban elements of rock, hip-hop, funk and R&B together on his latest single, “Right at Home,” which dropped today via all streaming platforms.
The three-minute track blends pounding drums and roaring guitars with stuck-in-your-head verses and flavorful rhymes from soul vocalist Kendrick Hardaway and rapper Saint Diggidy – “The bass drum kickin’ and the guitar screamin’/I feel right at home/Nobody talkin’ about what’s the meanin’.”
“The song is inspired by those times when you feel right at home,” said Behnan, who opted to remain in Detroit for his music career. “You’re with the right group of people, you eat the right meal, you listen to the right album, you’ve got the right bottle of whiskey, and everybody feels comfortable in their own skin.”
Behnan invited Hardaway and Saint Diggidy to add a strong hip-hop, funk and R&B feel to the rock-based track, which initially started as a stripped-down demo on SoundCloud. Hardaway and Saint Diggidy added their own verses to elevate and enrich the multi-genre track.
“I wanted to bring more of an old-school feel like Rick Rubin did for the Beastie Boys and bring more of that Run-DMC-approach to their voice,” Behnan said. “It mixes the urban funk sounds with rock because those are both embedded in my ear. I like music that has both of those vibes in there.”
Behnan developed an instant fascination with R&B, rock, funk and hip-hop music while growing up in Farmington Hills. His musical tastes ranged from Stevie Wonder to Michael Jackson to Jimi Hendrix to Pink Floyd to George Clinton to OutKast and inspired him to play piano and guitar.
As a teenager, Behnan started writing music and gigging heavily around metro Detroit until he formed his first band, Jiva, while attending Michigan State University. Jiva went through two iterations, a female-fronted heavy rock project and a male-fronted soul rock group, before disbanding in 2011.
By 2011, Behnan joined The Infatuations, a funk-soul-rock nonet based in Detroit, and later added Hardaway as the group’s vocalist. He also formed The Wells, a Motor City indie rock quartet, as another side project, and licensed Jiva’s music for TV and film.
“This is what I do for a living. All I do is write music, and I started licensing Jiva’s music for TV and film, and that’s what got me into it,” Behnan said. “Jiva was sort of slowing down right when I joined The Infatuations, and they had only been a band for a few months before I joined because Christian Draheim was the one who started that band.”
The Infatuations eventually went on hiatus and led Behnan to join The Lows, a Detroit hard rock quintet, in 2018 after former Candlebox guitarist Mike Leslie injured his leg in a skateboarding accident.
As a longtime friend of The Lows frontman Angelo Coppola, Behnan quickly meshed with Brandon McNall (guitar) and Duane Hewins (drums). He had already established a solid working relationship Johnny “Wolf” Abel (bass) during their time together in The Infatuations.
“Actually, I met Angelo when he was a little kid when Jiva was playing all the time back in the day, and Angelo had a band when he was 15 called Shockwave,” Behnan said. “We did some shows together, and they were opening up for us, and we were on some festivals together. The guy who was managing my band Jiva at the time knew Angelo.”
Today, Behnan plays guitar on The Lows’ latest grunge-influenced singles, “Love Xtinction” and “Love Will Find a Way,” as part of the recently released “The Love Sessions” EP and is co-writing a batch of new tracks with Coppola.
“Our next batch of songs I think are going to be on a way different level. The band’s had a lot of growth over the past year,” Behnan said. “I had been playing so much music more on the funk and soul side, which is what I love, that’s in my heart, but I still go the rock side in me, too. It was nice to be able to bring that out in The Lows.”
Outside of The Lows, Behnan continues to license indie and funky guitar-driven rock for TV and film and plans to release an instrumental album, new material from The Wells and another solo single in 2020.
“The next single also features Kendrick, and it’s a funky song. It’s a song I originally wrote for The Infatuations, and I had the music all together and the hook for it, but that’s when The Infatuations were kind of fizzling at the time,” said Behnan, who also produces Livonia singer-guitarist Jason Longuski and several other solo artists.
“We never really did it, but I’m really excited about that coming out. I also have an instrumental album that I want to release, but I don’t know when or how I’m going to release it because it’s a different kind of thing.”