Celestial Grooves – The DayNites Radiate Soulful Rhythms on New Self-Titled EP

The DayNites gather at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. Photo – Dimitri Kaf

With moonlit melodies, gravitational grooves and rotational rhythms, The DayNites soulfully shine across the metro Detroit stratosphere.

The Detroit-Ypsilanti R&B-rock sextet of Kristianna Bell (vocals), Ryan Greene (keys, piano), Tim Blackman (bass), Shaun Maazza (guitar), Erich Friebel (drums, percussion) and Rick Coughlin (guitar) share reflective stories about love, growth, freedom and wisdom on their celestial, self-titled debut EP.

“When I was writing, it was just things that I was going through at that time in my life. It wasn’t like one main theme. It was like, ‘This is how I’m feeling, and these are the words that are coming out right now.’ I would say listen to the words and the instruments, feel the music and let it take you somewhere,” said Bell, who’s the band’s primary lyricist.

“We all have a take on everybody’s liking, and we put a little bit of something from everyone into what we do. For the first album, it was just me writing the words. But for the music, it was all the guys working together and putting their own spin on their instruments to see what worked well together.”

Available through the band’s new website, the EP’s five emotive DayNites tales unearth a deeply personal universe filled with contemplation, consideration and transformation. The lush, dreamy opener, “Cherry Blossom,” provides a welcome, cosmic escape into the relatable thoughts, feelings and concerns of a lost soul.

Palpitating drums, intense hand claps, exuberant bass, glistening intergalactic synth and fervid electric guitar reveal the psyche as Bell sings, “But I know I need to come down/Collect myself somehow/Unconnected from the physical being of my perspective/The only thing I could create was hella questions/Answers too far off to see/Searching for something that would make my soul complete.”

“It’s about trying to find ways to escape realities that I didn’t want to face. The song is pretty upbeat, and people love it, but at first it was my least favorite song because of what it made me think of every time I sang it. Once the song was recorded, it had a different feeling to me, and now I love it. I’m no longer in that place so I can listen to the song from a different perspective,” Bell said.

While Bell experiences an existential crisis on “Cherry Blossom,” she quickly shifts to newfound freedom on the Motown-esque, pro-hooky anthem, “Not Tomorrow.” Throbbing bass, banging tambourine, soulful intricate electric guitar, pounding drums and sizzling cymbals celebrate a much-needed mental health day from work.

“When we wrote that song, we were in the studio, and I had to work at 6 a.m. the next day. I was like, ‘Look, I can’t do this. I’ll be right back.’ I went and called my boss, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I won’t be there tomorrow,’ and I came back in and wrote the song,” Bell said.

After skipping work, Bell and The DayNites ponder the future of current, rocky relationships on the drifty, heartfelt ballad “Coastlines.” Ascending electric guitars, shimmering cymbals, steady drum taps and soft bass encourage intuition to navigate uncharted romantic waters.

In response, Bell questions, “When will you leave my mind/I don’t need you on it all of time/When will your face leave my eyes/I hate to see you every night/I hate the calls from your line/Where are you and do you have the time.”

“When I first wrote it, and we started performing it, it was very sentimental. I could just feel it every time, and I’m a sucker for sad songs, and that’s the type of music I like to listen to,” said Bell, who’s inspired by Lana Del Ray, Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill.

The DayNites’ self-titled debut EP is now available on the band’s website.

Bell and The DayNites started writing and recording tracks for their debut project two years ago with former keyboardist Binho Manenti, who recently returned to Brazil. The band initially recorded two tracks at Detroit’s Tapwater Productions and the other three at Ypsilanti’s Fundamental Sound Co. with Honey Monsoon drummer Taylor Greenshields.

“We always say that Tim sets the tone for our songs. He’s really good at creating a bassline and bringing it to us. We kind of feed off of that, and Tim helps direct while we’re creating and says, ‘Shaun, Play this note or this chord.’ Rick has all these funky peddles, and he’s cool with bringing different effects that you might not hear normally,” Bell said.

“Erich’s really dope on the drums, and he can do any type of beat and follow and create off of whatever. Shaun’s also like that, and we have a new piano player, Ryan, who makes us sound like a whole new band. Everybody has a unique flair, and when we put all their talents together, they blend perfectly.”

In 2016, Bell, Blackman, Friebel and Coughlin first discovered their musical chemistry while performing together in Abe Maybe, a Detroit-Hamtramck-Ypsi sci-fi indie folk quintet. Outside of their concept project, the foursome started practicing Friday nights with Maazza and stumbled upon a refreshing, groovy fusion of soul and rock.

“The lead singer didn’t want to do it anymore, but we all wanted to stay together. We were already doing our own thing on the side, but it wasn’t too serious. Once Abe Maybe broke up, we were like, ‘Well, why don’t we ask Shaun if he wants to do this for real?’ We went from there, and we just started learning songs. We made it a weekly thing that we were going to get together and take it to the next level. Ever since then, we’ve been going strong,” Bell said.

With a strong new lineup, the DayNites will release their magnetic debut EP via all streaming platforms in November. They also will celebrate the project with a socially distanced in-person performance and a livestream show soon with several other local bands.

In the meantime, they’re rehearsing weekly at Grove Studios and planning to write and record new material. “We’re focused on creating new content, especially now that we have someone new in our band. I think people can look forward to new sounds, but it will most likely be in 2021,” Bell said.

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