The alternative metal group, Night Verses, are known for their experimental, post-rock twists on the hardcore genre. Each Night Verses song flips expectations on their head, with complex time signatures and mind-bending guitar licks. Although their entire sound would not be possible without the tactful playing of guitarist Nick DePirro. In between the massive, growling chords, he throws in clean tapping riffs, delicate harmonics, and piercing solos.
We had the opportunity to chat with Nick DePirro about his personal style of guitar playing, his fondness for Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty guitars, his on-the-go recording techniques, and what it takes to be a cutting edge musician in 2019.
Q&A with Nick DePirro
EB: You just recently wrapped up your summer touring. What were the highlights from being on the road?
ND: Night Verses went out for our first headliner in the US, which allowed us to play a lot more of our new record live. Getting to play a longer set each night, as well as incorporate songs we hadn’t played live up until that point, made it a lot more fun for us. It was also awesome to have a few shows actually sell out, and a couple more get close to doing so.
EB: When you usually go on tour, what can’t you live without?
ND: Besides all of my clothes and equipment — I would probably say my cell phone and laptop. Mobile recording and writing is a cool way to switch up my normal routine at home, so I like to try and utilize that opportunity as much as possible while we travel on tour.
EB: Night Verses originally started as an instrumental band. Tell us about your playing style and how you were able to make compelling songs with the guitar at the forefront.
ND: I do my best to bounce between rhythmic ideas and leads often, sometimes blending both together at one time to create a bigger sound. I also occasionally tap sections out, and use a lot of open picking to bleed over themselves and saturate the sound more. While using those techniques, I add a big variety of guitar effects. I am a big fan of delay pedals, the Digitech Whammy, and modulation pedals in general. They all play a big part in expanding my sound, and helping me sound like more than one guitarist at times.
EB: You’re clearly a fan of John Petrucci’s models; you’ve been spotted with JPs and even a Majesty in your most recent playthrough of “HV11.” Run us through the Ernie Ball Music Man instruments you have at the ready.
ND: I have two JP15 6 string guitars, and one JP Majesty 7 string. They are each truly some of the nicest guitars I’ve played, and all unique to each other. My Sahara Burst Flame JP15 has it’s own feel to it, with a thicker neck than my Flame Trans Black Burst JP15, which has a very thin neck. The difference in feel between them provides a unique playing and writing experience. I keep those both tuned to C G C F G C, and occasionally regular Drop C.
My Stealth Black Majesty 7 is tuned to F C F A# F C F, which is a big, low open tuning. It holds it well, and sounds clear and punchy, especially for being so low. I’ve been writing all of my heavier music with this guitar lately, and the tone has been inspiring as well as just how smoothly it plays. All of these guitars also have the Piezo pickup, which is nice for clean tones.
EB: What is it about these guitars that make them a go-to in your rotation?
ND: There is just something about the design, the size of the guitar, and the overall smoothness of the finish that just makes them fun to play any kind of style with. They also sound great, and the Piezo feature is a big plus compared to other guitars I own.
EB: The music you’re playing is clearly complex — shredding riffs, tapping, and experimental tunings are just part of the equation. What’s going through your head when you’re performing for an audience?
ND: I’m always thinking about the next part after whatever I am currently playing. I have to make sure I land my pedal changes at the right times, and in some songs I am actually prepping pedal settings with my foot for a future section of the song, while still playing. We always write our ideas with a general rule that they have to be played live by three people, and in doing so, we often set ourselves up for some challenging moments live.
EB: What drives you to keep pushing the envelope as a guitarist?
ND: I think there is still a lot to be explored with guitar, especially with the inclusion of some of these newer effect pedals, and extended range guitars becoming more common. Getting both a seven and eight string has opened up a lot of doors for me creatively, and kind of made guitar feel more fresh. I enjoy creating sounds I haven’t heard before with a guitar, and when they are familiar sounds, I like to try and put them in unfamiliar places.
EB: What is coming next for Night Verses?
ND: We are currently writing new ideas for our next record. So far, we have a handful of finished demos that we’re stoked on. Those will likely develop even more over the next few months, up until we actually record them in a studio. We’re also prepping ourselves for a few more shows this year, and planning out what our tour schedule will be for early next year. Looking forward to hitting some places we haven’t been on this record cycle yet.
Nick DePirro uses the Ernie Ball Music Man JP15 and JP Majesty 7 to push his sounds to the limit. When it comes to strings, he depends on Ernie Ball Mammoth Slinky, Power Slinky Paradigms, and a custom .009-.090 set built from single Ernie Ball strings.