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Pittsburgh Artist of the Week: NASH.V.ILL

Joshua Franzos

NASH.V.ILL is a hard-rockin’ funk and soul band fronted by singer Jacquea Mae and guitarist Byron Nash who describes their vibe as “P-Funk meets Aretha Franklin at a Jimi Hendrix concert while listening to Black Sabbath on the way to the show.” Their new song “Sister” is a personal song Byron wrote about a time he and his sister were having a hard time connecting.

Byron Nash recently spoke with WYEP’s Joey Spehar.


Byron Nash (guitar/vocals)
Jacquea Mae (lead vocals)
Jimi Julz (Drums/vocals)
Justin Brown (Bass)

This conversation may be lightly edited for content, clarity, or length.

What’s your musical history up to this point?

I’ve have been playing for quite some time in the scene in various bands and projects At this point I feel like I’m deeply embedded in our music scene beyond being a performing artist, probably more than ever.

How do you describe your sound?

NASH.V.ILL’S sound is rooted in R&B, funk and soul—but blanketed in a shroud of explosive rock and roll energy. Think P-Funk meets Aretha Franklin at a Hendrix concert while listening to Black Sabbath on the way to the show —type of vibes.

Tell us more about the song “Sister.” What inspired you to write it and what does it mean to you?  

“Sister” is a heartfelt song that I wrote about a time when me and my sister had a misunderstanding and weren’t connecting—which was hard to handle because we were always so close. It is about us working through the emotional distance and miscommunication to finally let the walls down to heal our situation. I wrote it on acoustic and it’s wild to hear it with the band electrified.

What was the first album that really changed your life?    

I’d say it’s between Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain,” and Parliament Funkadelic’s “Mothership Connection.” I was hooked on music from a very young age because my Mom had an incredible vinyl collection and diverse taste in music.

As we approach the Hellbender Ball this weekend, give us some insight into what you love about Betty Davis and why you chose to cover her songs.

Betty Davis is a rebel, defiant torch bearer who paved the way for women in music to be more outspoken, brave, in control, daring, and overtly sexual in their music and presentation. She was ahead of the game and clearly her fashion style heavily influenced Miles Davis. We chose her because more people need to know her music and what she stood for. She’s represents that gritty, street funk that is full of fire and attitude. A lot of her creative spirit resonates with NASH.V.ILL. It’s the power of being your true self, especially when others can’t embrace who you are. Plus, Jacquea is one of the best vocalists who could do her songs justice.

Who are some other Pittsburgh artists you think more people should listen to?  

I like Sweat, Norside Organ Trio, Livefromthecity, Jordan Montgomery, Tiny Wars, and all of the jazz players are my faves. There’s a ton of talent crushing it in town right now and it’s very exciting to be a part of it all.

Any other super interesting things we should know about you?

I didn’t get into the music industry as a musician, but as a graphic designer turned Music Editor at rock magazine. That’s where I learned the music business, promotion and marketing from behind the scenes. Ratt was my first interview!

I also auditioned for Limp Bizkit many years ago.

Learn more about Chariot Fade here.

Check out previous Pittsburgh Artists of the Week here.

Joey Spehar is a Pittsburgh native who started as a volunteer D.J. at WYEP, fresh out of college in 2006. He took on any job they’d let him do like editing audio, engineering remote broadcasts, and shoveling snow.