Danny Lee Blackwell has been cooking under the moniker Night Beats for over a decade now, evolving from the full-band homage to Roky Erickson of his early records to more experimental-leaning psychedelia in recent years. After a foray into Southern rock on 2019’s Myth of a Man and blues rock on 2021’s Outlaw R&B, he’s revealing today that he’s already back with another full-length titled Rajan that’s set for release on July 14 via Suicide Squeeze and Fuzz Club.
The direction the lead single “Hot Ghee” takes is an upbeat one, pairing his familiar psych-rock foundation with Anatolian deep-funk and an aggressive hip-hop drum beat—a mixture of sound which inspired the song’s title. “Just like how the ghee melts and blends with the other ingredients, the fusion of these different music genres creates a unique and harmonious sound that melds in mysterious oneness,” he shares of the album opener. “And just like how the sound of sizzling ghee adds a depth of flavor to the dish, the layered and sample-based approach to the creation adds different dimensions to the music that allows the listener’s imagination to run free.”
Paired with the track is an expectedly trippy visual proving just at home the release feels on Suicide Squeeze. Check that out below, and read on for a brief Q&A with Blackwell on the new music and the trajectory of his career. You can also pre-order Rajan here, and catch Night Beats on tour at the dates listed here.
How did you initially make the connection between fusing genres and sizzling ghee?
The melting ghee sizzling in a cast iron skillet imagery helped me find the rhythm. I wanted dripping, burnt butter so I played that on guitar.
The lyrics to “Hot Ghee” are pretty sparse—how do you see them relating to the song’s title?
I think you can say a lot in a few words—it’s up to you.
How do you see Rajan pushing the sound you established on Outlaw R&B forward?
Outlaw R&B was the arrow that pierced the armor; Rajan is the poisoned tip.
How do you feel living in LA has influenced your sound as opposed to Dallas or Seattle?
I’m grateful for the studios that have let me in the door in any city. When I’m ready to record, I come into any studio with my music mapped out. It sounds nice to indulge in a city’s subconscious wavelength, but generally I’m there working with someone to help me record the sounds in my head. I’ve had the pleasure of recording in Pomona, California at my buddy Chris Maciel’s studio (22nd Dimension Studio), and with my friend Nic Jodoin at Valentine Recording Studios.
With every new album it sounds like your personal record collection is growing alongside your music, as heard in your expanding scope of influence. Is this the result of you getting excited about discovering new music, or just learning how to apply those influences to your sound?
I’m here to deepen my understanding of the way. Every song is a chance to say something, or move a piece. In the all-consuming moment, nothing else matters—so the choice is constant. The best gift is to listen. So thank you for taking the time with my music, I hope you dig the record as much as I did making it.