Written by Kristen Davis. Media by Madison Moran.
Imagine a private, Christian university where hip-hop was the main music genre of choice. A place where people were drinking Monster energy drinks and soda while dancing to electronic music rather than sipping coffee and humming along to a relaxed, calm melodic tune.
Just like the introduction to this article, Nighttime Safari began as a joke as well (not saying that negatively, but come on, all Christian school’s prefer hipster/acoustic music). Ben Barber and Peter Huston began this band as a joke. Their courage to start developed from the inspiring movie 30 Minutes or Less. The two musicians approached President Ivan Filby’s son, Sam Filby, and asked him to join the group. Sam agreed, and the band’s journey had officially begun. When the band began to brainstorm song ideas, Ben Barber said “It was awkward. I’m not very funny when it comes to writing, but Peter and Sam are. So it was an interesting experience in balancing that, at least when it started.” Both Huston and Barber said that Nighttime Safari has never been a serious thing. It was all about the “homies chillin.” Huston phrased it as “you didn’t necessarily have to be good to be a part of Nighttime Safari. We just made tracks and music in Sam’s basement.”
The boys then came to Greenville College for their freshman year. They played at the famous Greenville event “Midnight Breakfast.” After the show, they realized that this group had more potential than they realized and decided to keep playing. The original members of the band were Peter Huston, Ben Barber, Alex Simmonds, Brian Gertlr, Nick Bifano, and Michael Jadrich. The first EP (made by Huston and Barber) was titled “Love Hate.” This song was the result of a Blackroom show that caused the group to evaluate what direction to take the band. “We wanted to give Greenville something that they had not experienced before, because most of the music that stems from Greenville is indie, hipster, ‘sit in the back corner and drink coffee’ music. I fell in love with hip-hop at a young age and when I came to Greenville, there were a lot of rappers that didn’t get a lot of attention” says Barber. Huston added, “Rap is never taken seriously here.”
When asked about their favorite memory with the band, there were two separate occasions mentioned. Barber focused on “Nightmare at the Barn,” which was held at Professor Rick McPeak’s barn. “The energy that night was really high and we almost broke a floor. I guess from below it looked like it was bowing out. The whole concept of the ‘Nightmare at the Barn’ really worked.” Huston’s favorite memory was reminiscing on old recording sessions with the band. “It would be me, Ben, Sam, and Jonah Gaffner just hanging out in my room at my house over the summer. That was the first time we did ‘Safari Summer‘ which we made the anthem of 2012. Nobody ever heard it. But it was definitely the anthem.”
A common misconception about Nighttime Safari is that Barber and Huston’s DJ’ing careers are part of the group. “We don’t DJ as Nighttime Safari. I’m PeteSnacks” says Huston. So what’s next for the band? That’s up in the air, currently, but Huston and Barber have big plans ahead for their future. Both of the guys plan to head to Portland, Oregon. Huston says, “there are some GC grads out in Portland already like RAC, Karl Kling, Liz, they all moved out there. RAC is touring the world. He’s more successful than any musician to ever come out of GC and nobody even knows about it. They play at Coachella and Ultra and they make electronic music. But we can’t talk about that here because there’s no acoustic guitar in this genre.” Next up for Nighttime Safari is performing as the opening act for Propaganda on April 10th. For more information about the band, check out their Facebook page “Nighttime Safari.”