By Stephanie Amy Collazo
British electronic music group Nero, consisting of Daniel Stephens, Joseph Ray and, on occasion, vocalist Alana Watson, has been bringing the noise since 2004. Nero has a reputation for producing some of the best electronic music on the scene, so it isn’t surprising that the duo were asked to create an orchestral piece in collaboration with the BBC Philharmonic – now known as “Symphony 2808.” Last August, they released their first studio album entitled Welcome Reality, which hit No. 1 on the U.K. music charts. “Must Be the Feeling” is the latest single dropped by the pair and has so far peaked at No. 25 on the U.K. Dance Chart. This past weekend, Nero came to Roseland Ballroom in New York City on their Second Reality Tour. Their opening acts were none other than Mad Decent’s Dillon Francis, Basic’s Sleepy & Boo and Alex English from GBH. If you haven’t had a chance to see Nero perform live you are missing out on quite the experience.
YRB: How did you start making music together?
Nero: We were about 18 and had started going out regularly to London clubs and started to fully understand the scene and the difference it made seeing a crowd going crazy to big tunes. We’d been writing music individually and just thought we’d give it a go doing productions together. That was back in 2004 when we were making drum and bass. It wasn’t really until 2008 when we made the move to dubstep.
YRB: Why dubstep?
Nero: It was a natural progression for us really. We found it really hard to break through as artists. Dubstep had been around for a few years but we felt it was still so new and unexplored that we had a chance to put our own stamp on it and make it our sound. That was when we did the remix of The Streets’ “Blinded by the Lights” in 2008, which really propelled us as dubstep artists. However, we feel that our music is not specifically dubstep, but more of a merging of electronic dance genres, incorporating their sounds.
YRB: What do you think is in store for dubstep in the future?
Nero: I don’t think anyone really knows what dubstep is anymore. We recently released our final single from our album in the U.K.; it’s a disco house tune, but most people who comment about it seem to think it’s dubstep because it has the name Nero on it and people associate Nero with the word dubstep. Dubstep to the newer generation has now come to mean bass line-driven music. I kind of wince a bit now when we get written about in the press as dubstep or drum n’ bass artists – we just consider ourselves electronic artists. I think that’s better than being categorized as a very specific genre. Therefore, I think dubstep, maybe more as a term, will get phased out and it will evolve into just bass heavy music and lots of different tempos.
YRB: Did you have to change your music to appeal to your audience in the U.S.?
Nero: No, not at all. I guess we’re lucky that the music we write seems to have translated well internationally.
YRB: What did you think of the Skrillex remix of “Promises”?
Nero: Well, it’s not a straight up Skrillex remix but a collaborative remix that we all did together. Therefore, Sonny, Joe, Alana and myself were all in the studio working on it and chipping in ideas. We had a lot of fun doing it.