A British electronic duo with its roots in London, Nero has made a name for itself in the drum and bass dubstep industry. Daniel Stephens and Joseph Ray started Nero in 2004 and Alana Watson came on as a vocalist in 2008. By the time they met, they had been already experimenting with electronic music. At age 17, they turned Daniel’s bedroom into a workable studio. Since their debut dubstep single “This Way”, the duo has worked with DJs such as Chase & Status, Tiesto and Diplo. The debut album “Welcome Reality” came out in the summer of 2011 which features songs that many are aware of such as “Innocence,” “Guilt” and “Me & You.” On their Second Reality Tour, the guys took some time to let us in on the secrets of their music.
Alexandria Chong: What are you guys currently working on, music-wise?
Nero: We are currently in the middle of our U.K. leg of our Second Reality Tour amidst working on new material for our next album, so we are constantly playing about with new sounds as we are all together at the moment. So expect lots of exciting new stuff!
AC: Any new collabs or releases?
N: We don’t really have any new collaborations as such – just working on some new material all together ahead for the new album.
AC: I know you guys have known each other since childhood and grew up together. How does that influence your music?
N: I think just that the fact that we know each other so well and have experienced things in life together, especially with our musical influences, has definitely had a positive effect on our music as we are both so on the same page.
AC: Where do you guys get your inspirations from?
N: We have quite a lot of different influences in our music as we both have quite vast tastes, so it all gets incorporated and brought in. We’ve always enjoyed classical music so there are quite a few samples [of that] on the album. We also have some ‘80s influences – I mean we love the production on Prince’s albums so that’s quite influential for us, but we just pull from all of it to make our own thing.
AC: When writing music, what comes first, lyrics or the beats?
N: Our writing process completely varies from song to song. Sometimes we will lay down the beats then incorporate the vocal into it, or sometimes we do it with lyrics and a vocal in mind. It completely depends at the time.
AC: Who would you like to share the stage with next?
N: There are numerous artists we’d love to work with, but couldn’t see them actually happening! We would love to work with Prince, but to put a Nero style edge on it! Justice is also an act we would massively love to work with.
AC: How old were you when you realized you wanted to do this for a living?
N: It was when we were about 20 when we were out in London clubbing regularly and thought it would be fun to give production a go. Joe had been writing some beats and just thought, ‘Why don’t we form a duo?’ That was when we started making D&B [drum and bass] back in 2004. Then, it was just a gradual progression through our career to where we are now.