NERO, aka north west London producers, remixers du jour, DJs and artists Dan Stephens and Joe Ray, now one of the biggest names in both dubstep and drum and bass unleash their debut album “WELCOME REALITY” on the US December 13.
Their August single Promises stormed straight to the top of the UK charts, while “WELCOME REALITY” did the same, debuting in the UK at #1 and rapidly reaching gold status across the pond. NERO’s indie/dubstep hybrid smash “ME AND YOU REMIX EP” is available digitally now, and features a never-before released brand new remix of Me And You by Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia, plus a Skrillex remix of Promises that has over 3 million plays on YouTube and has not been available for sale in the US until now. Me and You charted at number 15 in the UK, was the most played record on Radio 1 for three weeks in a row and is now the first U.S. single from “WELCOME REALITY”.
The epic, cinematic, widescreen quality to NERO’s grimy symphonies come from their love of movie soundtracks: Joe, a trained classical guitarist, loves the stabbing strings and eerie atmospheres of Bernard Herrmann’s scores, as well as the baroque works of his favorite composers. He believes NERO offer a shorter, more compact and intense version of that classical sound in dance form. Stadium rock, electro-funk, jazz and classical music, movie soundtracks, rave, the beats of drum’n’bass and the distorted subsonic basslines and production methods of dubstep… then factor in the freaktronic 90s releases of the Warp label (Aphex Twin, Squarepusher) and you’ve got the recipe for a superb album. “WELCOME REALITY” is that album.
A distillation of thirty years of dance, from disco to dubstep, with some rock thrown in. Fourteen tracks, and one hour, of melodic dance mayhem, it was recorded in the same south London studio used by Shy FX, Caspa and NERO’s MTA label bosses Chase & Status, featuring music written and self- produced using equipment both new and vintage, with some of the iconic 80s synths – a Roland Jupiter 8 and Yamaha CS80 – that the likes of Madonna, Prince and Duran Duran used. The lyrics were also penned with some help from their regular singer Alana Watson who also performs live with NERO.
“We’ve known her since we were 16,” explains Dan. “She’s always been part of the NERO gang, and she’s been on all the singles. Alana helps give us a “band” feel, a bit like Massive Attack. The only outside assistance came from a guitarist friend called Bush, and a certain 80s megastar called Daryl Hall, who provided a cameo on the track Reaching Out. “We wanted to make a dance album that takes you on a journey,” reveals Dan, “with segues and a sense of flow from beginning to end.”
“It’s the sort of album we’d have loved as kids,” adds Joe, who admits that the benchmarks for “WELCOME REALITY” as a coherent, near-conceptual piece of work were Radiohead’s “OK Computer”, Daft Punk’s “Discovery” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. “We wanted it to sound memorable but not dated,” says Dan. “Some albums are very “now” but won’t be relevant in a year. We want ours to last.”
Mission accomplished. In fact, fully expect “WELCOME REALITY” to rip the roof off a club and/or do damage to whatever the future version of your bedroom stereo will be in, at the very least, the year 2808. NERO will be playing select DJ dates this December. They return for live dates this spring. The visual led performance includes a custom built booth consisting of ghetto blasters, retro TVs, old amps and an arcade machine centre piece. Additional DJ dates are also announced and all dates are below.
NERO Live Show
With a live show not to be missed, the musical storm of NERO’s set with its thunderous dubstep bass, whirlwind drum’n’bass and hail of house rhythms, lightning flashes of rave synths, squall of orchestra, and occasional showers of guitar is truly epic. With nominations from BBC’s Sound of 2011, XFM’s Sound of 2011, and Music Week’s Top 15, NERO have also won several awards including 2010’s Beatport Awards for Best Dubstep Act and Best Dubstep Track for Act Like you Know. The duo spent their summer performing on all the major UK music festivals including Glastonbury, Bestival, Reading, and Wireless, and still found the time to produce remixes for The Streets, La Roux, deadmau5, N.E.R.D and Daft Punk.
“NERO’s Joe Ray and Dan Stephens ache to bestow post-dubstep with its can-you-believe-this-shit? flash of stadium-size euphoria, enhancing (or defiling, depending on your perspective) the genre’s bass-heavy payload with trancey synths and wailing vocals.”
“WELCOME REALITY” will inevitably soundtrack thousands of summer and fall blowouts. …NERO understand how to make things burn.”
Los Angeles Times
“Glorious, splinter-thin moments when a sound is both free to do whatever it wants and still functioning as a new power source…”
The New Yorker
NERO will be on tour this winter in support of their new release.