How would you describe your sound?
Our style can change from song to song, although there’s always a ‘Nero sound’ that runs through the music. It’s hard for us to pin-point what makes that our sound because we just write what feels natural to us. Often other people will say “I can tell that’s a Nero song” when we’ll be listening to the same song and wondering whether it sounds like us.
Where do you call home?
We’re all from London. Joe [Ray] lives in East London and myself [Daniel Stephens] and Alana [Watson] live in West London. We’ve lived in L.A. for a few months here and there over the last few years. When we started writing this album we were living in the Hollywood Hills, in the house that Orson Welles wrote Citizen Kane. But I don’t think any of us could ever live anywhere full time other than London.
What’s changed for you musically over the last couple of years since your last album release?
I don’t think much has changed. We didn’t want to move too far from the sound of Welcome Reality. At the same time, it’s been nearly four years since Welcome Reality was released so there’s always a natural progression. This album is definitely a bit more eclectic in terms of styles. There’re a couple of tracks that are verging on love ballads.
As a trio, how does your song-writing process work?
We’ll often start song ideas separately, then play early sketches to each other and go from there. We have a few vintage analogue synths, a guitar, and a live room with a drum kit set up in it, so sometimes we jam a bit. We tend to all write the lyrics and vocal melodies together, often at a midway stage in a song. There’s a couple of vocal top lines on this album that were written during the last album. The original backing tracks weren’t working so they didn’t make the cut for Welcome Reality but we knew the vocals were strong. It’s actually really hard trying to write a track to go under an already written vocal. Especially if you love the vocal. It can feel like whatever you write doesn’t do the vocal justice. Or it’ll sound more like a remix than an original song.
Tell us about your album title, Between II Worlds. What worlds are these?
For us, it’s the two sides of Nero. We have a band-y side—tracks like “Promises,” “Me and You,” and “The Thrill” have a stadium rock feel. Then there’s our more dance floor, nightlife side.
It also has sci-fi connotations, of course. We embraced the sci-fi aspect of the title in the album track “Between II Worlds.” We wrote a monologue that we wanted to sound like a sample from a film. It’s about someone who dreams they become light which travels between two worlds.
What will a summer camp in the year 2808 look like?
There’s no summer in the year 2808.
Utopia or dystopia?
Photographer: Luc Coiffait at LucCoiffait.com.
Hair: Shukeel Murtaza for UntitledArtistsLDN.com.
Makeup: Joanna Banach for UntitledArtistsLDN.com.