Anyone who has seen a NERO show will tell you that it’s a very personal experience.
My own experience with them began in 2010 at the discontinued Audiotistic Festival in Southern California. I walked into the Bass Frequency stage toward the end of their set to an empty warehouse, just as their seminal track “Me & You” began to play. I didn’t realize at the time how much of an impact this memory would have on me, but fast forward four years to the last time I saw them at HARD Summer 2014, and they’re playing to an enormous sold-out crowd. At the end of their set, I turned to my friends and told them I had to sit down because it was just too much for me to handle.
Though I was not able to see their set at Coachella this year, I watched it via the livestream on Weekend 1 and meticulously logged each new track they played, totaling four from their upcoming album, Between II Worlds. They don’t just play a set. No. They craft an experience. The rise and fall of tempo, the builds and drops, the quiet and the loud … everything is painstakingly constructed to bring out their best for every set.
And it has worked for four years.
Daniel Stephens, Joe Ray, and Alana Watson are releasing their second album Between II Worlds on August 28th, a nod to the lead track of their first album and the year in which it was set. And with it, they want to re-imagine what it means to play a show as NERO.
This time around, Nero wants to present itself as less of a dance act and more of a live, three-piece electronic band.
I’ve seen a resurgence of live acts these past couple of years. Not that it wasn’t present before, but I believe that people have really begun to see its appeal. More than just appealing to the crowd, NERO wants to make sure that every time you see them it’s a personal experience.
“It’s trickier than we thought,” Stephens says, “but Coachella was a nice start. There’s all this nervous energy because it’s not just a DJ set — you could mess up at any minute — but it’s got the momentum of a DJ set. People go nuts.”
NERO places a lot of importance, too, on crafting a great album.
“There’s something to be said for taking the time to make full, formal, artistic albums,” says Daniel Stephens, one of the group’s producers, during an interview in Los Angeles before Coachella’s second weekend. “Not to diss a lot of the current EDM, but when you pump out new tracks every two weeks, you’re keeping yourself on the hamster wheel. Our first album has carried us for four years, you know?”
With their fanbase and solid production background, Between II Worlds will no doubt provide them with material for another four years to come. (Though, we earnestly hope it doesn’t take as long to release a third album, if there will be one.)
Pre-order Between II Worlds now, and get “Between II Worlds” and “Satisfy” instantly.