“Where My Head’s At” is a new feature from Dancing Astronaut that gives readers a quick glimpse into an editor’s personal music tastes and how they have developed. Subject matter will be all over the map, but we want to let you get a feel for individual editors, and where their heads are at.
My own journey of appreciation for dubstep started with a general dislike of the genre, but slowly graduated from begrudging acceptance to positive ambivalence. However, for me it was Nero who I can credit with pushing me over the edge into a genuine enthusiasm for the sounds that took me a while to embrace. I can remember distinctly sitting on the London Underground in 2009 with my iPod set to shuffle when Nero’s dubstep mix of “Act Like You Know” came on. At that point I was easing into the genre, but wasn’t an avid fan and still preferred the more familiar house music. I was on the verge of hitting skip when I decided to give it a try and listen all the way through. I began to think ‘hey this is pretty good’ and ended up playing it obsessively on repeat for the next couple of days.
When you mention the name Nero now, it feels like the London-based duo has been around forever. However, it’s easy to forget that their debut release, “This Way”, came out only three short years ago in 2008. Since then, they have been at the center of dubstep’s rise to prominence as one of the major EDM subgenres. Not only have they established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the dubstep world, but they’re a major name throughout EDM in general. This year has been one of their biggest yet — with headline appearances at UMF, iTunes Summer Festival, and Hard Summer Music Festival, not to mention their orchestration of a full dubstep symphony, and the release of countless remixes and singles. Oh, and did we mention that they have a debut album set for release later this month (August 15th to be exact) entitled Welcome Reality? Yeah — like I said — it’s been quite a year.
From that day on the Underground, I have eagerly anticipated each new Nero release and began to deepen my broader appreciation of dubstep and drum & bass culture. It was Nero’s remix of Plan B’s “The Recluse” that really sold me on the genre though. To this day it remains one of my favorite tracks and the drop at 1:09 is simply unbeatable. (Protip: listen on loud speakers at full volume with the bass turned all the way up to get the full effect.)
Plan B – The Recluse (Nero Remix)
What I think makes Nero unique in the world of bass culture is their ability to pair massive bass sound with beautiful melodies, intricate patterns, and stunning vocals. It’s easy to write dubstep off as loud un-musical sounds (or as I have it heard described: machine noises, what Transformers fighting would sound like, or the sound of dying cats) but Nero serves to demonstrate the complex balance that in fact exists within the genre. Nothing exemplifies this more than their groundbreaking dubstep symphony produced in conjunction with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. When you listen to it, you can really get an idea for the complexities and musicality of their productions.
After my indoctrination by Nero into the world of bass culture, I delved in headfirst. Now dubstep and drum & bass tracks dominate my top 25 most played on iTunes, with several Nero tracks occupying those esteemed positions. While the outrageous Skrillex & Nero remix of “Promises” left me floored, and the incredible track, “Guilt,” had me obsessed for days, Nero’s own “Me & You” remains my favorite. For me, there’s nothing better than driving on a summer day with the sun beaming down, this track on the radio with the bass and volume knobs turned up so high that your steering wheel vibrates with every drop. Pure bliss.
Nero – Me & You
After such a phenomenal 2011, I can only imagine what Nero has in store for us in 2012.
So, where’s your head at?
Bonus: Last week Nero performed a fantastic cover of Friendly Fires’ “Live Those Days Tonight” in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. Effectively a live dubstep remix, and declared the best Live Lounge cover by Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton, definitely worth checking out.
Friendly Fires – Live Those Days Tonight (Nero Live Lounge Cover)