The wonderful Alana took time out of her grueling tour schedule to talk with Disco Droppings. We cover a lot in this interview; Nero’s NYE performance in Seattle, Daft Punk, dystopian worlds and such. I am always thinking of them, for their ability to deliver an epic artistic vision while still remaining kind and well-balanced. Cheers to Dan, Joe and Alana! If you haven’t already, listen to their monumental Essential Mix and pick up the Deluxe Version of their album, Welcome Reality
DD Such a delight to talk with you again Alana. When I first met you it was NYE. Nero headlined the Resolution show, and I feel it was a stunning performance by Dan and yourself. I was thrashing around harder than anyone on that stage. What did you think of Seattle?
A Great to talk to you too. I loved Seattle. It was my first time there and I was suitably impressed. The venue was awesome, the crowd were mental and the sushi was delicious! Dan and I really enjoyed ourselves and hope that next time we’re in town we don’t have to rush off to LA to shoot a music video!
DD That NYE show had a lot of symmetry for me. Back in 2007, I saw my first electronic show, Daft Punk, in that same venue. To be able to work for you guys in the same venue was awe-inspiring. You saw Daft Punk in Australia right? What do you remember most vividly about that night?
A We saw Daft Punk in London actually. They played Hyde Park for the O2 Wireless Festival in 2007. It was insane. Ridiculously good. The light show (pyramid) and production was outstanding and really inspired us. I remember daydreaming about that show for days afterwards thinking ‘will we ever be able to do anything even half as good?’
DD From the album, “Welcome Reality”, which songs lyrics do you resonate with most? Also, which song was most difficult for you to master in a live setting?
A The answer to both questions is probably ‘Guilt’. I think lyrically it’s open to interpretation and can have different meanings for different people which I like. I personally imagine a girl who is unsure of where she stands in a relationship.
I said to Dan and Joe the day that we recorded it in the studio that I would never be up for singing it live. It was at the top of my range and really difficult. However, it sneaked it’s way into our live show and with practice it has become easier.
DD Who are some vocalists that you draw inspiration from?
A I’m inspired by such a vast range of vocalists from all decades and genres of music. I love Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Thom Yorke, Michael Jackson, Skin from Skunk Anansie, the list could go on and on for days to be honest.
DD Dan & Joe have mentioned dystopian environments such as Akira and Bladerunner as inspirations for Nero. Are you into these kinds of stories too?
A Yes, absolutely. I’m slightly obsessed with post apocalyptic films and love that dark 80’s vision of the future. Akira and Bladerunner are classics but i’m also into films like 28 Days Later…you’ve gotta love a good zombie flick.
DD Which remix of a Nero track do you connect with most? Personally I’m in love with Fred Falke’s remix of “Reaching Out”.
A For me it’s Nero and Skrillex’s collaboration remix of ‘Promises’. Sonny came to our studio in London and wrote the piano intro in a matter of minutes. I was in awe of how fast he worked. We had the main bulk of the tune written and produced after only 2 to 3 hours. What I particularly like is that I can hear a little of all three producer’s style in the one tune.
DD How has working with Dan & Joe impacted your mindset and perspective? And lastly, what would you say to young artists, trying to find their voice?
A I’ve been best friends with Dan and Joe for over 10 years so working with them initially was just like hanging out and jamming with mates. Then, whilst I was training to be a midwife things got more serious for Nero but I still perceived it as more of a hobby. In October of last year my mindset definitely changed when I gave up midwifery to concentrate on music full time. We’ve been pretty much touring solidly since and I love it!
I would say to other artists that finding your own sound can be difficult. I had it easy because Dan and Joe really knew what they liked. They helped me find a sound that worked well with their music. The female airy quality of my voice seems to work really well with their more masculine bass driven production.
– Jimi Jaxon