Five questions with Nero’s Daniel Stephens

Nero’s Daniel Stephens, right, and Joe Ray perform at Surrender on Wednesday.

The Details

November 21, 10 p.m., $30-$40.
Surrender, 770-7300.

Growing up, you guys played classical guitar and cello. How did that translate to your electronic direction today? I think it gave us a really good foundation; knowing the classics and knowing music theory quite well helps. … We try to write quite unexpected melodies, a bit more musically—a more pop-classical sense of thinking about progressions and harmonies.

You and Joseph Ray began working together at 17. How do you guys collaborate? We start tunes separately and then play each other what we’ve been doing, and then we’ll basically swap project files and work on each other’s ideas. That’s a really healthy way of doing it because you end up getting both our styles within a piece of music.

You seem influenced by contrasting elements—’80s and classical, retro and futuristic. What’s the intention? We always strive for a really epic sound. And what music might sound like in the future is quite a big inspiration for us … Our keyword for our sound is retro-futurism. We’re really into those ’80s sci-fi films, like Alien and Blade Runner, where it feels very ’80s and dark and almost kind of industrial but at the same time it also feels very futuristic.

What future does your Welcome Reality album depict? It’s set in this quite dark time where you’re controlled by the government and people are escaping it by going to alternate realities. George Orwell’s 1984 was dealing with that concept.

How do crowds compare in the U.K. and U.S.? For England, it’s very rocky—there’s massive moshpits. We spend so much money producing this show, and half the crowd isn’t watching because they’re in a massive moshpit beating each other up! But it’s great to get that teenage kind of energy in it; like the new rock ’n’ roll. Over here, it’s very much like euphoric dance music. … A few years ago it was America following the U.K., and now it’s like the scene over here is so f*cking strong that I wouldn’t be surprised if the U.K. starts following America.

Tags: Nightlife

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