EDM Trio Nero Joins Jay-Z and Beyonce on 'The Great Gatsby' Soundtrack
What started as temp music grew into a larger collaboration with the film's director, Baz Luhrmann.
When the buzz-heavy official soundtrack for The Great Gatsby film is released on May 7, it will include new tracks from such artists as Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Florence + The Machine, developed especially for the film. But the big stars weren’t the only ones to get in on the action.
Representing EDM is U.K. three-piece Nero, whose "Into The Past" is the penultimate track before the queen of all tear-jerking closers, Sia (hello Six Feet Under’s “Breathe Me”), fades to black with “Kill And Run.” (Check out an exclusive 30-second preview of the heady “Into The Past” at Billboard)
Best known for their Grammy-winning remix of their own original “Promises” (in collaboration with Skrillex), Nero is currently enjoying a 10-week run on the Hot 100 with the track, which peaked at No. 70. Their 2011 album Welcome Reality, which contains “Promises,” spent 65 weeks on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart and peaked at No. 6. The trio -- producers Joseph Ray and Dan Stephens and singer Alana Watson -- have a heavy dubstep-powered sound offset by Watson’s pop-wise vocals. They’re currently in the studio recording their sophomore effort for Interscope.
What started as temporary use of some Nero tracks for Gatsby grew into a larger collaboration with its Australian director, Mark Anthony "Baz" Luhrmann, including “Past” and additional scoring work throughout the film. Below, Ray and Stephens tell Billboard how it came to be.
When were you first approached about Gatsby?
Dan Stephens: We heard last summer that two of our tracks from Welcome Reality were being used as temporary sound beds in the film. A little after that, Baz came to our studio in L.A. and we talked about writing original music for those parts of the movie. As fans of both the book and his work, we were pretty excited to get working on it.
Had you read the book? Any early school memories of it?
Joseph Ray: Yep. It had been ages though, so I actually watched the Robert Redford version to remind myself of the plot. But it's such an evocative and memorable book it all came back very quickly.
How was the song developed? We heard it was a very integrated process with the film team.
Stephens: We worked closely with Baz to write two pieces for the movie using some elements and themes from Craig Armstrong's score. We also added some of the electronic sounds we'd used to other cues in the film to give some continuity to the overall score. One of the cues we'd written then developed into a full original song [“Into the Past”], with vocals from Alana. It's based around one of the central themes of the story, that of memory and Gatsby's drive to reshape past events.
Ray: We spent a lot of time working the score music we'd written into a song, so it was a mixture of happiness and relief when we heard it was definitely going to be used on the soundtrack!