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Nero has sent six tracks from its debut album Welcome Reality onto the charts in the U.K., but Interscope A&R rep Dave Rene thinks the EDM group has only scratched the surface of its success in the U.S.
“They have such a massive following [in the U.K.], but we just didn’t have kind of traction here yet,” said Rene, who told Billboard back in May that his two biggest successes of the past 12 months were getting his own office and signing Nero. “With ‘Promises’ now catching fire here, we just wanted to [repackage the album] to reintroduce them and also add some new content in an album context.”
With that philosophy in mind, Interscope/Cherrytree Records is repackaging the album as Welcome Reality +, which will include two new original tracks as well as the Skrillex-assisted remix of “Promises,” the original of which debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. charts and recently was certified gold in the U.S. The album is set for release Oct. 22.
Welcome Reality initially came out on the band’s U.K. label MTA Records in August 2011, before Rene — who had been tracking the band for three years — was able to bring it to Interscope with the intention to break them in the U.S. “To me they’re the rock band of this electronic, EDM space,” Rene said, musing on what attracted him to the group initially. “That was one of the most interesting things I’d heard in a long time. … It was really progressive for a major label like Interscope [to sign them], when a lot of people here weren’t quite ready for it.”
One way to sell American audiences was to involve Skrillex, who has become somewhat synonymous with the rise of EDM in the U.S., legitimized by his three Grammy wins in February. His remix of “Promises” — which Rene dubs as more of a collaboration and a “complete flip of the song” than a remix — has become the band’s best-selling track since it came out alongside the single last year. “[Skrillex’s] sound design is meticulous, so he just put his swag on it,” said Rene. “You can’t really go wrong with a Skrillex co-sign at this point.”
Nero is joined on Interscope by other EDM acts such as Zedd, Alesso and Swedish House Mafia’s Sebastian Ingrosso, putting Interscope at the forefront of the major label push into the EDM scene. Cherrytree Records – the label owned by Martin Kierszenbaum which initially left Interscope, then decided to remain with the label at the end of July — also boasts Far East Movement, Robyn and LMFAO on its roster.
“When I met with Dan [Stevens], Joe [Ray] and Alana [Watson of Nero] at their studio in London, I knew they were onto something very special, and with the help of Jason Iley at Mercury UK, we began a quintessentially ‘Cherrytree’ campaign to introduce Nero in the U.S. in an authentic and organic way,” Kierszenbaum said in a statement. “This latest, new package relaunch is the continuation of that plan and another anchor to bring further attention to what is a maverick and remarkable album.”
Coinciding with the release of Welcome Reality +, Nero is headed out onto the road for nine dates starting Oct. 24, with stops in Boston, New York and Washington D.C., with more dates expected to be announced shortly. The band has also been in the studio with a new project tentatively slated for next year to come on the heels of this release and the momentum “Promises” is gaining with its gold status.
“We’re thrilled that ‘Promises’ has gone gold in the States,” Nero said in a statement. “It’s certainly not something we could have ever predicted when we made the record back home in the U.K.”
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