Last December, No Echo covered the premiere of "Heavy Sleep," a dream pop/shoegaze-tinged single from Sidestep, the solo project from musician Neriah Romero (he also plays in the Louisville hardcore band Prime).
Today, we get the opportunity to hear the rest of the songs that were recorded during that session by Trae Roberts at Like Minded Company. I instantly fell in love with the new material, and the tracks perfectly paint a picture of Neriah's life last year.
Give it a listen, and prepare yourself to become a fan, and follow his career. I had a few questions for him that he graciously answered. Thanks, Neriah!
Can you tell me what "13 Hour Interlude" is about? The line "Everyone checks on me" really struck a nerve.
Yeah, "13 hours" is actually the first song I wrote for the record. I recorded it like mid all of those protests going on last year. Not to get incredibly dark but when David McAtee (killed by Kentucky National Guard soldiers at his BBQ restaurant) was shot by police last year they left him out in the street for 13 hours, and that really just fucked with my head.
I kept on having friends reach out and tell me they were there for me and I appreciated it but there really is nothing like being black in America, knowing that you can be gone and people not even bother to move you out of the street.
Sorry if I'm being dramatic, I don't really mean to. I wrote the song to keep from losing my mind, to be honest, which is why I will probably never play it live. I'm in a different headspace now and that song makes me very emotional.
Who are some of your lyrical/vocal inspirations? I think I noticed an Ian Curtis (Joy Division) vibe in "Witness Protection." I think that is my favorite song on this new release. If the EP had a second single, it would get my vote.
As far as inspiration goes, lyrically and vocally, I'm really all over the place, honestly. I take from everything. From Wes Iesold (American Nightmare, Cold Cave) to Prince, it all finds its way in. Straight up, though, Morrissey is one of my all-time favorites, as a songwriter and singer, he means the world to me.
Other inspiration comes from Chino Moreno (Deftones), Pat Kindlon (Self Defense Family), and a lot of Ian MacKaye in Embrace. I love the idea of talking shit in a soft band and those guys do an excellent job at it.
When No Echo featured the song "Heavy Sleep" last year, we covered how deep the city of Louisville was into the ongoing racial justice struggle and how you were navigating your day. With the rest of the songs on I Will Grow Past You, we also get different looks into your mind about love, friends, and enemies. Would you say the record has a theme?
I'm not really sure if I would say it has a theme. At least if it does I'm not really aware of it. I will definitely say I spent more time on the lyrics than ever before. I'm a very stream-of-consciousness lyricist so this is the first time I really spent time editing and going over my words. I really just wanted to give everyone my life in the best way possible.
What's your favorite song on the record?
Musically speaking, "Heavy Sleep" is probably my favorite. The ending of it is built to be loud and danced to and I think I did that. Straight up, though, "Witness Protection" are the best lyrics I've ever written. I love gangster movies and there is always this moment where they have to go into hiding and they tell the girl they barely know to come with them.
Just the idea of someone asking if they can be this person's everything, I find it so moving, it's like "I know we barely know each other but come on. I love you let's change our names and bag groceries and live in some fucking Midwest city and just be happy that we're together."
I think it's beautiful.
Sidestep is doing an album release show on May 21st. I really really need to see live music, and you are doing the show outside safe as fuck. Tell us how you feel about your first live show in over a year, and are you making any other plans to promote the record?
I cannot wait, for real. The idea of spending time with people and performing makes me so happy; it really is what I'm built to do. Hopefully, I'm gonna be able to do a couple of small tours through the Midwest this fall. Nothing crazy just play a couple of cities I've already been to and see some friends. I'm also gonna do a small physical release at some point of some tapes later this month.
Maybe at some point we'll see if any labels are trying to partner up to rerelease it together or something. I think that would be cool.
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