Features

Sidestep: Louisville Musician Neriah Romero Delivers Dream Pop Perfection (PREMIERE)

Photo: Morgan Newell

Sidestep is the solo project of Neriah Romero, vocalist of Louisville, Kentucky hardcore band Prime (read the No Echo feature here). In direct contrast from his work in his other outfit, his solo matrial finds Neriah exploring a sound that has more in common with the dream pop and shoegaze of the '90s than it does with anything remotely mosh-ready.

I chatted with Neriah about the endeavor, and as a bonus, we have the premiere of "Heavy Sleep," a Sidestep track that perfectly captures the essence of the project.

Introduce yourself to everyone. 

I'm Neriah Romero, I am the vocalist of Prime American straight edge, and I am also Sidestep. Which is the name I use for this band.

Even during COVID you have stayed busy with music thru Prime which got coverage at No Echo. How did Sidestep come about?

Sidestep has been a thing for me for a couple of years now. Honestly, originally I wanted to write an R&B album, I just got really into dream-pop in the process and ended up demoing out "I'll Get By" in a practice space.

I showed a few friends, Errick Easterday really liked it and shot the video for it. Once the video came out and I saw people's reactions I just haven't stopped dropping little promos and singles since then.

The new single is amazing, and I can't stop listening to it. What inspired the songs, and how did you record them?

Right now, I'm super inspired by My Bloody Valentine, the Smiths, and End of Year, You Are Beneath Me is my favorite album right now. My good friend Casey Powell recorded everything but drums in his bedroom studio. He lives around the corner from me and the pandemic has allowed me to be there multiple times a week just cranking music out.

Then I send it off to Trae Roberts at Like Minded Studios. He tracks drums and does the mix/master on it. Casey and Trae both are so proficient and dope to work with. There really is no sidestep without them. 

Louisville, Kentucky went thru, and we're still in the middle of a terrible year, following the murder of Breonna Taylor. The city has definitely gone thru turmoil before with segregation, and bussing but this year feels especially horrible for us all. How have you been handling all this? 

I'm handling it about as well as someone can, I think.

Honestly, though this is really my coping mechanism. All I can do is write my feelings on these things down and put them back out into the world.

I have recorded multiple times the day after being out all night protesting, I recorded on election night, this song "Heavy Sleep" the last words are "this city owes me a living, and I'm making sure it comes clean." All of these moments are going to be in this new Sidestep EP. I'm really trying to capture my year in the most honest way possible.

Photo: @1729.nic

Losing live music has taken away a vehicle for us to get together, console each other, and lift each other up. Is Sidestep making any plans to do live music somehow?

I'd really like to try, everyone's opinions on live music right now are so intense though I'm not really sure what the move is. I may try to do something small and socially distanced within the next few months.

No one has to stand by anyone for this band to work live so I'm not sure if anyone would have an issue. I just don't want to go through the internet discourse about how I'm killing someone's grandma because I throw a show or play a set somewhere.

What does 2021 have in store for you, and Sidestep. Will there be any new music coming out? 

Honestly, not really sure what is actually in store. I thought I was going to tour most of this year so I guess we'll see what happens.

As far as new music yes for sure. "Heavy Sleep" is actually my first single my new EP, I Will Grow Past You, which will be out in March or April. The exact time depends on if I get a label to put the EP out. For spring for sure, there will be a Sidestep EP out. 

Sidestep on social media: Instagram | Bandcamp

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Tagged: prime, sidestep

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