Are you a N.E.R.D.? Well find out what it takes from Shay.
How has life been?
Great, I can’t complain.
You are getting great reviews of the album.
I know its overwhelming. I’m glad that people really enjoy this album. I’m excited.
What happened to the first album that was supposed to come out?
The first one was like the blueprint to the second one. The first one is what we consider our collectors item that love N.E.R.D. The second we wanted it to be more live and have more freedom and expression.
Where you afraid because the album seems to be so different than what is out there right now that people might not get it?
We just wanted to put it out there and see how it went. One thing about N.E.R.D. is that we don’t want to restrict ourselves. We wanted to go with what we feel. If the world embraced it then great, if not than maybe one day they’d catch on.
When did N.E.R.D. come together?
We put it together in early 2000, that is when the Neptunes had some down time and had some songs done and were putting them out there and were getting good feedback. So Virgin wanted to sign us up, so we went with it.
When did you meet the guys?
Teddy Riley about ten discovered us initially as a group years ago. People couldn’t understand the group sound so we sat up under Ted for a while and the Neptunes as producers laid down the foundation for N.E.R.D.
How long were you working on the songs for the album?
We did them in like three or four months. We have a basic idea and we just sit nonstop and go to work.
I wanted to throw a few songs out there and get what comes to mind: “Provider”.
Well “Provider” is about a guy who is unfortunate financially and has to resort to the street. He wants to support his family like a real man should and that is his only way. He feels it’s the only way to support his family is through the streets.
“Baby Doll” and its style.
The psychedelic style. It’s about this girl that we somewhat have a crush on, we grew up listening to the Beatles, Steely Dan and things of that nature.
That is about people trying to be something they’re not. We have a term for someone fronting is a poser. That is the title of the song, poser. They try to emulate something they see.
What about “Bobby James”.
That is honestly my favorite song. It’s about this guy who goes to school and is alienated from the rest so he resorts to whatever it takes to make him forget what he is going through, be it drugs. So he resorts to drugs to make him forget all the pressure and problems he has.
You guys change the style a lot, but the content is consistent and very real to life. How important was that?
Very important. We love this music and we wanted it like our lives and our lives are real. Coming from Virginia, it’s a varied area but at the same time there is a lot going on. It’s a very influential town. You have your grits, surfers, and hip hoppers, but there isn’t much to do here. So people find anything to get into from inhaling freon from a generator or going to clubs. That is what we grew up on and that is what we saw so we wanted to vent on record.
People don’t seem to take rock and make it real with this sort of twist.
Music is a cycle. It’ll never die. We treat music like its human. Music is my homeboy. There are samples that have been used over and over again and don’t know where its come from, people think its original, but we want to show that music is alive and won’t die.
I heard you pronounce the group name as N.E.R.D. and Nerd, is there a difference?
Well, not really, I mean its really N.E.R.D., which stands for nobody ever really dies, but most people just say Nerd. We get a lot of questions about it, but that’s what we are here for to explain.
What do you listen to?
Right now Nikka Costa. Other than that I listen to things from the Gap Band to the System of a Down. I’m pretty open-minded.
Do you see music coming back around to giving up on materialism?
I think so. Everything dies down and comes to an end. Eventually all the materialistic bullshit will come to an end and people will venture out and talk about things that mean something.
What do you hope people come away with when they hear N.E.R.D.?
I just hope they enjoy the album. I hope it becomes the soundtrack for their lives.
What album was a soundtrack for your life?
A Tribe Called Quest. The first album was it.
+ charlie craine