Funky American hip-hop collective N*E*R*D were in London earlier this week promoting their fourth studio album entitled Nothing. The band, fronted by the legendary Pharrell Williams, is renowned for making soulful, rock-infused beats, accompanied by intensely catchy, feel-good riffs. i-D Online were invited to an intimate playback session at Present on Shoreditch High Street and caught up with Pharrell and band mate Shay Haley.
When you begin writing material for a new record, is it a team effort?
Shay Haley: We all throw in ideas. Not one man can manage to put together a montage of N*E*R*D.
Pharrell Williams: Yeah, it’s just not possible.
Shay: It’s definitely a collaborative effort. There are even people outside of N*E*R*D involved. We come up with the foundations and then have listening sessions to get ideas about what direction we should take certain songs. We all play a part in the creative process.
What flavours can fans expect to hear on this record?
Shay: There were so many inspirations – late 60s, 70s, a little bit of 80s; classic rock, from The Doors to Queen and a few soulful, folk moments. We also have some native tongue on the record too. N*E*R*D are notorious for taking bits and pieces from different eras and mashing them together.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Shay: I really like MGMT’s new album. I’ve also been playing around with Passion Pit. And of course Drake, I really rate his new album.
‘Nothing’ is due to be released later this year.