Richard Harrington of The Washington Post chatted with N.E.R.D. and The Neptunes star Chad Hugo about the decision to replace their trademark machine beats with the live musicians of Spymob on ‘In Search Off…’. Hugo said of the N.E.R.D. decision to make the disc ‘heavier’, “We liked it that way. We wanted people to play the air guitar and the air drum as they listened to the record, without taking away from the simplistic grooves that we had. We figured that this was an alternative album to begin with and we wanted to separate N.E.R.D. from what we did as the Neptunes. I think the live show is going to help that out as well, as well as broadening the spectrum of our listeners.”
Linda Laban of CDNow.com reviewed N*E*R*D’s show at Boston’s Paradise Club on Monday night calling the set “relaxed but tight.” Laban adds, “Adding lashings of soul and nixing empty braggadocio and angst-ridden whining, N.E.R.D’s evolved ubiquity revealed the rap-rock union of the likes of Limp Bizkit to be a crude and inefficient, self-centered medium.”
Harry Echlin of The Detroit News chatted with Chad Hugo of the Neptunes who chuckles at the irony of being considered primarily producers with The Neptunes, not a band as they’ve shown with their debut N*E*R*D album. “We started out as a band! We didn’t expect to become producers!” As for what that original band with Pharrell Williams and what it sounded like, he said, “We were like a hip-hop version of Earth, Wind and Fire.”
Cyclone of Beat Magazine of Australia spoke to Chad Hugo of N.E.R.D., where he talked about the group’s elusive frontman Shay, and trouble with the law that kept him out of the spotlight. “People don’t know too much about Shay,” says Chad, “because (laughs quietly) he had a bit of trouble with the law – not anything illegal – but Shay is a kung fu expert and the police tried to pull him over at the beach here in Virginia and he did some kung fu moves on a policeman because he was arresting him for no reason, so he has to serve time on the weekends. So they don’t really know too much about him. While we were recording the album, he had to serve those times – but people don’t know that. But things like that, that is the human characteristic – Shay represents the quirky weirdness of NERD.”
Hip Online spoke with N.E.R.D. frontman Shay about his debut alongside the guys from the Neptunes. Speaking of the group’s different styles, but consistent content, Shay said, “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.”
Gemma Tarlach of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviewed the debut N.E.R.D. effort ‘In Search of…’ Gemma was very positive on her feelings for the disc saying, “The Neptunes emerged in the late ’90s as behind-the-boards starmakers for rappers such as Noreaga and quickly found themselves in demand by rap-metal mooks and dances-with-snakes ditzes. ‘In Search Of…’ reveals the production team’s own material is far more entertaining and original than the cardboard characters their beats have been propping up for the last few years.”
The article at jsonline.com has since been removed.
Tom Moon of the Philadelphia Inquirer spoke with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo about the decision to drop their own album with N.E.R.D.’s ‘In Search of…’ When trying to push desired funk rhythm with outrageous death-metal guitars sound to high profile clients, they got no reaction. “We’ll say ‘Why not try this?’, and what usually happens is they sit there and stare at us,” said Williams. “Eventually we figured if we were going to ever hear any of this stuff, we’d have to do it ourselves.”
Chart Attack spoke with N.E.R.D.’s Sheldon Haley about how the group re-record the whole album with real beats instead of electronic ones for their debut. Haley revealed, “Well, the first album was a synthesized version and we labeled it as ‘rock’ but there were a lot of mixed messages. People couldn’t understand how it could be classified as rock when there’s not any live instruments behind the vocals and things of that nature… what they’re typically used to. Besides that, we felt like it was somewhat constricted. The songs, themselves, couldn’t breathe, so we wanted to add that live feel to it, an edgier effect.”
Evelyn Mcdonnell of Knight Ridder Newspapers spoke with Chad Hugo about his debut effort, ‘In Search of N.E.R.D.’ The man behind half of The Neptunes (along with Pharrell Williams) explained how the project was able to break out of the typical hip hop sound saying, “My priorities are to be a good musician. The corporate world has a way of pigeonholing people. We’ve had our share of meetings where people want us to be a certain way. But there’s always a way to break the rules, there’s always a back route.”
Pharrell Williams of N.E.R.D. called in to the Howard Stern show this morning to promote his new album ‘In Search Of’ which dropped today. Howard asked Pharrell if he could remix his 6th grade song ‘Psychedelic Bee’ into a hip-hop song. He played the tape of the original recording and asked Pharrell if he could do anything with it. Pharrell said he couldn’t even understand what he was saying in the song. Read more at marksfriggin.com.