Brooklyn-based musician Nerve Leak has unveiled the second single from his forthcoming debut EP Disconnected, which he will self-release on June 23rd. We had the opportunity to chat with Nerve Leak about the tune ('Alone'), as well as his thoughts on how people will react to it.

What was the inspiration/idea behind the 'Alone'?

When I was writing 'Alone', I wanted to combine the euphoria of dance music with the sorrow of lovelorn lyrics. I chose a house-inflected kick drum, armed with percussive bells, skyward synths, and reverb-blurred 808 drum samples, to give the song a dance angle. But I wrote the lyrics from a perspective that was somewhere far removed; somewhere you may not want to go if you're on a night out, club hopping. The opening lyric, "When I heard you say you no longer felt the same, everything fell away," is about that heart-stopping moment when you can't believe a lover has decided to move on without you. You want to change their mind and to put up a fight, but you are paralyzed with solitude and sinking self-worth. "I could hardly speak 'cause the ocean in my throat held me down," refers to tears drowning your voice--the more you try to speak, the more you choke. You want more than anything to say something to change their mind, but you know you can't; all you can do is face the mourning alone.

I like this juxtaposition because it gives the track two purposes: one where you're at a club, and the sub-bass and driving rhythms move you to dance. On the other hand, it attempts to console heartbreak in a pair of bulky headphones, reminding you that you're not the only one suffering the pain of lost love.

Is there any particular time or place in the universe where it'd sound best?

'Alone' embraces the future by being pre-dominantly electronic; yet, the most human instrument (voice), singing about the most human emotion (love) grounds it to the present. I would not classify it as avant guard as much of the experimental, futuristic music I listen to from artists like Arca, FKA twigs, Björk, and Burial. But I do think 'Alone' has a modern sound that will have a place in the future, but not necessarily in the past. While I have my voice singing love lyrics, it's oftentimes pitched down, reversed, and drenched in effects--turning it into something apparitional and surreal. I find beauty in disorienting samples of human instrumentation, and pairing them with electronic, rhythmic soundscapes. It's an approach that feels modern and future-leaning.

Overall, I hope 'Alone' sounds best in a time and place where the lines between pop and experimental have been erased; a place where it's familiar to hear a singer's voice turned into a ghostlike clone of itself overtop of a dance beat made from samples of metal sheets being moved in a factory. The ingredients we use to make music are becoming less and less conventional, and as we look into the future, it's becoming possible to make music out of sounds completely removed from traditional instrumentation. 'Alone' has some traditional instrumentation, but I've done my best to blur the recognition of those instruments into experimental layers that reinvent the way they are typically communicated.

How do you hope or imagine people will react to it?

I think there's room for different people to embrace this song in different ways. At a base level, the house rhythms and pulsing synths are something that casual listeners or people in an upbeat environment can dance to. At the same time, I hope people who are alone with the opportunity to listen more deeply will find the lyrics remind them of a similar situation they were once in.

Compared with the other tracks on the EP, this one took me the longest to get right because I felt like I was trying to say so many things: from the bouncing bells in the intro to the deep-cut saw synths in the mid-section to the layers of ambience in the outro. The track is just under four minutes, but it takes several turns. I hope listeners can approach the song from multiple perspectives; for me, there are portions that are despondent, energized, pensive, hopeless, and euphoric. I want each emotion to have the potential to be communicated, depending on who the listener is or in what situation they're hearing it.


We also recommend checking out the title-track from his forthcoming EP: