PINERO|SERENE is the London-based outfit made up of German/Filipino bass player, Cheryl Pinero and UK vocalist, Neeq Serene. The duo create an immersive, dream-like experience, born from the amalgamation of melodic bass lines and a melancholic vocal narrative. Their unique songwriting collaboration personifies emotional experience.
PINERO|SERENE has steadily been treating us to releases in the build-up to their debut EP Dark Matter, set to drop on July 12th. Their debut single ‘Take My Soul’, a dreamy, otherworldly concoction, imbued with genuine ardour, was premiered by Clash Music on May 22nd and it’s equally striking music video was shared on June 14th.
We shared some questions with the duo to find out more about them and their creative outlook:
Tell us about you, how long have you been producing music? What did inspire you to start?
Neeq: I started writing in my early teens, which led me to experiment with recording and music production in my 20‘s. I think, as with most, the impetus was the need to express a plethora of deep-rooted thoughts and feelings. I found a sonic sphere that resonated well and wanted to work with like-minded musicians who also appreciated that dark and melancholic realm. When Cheryl and I met in 2017, we established a mutual love and respect from the outset and connected well. She played me a beautiful song she’d written on bass and I could hear the vocal melody there and then. That night, I recorded the idea and sent it over to her – and “Take My Soul” was born. We developed a very natural writing process thereafter; a balance of light and shade which has set the tone for all we create.
Cheryl: I’ve been playing bass since I was 13 and in bands from the age of 15, so writing songs together with other people is just something I grew into very naturally. At around 18, I started writing my own songs, mostly on bass and it really helped me to find my own voice, express myself emotionally and creatively. Writing music has become very empowering and healing for us both. We try to be as open and honest as we can in our music and have developed an organic creative process which works well for us.
The music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music? How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want?
Neeq: I think this depends on personal aspirations and how one measures success. I just wanted to nurture my creativity and challenge my own potential as a vocalist and songwriter. In this sense, the competition aspect isn’t something I thought too much about. My focus has always been on sharing human experience and writing lyrics that I hope others may connect to. If a position in the industry arises as a result of any such creation, then of course it’d be a welcomed one – but not the focal point.
Cheryl: For myself, learning to find a balance was very important, because things change constantly and that’s perfectly normal in music, as in life. So while doing this work can be up and down, and it is a competitive industry, I try not to focus on these external aspects, but more on my intention of what it is I want to do or how I’d like to contribute to music, the scene or the community out there right now. Being in touch with my and also our purpose (as artists and a band together) helps me to navigate my way in this experience. It also helps a lot that Neeq and I share similar perspectives here, so we really support each other along this path.
How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction, or separately?
Where the inspiration comes from?
Neeq: Cheryl writes these incredibly emotive bass melodies and talks me through the feeling or circumstance that led her there. She’s a very open individual and gives me forum to write vocal melodies and lyrics that marry the tale of the bass. We sit together and layer the tracks with harmonies and instrumentation until we’re satisfied the story’s been told. Our inspiration stems from a desire to transform our emotional experiences into strengths through creative channels.
Cheryl: Yes, our creative processes and songwriting happen very organically. When we play or jam together it feels like having a conversation without speaking. It comes from very open and intuitive energies from both of us in the given moment, which is so beautiful. The songs are a perfect representation of what we’ve written at those times. Even in the final production, we always wanted to make sure the essence of each song remains the same.
What’s your favourite track from the upcoming album and what other bands/artists are you listening to right now?
Neeq: Hmm. This is mood dependent. I would say “Dead Flowers” because it echoes my current mindset. Its about accepting when it’s right to let go.
This week I’ve been listening to Darkher, Loma and Forndom. And the album “AMOK” by Atoms for Peace, which I often revisit. It’s a great one!
Cheryl: I agree that it is mood dependent, I love them all for different reasons. Each song on Dark Matter represents an energy of the four elements (earth, air, water, fire )- I’ll let people decide for themselves which one is which, depending on how they feel and resonate with the music.
Banks is currently on top of my playlist- I can’t wait to hear her third album!
What’s next for you?
We’re excited to have released our first single, with our EP following in July. Whilst we give this record a chance to breathe, we will be focusing on recording the second EP, which we’ve just finished writing.