They are young, versatile, musically gifted, physically appealing, and wrapped up in their own signature style. And if their song Amped Up doesn't make you pump your fists while jumping up and down rave-style, then you probably need to get your hearing checked. They are Sean and Wong Nebula of local music group Nebula 868, and they are anything but ordinary. In fact if we are to believe the rumours, they are extraterrestrial. Despite their above-our-atmosphere style and citizenship, however, both Sean, real name Sean Padmore, and Wong, real name Clayton Wong, seemed focus and grounded during their interview with the T&T Guardian.
868 means 100 per cent local
The Nebulans make it a priority to represent their country. In fact their most recent album is titled 1962, after the year T&T gained its independence from Britain. "It's a reminder of where we come from, respect for where we come from and it gives people a chance to take T&T with them. So when people ask why 1962? We say 'it's like an Independence of our Independence'," Wong explained in a tone filled with conviction. The group has evolved, having performed calypso, soca, hip-hop and R&B, Wong and Sean took about three years off to perfect their very own style of Nebula 868 music. If you find it difficult to picture the Words Can't Explain singers crooning calypso, hearing Sean sing a line from his favourite, Kitchener's Sugar Bum Bum would make you a believer. Wong's favourite pick is David Rudder's Bacchanal Lady. "Growing up we never learnt much about our own history, we never knew the stories behind artistes like Sparrow and Kitchener, and these guys made a living off of their dream. But we want to know and we are always curious," Sean said.
Nebula to the world
If they could perform with anyone in the world Wong would choose Black Eyed Peas, while Sean opted for hip-hops Young Money crew. They both agree, though, that their favourite collaboration so far has been with Groovy Soca Monarch winner, Kes Dieffenthaler. "Kes just real cool and vibsy," said Wong. At ages 21, and 22 respectively Sean and Wong are living their dream after spending the majority of their teenage years perfecting their art. At the age where most teenagers aren't even thinking of making a career choice, the group was busy writing, recording tracks and taking them apart, experimenting and analysing so that when they took the music to the people, it would be the best they could produce. The hard work seems to be paying off, as the music they have released so far has been very well received.
Their confidence and trust in each other shows in their interaction and their music. Questioned as to the song they would perform if they only had five minutes left on earth Sean said: "I would choose Amazing. It's a song that says no matter what anyone says you are amazing. I think what Wong does is amazing. I think what our team does is amazing." Asked to choose between fame and money the duo seems torn, however, when pressed to make a decision Sean chose the former. "I would choose fame because we ain't making money yet and I love where we are at with our fans, and at the end of the day we would be getting the message across". On the contrary, Wong chose the money. "We want to put down a foundation for a family and our kids' kids so I'll have to choose the money," while Sean interjected, "Well you see, it's half and half so we safe." They both laughed, their chemistry natural and very obvious. So what is the Nebula868 measurement for success?
"I'll know we are successful when our mom is smiling, when she is smiling cause she is happy. Cause you know moms are superheroes so we would want to give back. Also when we come to the airport in Trinidad and the place flood out with people," Sean said.
What can fans look forward to from Nebula868?
A new album, new videos, including videos for Amped Up and Words Can't Explain, new soca for Carnival 2012, a charity project called the Live Learn Love Foundation, and maybe a clothing line from Wong, and just about everything you can think of from Sean. The duo likes to keep their plans close to their chest. Nonetheless, whether it's music or a barber shop, you can be confident that whatever Nebula 868 puts forward is going to be out of this world.