“Runaway”: The Nerval's second single of 2020

A couple of years ago while getting ready to rehearse with the band, I was playing around with this riff idea at home.

Listening to the final master of Runaway at Rax Trax studios. — Chicago, Nov 2020.

Different than what I usually do when I have a spontaneous moment of creativity, which is to record it immediately on my phone so I don't forget it, this time I didn't do it.

First thing I did when I got into the studio was to show it to the guys and ask: "hey folks, what do you think about this?". Five minutes later we had this song ready to go!

Recording the initial riff of Runaway

Once we put it all together for the first time, I wasn't really sure about it. However, after recording it and hearing its final version, I completely fell in love with this song. In fact, I can certainly say that it has become my favorite song of the (yet to be released) the band's EP. (!)

Now can you imagine a song like "Best of You" from the Foo Fighters, never being heard by anybody?

We recorded it, and we shelved it. We didn't think it was any good. — Grohl, D. (Source: https://youtu.be/VCmi_xLoH7Q?t=63)

Sometimes as a creator/songwriter, you have to detach yourself from the stuff you create, because whatever you may think is not good, might be something amazing to someone that appreciates your art, and vice versa.

"Runaway" by Kevin Hellestad

A couple of weeks ago I participated in the Chord Progression podcast to talk about the band and the song.

Chord Progression Podcast with Kevin Hellestad (available November 19th, 2020).

After listening to it, Kevin came up with a really detailed review of his own. You can check it out below:


We get this rather normal paced intro that mixes elements of rock, pop punk, and emo in it all at once.

This is interesting because we are getting that 80s rock shred on the guitar, the overall movement of a pop punk sound with the drumming, and more of a downtrodden emo tone. This song could go many ways in my mind so we will have to see how this plays out.

Recording sessions for Runaway both at Rax Trax in Chicago and at Grava Studios (Recife — bass only)

As we get into the verses, we get more of that emo mix with pop punk style. The drums keep up that pop punk style and the guitars keep up a similar style that they had in the intro, but the tone of them is changed up ever so slightly which gives the song more of an emo feel.

Why I like this here is because this really speaks more to the meaning of the song. We get more of that classic 2000’s style on this song that mixes both pop punk styling and the emo feel of it.

The chorus takes more of a fuller approach with the pop punk drumming and the emo guitar tone coming in. While I find this potentially bland, I love what they do with the guitar in the second half and then in the transition back to verse 2.

The guitar tone has an overall rougher tone to it and it really brings more of that breakup emotion to light with more of that deep shred 80s style guitar.

They go full 80s style with the outro here with the drumming and the guitar solo that sounds like it takes some inspiration from the late Eddie Van Halen. I am not sure why this is the full outro because it sounds like something is missing at the end, but that is because of continuity purposes.

Seems like it should have a 3rd chorus but like that it doesn’t because it gives the song a new life feel like you are going out on your own.


In the verses, Tico follows suit with the instrumentals and uses a more melodic style and mixes pop punk with emo style vocals

Getting ready to put those vocal layers on

I like this because it really matches up well with the instrumentation to really give off the emotion that the song needs, plus using more of a slightly rougher clean vocal in the second half gives off more of that boiling over resentment and anger that the song needs to break through with that message.

In the chorus, Tico does the same thing here, but the focus is much more on that rougher style clean vocal

This really stands well in my mind because when you are mixing that pop punk and emo sound and then bringing in that rougher guitar tone in the second half, the rougher clean style brings it out with so much more anger and vigor that this song makes me think it should have been a hit in the 2000’s.


Overall this is quite the badass song they have here. Using that pop punk and emo mix here really sets the song out for success in the forefront because the mixture of the sound with more of an 80s deep shredding sound on the guitar gives this song a lot of life with a specific anger to it.

And that anger matches up with the message of the song. Tico’s vocals really do work well here as well as they work to amp up to a rougher clean style that really gives this song the final kick that it needs to put it over the top to match the emotion needed to express the meaning. Well done.

If you're curious to hear RUNAWAY, it drops on November 27th!

You can already pre-save it here (if you have Spotify): https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/thenerval/runaway-2 so you get notified as soon as it's available.

Besides, my interview with Kevin comes out the week before on November 19th so stay tuned for more!!




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Tico Nerval

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