The Neighbourhood is my band crush. They had me at “Female Robbery,” watching and re-watching that 30 second promo video on loop. And then “Sweater Weather” came out and I swear it was the only song that existed in my headphones for at least a week. Now because I have the best blogfather that ever was – Marc – and because The Neighbourhood is as nice as they are talented, I got to interview the band at their show on Monday at Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn.
1. What were you like in high school? What was your neighborhood like?
Bryan : In high school, we were both short. I entered at 5″0 ft tall. I left at 5″8 and I’m 6″1 now.
Jesse Rutherford: I was like the same. I’m like 6″2 now.
B: Played sports – baseketball, football. I was a point guard.
Jessie Morris: Pre or post growth spurt?
B: Ha, before growth spurt!
2. So I definitely picked “Sweater Weather” as my #1 song of 2012 at Mostly Junk Food. But, what’s your favorite song of yours or just your favorite to perform live?
jr: I know, thank you! Um, we have a song called “Afraid” that I think is really strong.
jm: is that the fuck you anyway song?
jr: Yes,s hell yeah. That song’s dope and then there’s a song, we play it live right now but we’re going to start playing a different version of it live called “Whataya Want From Me?”
jm: Like Kelly Clarkson?
jr: She has a song “Whataya Want From Me?!”
Lauren: No, Adam Lambert.
jr: Wow, I guess that’s where I got it from!
3. How did you arrive at the name the Neighbourhood, are you all from the same town? What inspired you to go with the European ‘U’ spelling?
jr: Our manager actually suggested it. I thought of the name and I was trying to make social networks for us, but it was all taken everywhere for the standard American spelling soo I was like fuck what should we do? And then our manager suggested doing the European spelling and it worked out.
B: A lot of our team is not from the U.S. Like our manager is from New Zealand. Our producer for the EP who did half the album with me – he’s from New Zealand.
4. There is a lot of praise out there for your videos. What is your favorite video you’ve done so far?
jr: I’d have to say my favorite video so far is “Let It Go.” I think it looks the coolest and it is so telling of the area we’re from.
5. Who writes the lyrics?
jr: I do.
6. Marry, Fuck, Kill: Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis, Emmy Rossum
jr: Oh! Wait, who was the last one?
jm: Emmy Rossum.
jr: Oh, well I guess I’m going to kill her because I don’t know who she is.
jm: She’s on Shameless, she…
B: She’s hot. [to Jesse] You see her naked in Shameless, dude.
jr: And wait, who was the first one?
jm: Jennifer Lawrence, my favorite…
jr: Who is she again?
jm: Katniss from The Hunger Games, was in Silver Linings Playbook…
jr: Her! Her! Ok, I haven’t even seen the other girl. I’m going to kill Jennifer Lawrence.
jm: WHAT. (*Somewhere nah rez is also not happy about this).
B: Oh wow, and you haven’t even seen the last one? That’s huge.
jr: Yeah, yeah, well… And who was the last one? Mila Kunis? Marry her. Just because she’d be pretty solid. And I’ll nail the Shameless one.
B: I’m gonna, I might marry the girl from Shameless.
jr: Alright! So you’re going to do Mila?!
B: I’m gonna do Mila and I might kill Jennifer Lawrence, but I’m not gonna be happy about it. I feel very bad because she is amazing, but…
7. What was the last concert YOU went to? What are you listening to on repeat right now?
jr: The Neighbourhood. The Neighbourhood.
B: [To Jesse] But you saw Kendrick Lamar on New Year’s?
jr: Oh, that’s true! Put that, put that. That’s way cooler.
B: Honestly, don’t even know the last band I saw.
jr: And, who am I listening to?
B: Game’s new album?
jr: Game’s new album is so dope. Yeah, or Joey Bada$$.
8. Tell me about the first time you guys heard your music on the radio…What was that like?
B: I remember this! We all went into, I think it was Mikey’s car, and we were listening on the radio and you took a picture.
jr: See, that was the first time it was scheduled and we knew it was going to be on the radio. But the time it just came on, it was right after rehearsal one day. We finished and went to my car and I turned on my car and the radio was on at, you know, volume 9, so low and I hear “Anything… Anything” and I hear the chorus and I’m sitting there for a second and I’m talking to the guys still and was like hold on – my iPod’s not in! I turn it up and was like “we’re on the radio!”
B: For me – it was BBC. First time we were on the radio, when I was still living in New Orleans, I remember I was texting you guys about it. I don’t think I was even technically in the band yet.
jr: Yeah, probably not.
B: Probably not, but it came on the radio and I’m by myself, doing jumping jacks, just being like “Yeah!” and you know.
jr: Exactly. Because you knew you were going to be in the band though.
jm: Oh yeah, because it was four at first, right?
jr: It was three, then it was five. It was just me Zack and Jeremy. And then Mikey and Bryan.
9. You once tweeted your music is not indie, just pop. Would you still say the same thing and what does that mean to you?
jr: Did I say that?
jr: Well, I’d say our music is like dark pop. I don’t know, I say our music is a lot of different things. I always say it’s black and white because it’s honest and shit and what we want to play.
B: I think it takes influences from other genres, but I don’t necessarily think it fits into any one genre.
jr: But, I don’t think it’s indie.
jm: Yeah, I mean I think I use different adjectives every time to describe your songs.
jr: What do you describe our stuff as?
jm: I mean dark pop is probably a really good term for it. I probably use the term indie because I tend to throw that around a lot.
B: Yeah, I mean if you said Indie I wouldn’t be like “where did you get that?”
jr: Yeah, I’m not offended, but the thing is, do I think it’s cool to be as cool enough as indie folks? Sure. But, do I think we’re really as “cool” as indie people? No, I don’t. So, when they kind of take you on but figure out well you’re not that “cool,” they like throw you out so it’s like, fuck man we just want to make songs that are catchy.
10. I’m sure you get this all the time; please describe your favorite sweater.
B: Oh wow.
jr: Holey! That’s pretty good. I like your answer, just put your answer for that also. Just put Jessie with an “i,” sneak it in there so they won’t even know.
B: Do cardigans count as sweaters?
jm: Of course! A cardigan is a sweater.
jr: I just like my leather jacket. I don’t wear sweaters to be honest.
B: There’s one that I’ve had for a while. It’s in band pictures. I like that one.
jm: What color is it?
B: It’s grey. I have a black one now, but it doesn’t fit the same.
jr: Yeah, I don’t think I have one…
jm: No sweater?
jr: Yeah, like when I think of a sweater, I think of a fucking knit, like a real knit, actual sweater. Like the one that’s in the actual “Sweater Weather” video – like that. But I don’t really wear those.
jm: Like Kurt Cobain-esque?
jr: Yeah, that’s tight, I like that shit.
B: Early on, when you were doing those sweaters – THOSE were dope. If I had one of those, those would be my favorite.
jm: Do you guys watch American Horror Story?
jm: The kid on there [Tate] on that show wheres good (and holey) sweaters.
jr: Now I need to watch it.
11. I’ve rambled about your excellent taste for leather jackets on lots of my posts. How many do you own?
jr: Well, I own three. I own this – this is like my one, but a long time ago we were on the road – we were actually here [nyc] for the first time – and I got a red one from Zara, but it’s bullshit. I only got it because I really wanted the black one but I settled and thought this one’s cooler and it’s red! But I was just being an idiot. So that one sucks, I don’t wear that. And then I have also a leather vest, but I feel very…
B: Village people?
jr: Yes! Village people. I feel too village people in it so I never really wore it.
B: I have one.
jm: And how many in the whole band? 10-ish?
jr: We each have one besides Zach.
12. It was just announced last week you’re headed to SXSW this year. Besides drinking beers with Mostly Junk Food (myself included), what are you most looking forward to in Austin?
B: You will be unpleasantly surprised to know I am the only one that drinks.
jm: That’s ok, we can get beers together.
jr: Cherry coke. I’ll get a cherry coke.
jm: And Tex-Mex.
13. Lastly, favorite junk food?
jr: Favorite junk food? Oh shit. Let’s ask everyone.
Jeremy, Zach, Mikey: Del Taco!
jr: I don’t know it’s hard. We were torn between Del Taco and Taco Bell for a while but I think we’ll go with Del. Wait, wait and In-N-Out!
jm: But what about like, candy?
L: Yes, like gas station food.
jr: I like Charleston Chews.
B: You would.
jr: Wait no! Sour patch EXTREMES.
B: Also Sno-Caps.
Everyone else: wait, what?!
B: Yes. At the movies? So good.
jr: They are black and white.
jm: Well, that’s everything!
jr: What! That’s it? You gotta have more than that. Jessie, what have you always wanted to know?
jm: I mean I was going to ask you guys who do you want to collaborate with, but I feel like you guys get asked that all the time and the response I kept seeing was that you were working on your own stuff so I was avoiding that question.
jr: No! I’ll tell you right now. Kanye West.
L: Mrs. Kardashian?
jr: Ugh, yes.
jm: Can you be the father of the baby? Save Kanye?
jr: Yes of course. Also, Joey Bada$$. Um, who else…
B: The Cardigans? Gorillaz? Not the band, just him.
jm: And I was also going to ask something about video games, but…
jr: Jeremy is a legend.
Jeremy Freedman: Yeah, I play Call of Duty a lot.
jr: And Halo 3 is great though.
jf: We have Halo 3 too in the van.
jm: Any Grand Theft Auto?
jm: We like our old school video games, like the ones we grew up on. Super Nintendo.
jr: Yes! Super Mario Brothers.
[This went on for a while, discussed Mortal Kombat, etc. Good choices all around]
14. Oh, most annoying question asked?
jr: “What’s next.”
B: Well, Meatball Shop is next anyway.
“We just want to make songs that are catchy.” And that is why I love these guys – because when it comes down to it, they are a band that knows what they want to make and as a result, are consistently making undeniably catchy songs. Not to mention, they are a great band live. Their friendship and clear chemistry lends itself to such an endearing performance. It is so obvious how much they care about the music and care about giving a good show for the audience. So go see them live. It is WELL worth it. Trust.
ps THANK YOU, Jesse Rutherford (vocals), Jeremy Freedman (guitar), Zach Abels (guitar), Mikey Margott (bass), Bryan Sammis (drums).
Also THANK YOU to Lauren who is mentioned in this article who held the recorder and let me write notes on her back and who is now just as big a fan of The Neighbourhood as me.
Also never forget when they covered Souls of Mischief.