The alt-rock scene has just about seen it all. Well, that is until The Neighbourhood came around last year.
The alt-rock scene has just about seen it all. Well, that is until The Neighbourhood came around last year. Raving about hip-hop influences that you’ve probably never heard of, the band merges that with a rock sound to form something that’s pretty unique and remarkably refreshing.
Music fans across the country think so too catapulting the band’s “signature” song “Sweater Weather” into one of the biggest alternative rock hits of the year. It’s a far cry from the typical alt-rock sound too with the band’s textural composition being a stark departure from the genre’s typical feedback-infused guitars and angst-ridden screams.
The Neighbourhood makes their debut at The National in Richmond this Saturday headlining a show. From a band that requests photographers shoot them in black and white, the imagery alone might make this concert one of the top of the year. Add in the band’s spectacular sound and you’ve got a “can’t-miss” show on your hands. We got a chance to briefly talk to the band in the middle of their crazy schedule about their upcoming show, sound, influences, and more.
Have you guys ever been to Richmond before?
We definitely have. I can’t remember if it was for a show or just passing through, but we’ve definitely been there before. Our good pal [hip-hop artist] Marcky Goldchain is from the area and he is just about to kill the game completely.
Anything you’re going to check out in Richmond or is there a tradition for you in each city?
I really try and see the most I can in each city so Richmond will be no different. Yelp has provided me with some great food places too.
Richmond’s no stranger to great restaurants so enjoy that. Now, if I told you the venue you’re going to play at here in Richmond has a hot tub backstage, what would you say?
Ha! The NorVa [in Norfolk] has that. We played there with The 1975 in June.
Well, The National does too. Oh, and a sauna!
That’s crazy. Yeah, NorVa has a hot tub, sauna, and a full basketball court down there. I love basketball too. That’s probably the craziest backstage for a venue we’ve seen.
How did you guys come up with the name, The Neighbourhood?
Our singer came up with it. We all come from the same neighbourhood so it only made sense. We knew from the get go it was the right name for us so we didn’t even mess around with other names.
How soon after you guys came together did “Sweater Weather” come about?
It was the first song we ever wrote. It’s come a long ways since then too. It used to have a rapped verse. We knew we had something special when we wrote it too so I guess we kind of always knew it would be a hit.
How pleased are you guys with your record I Love You.?
Very pleased. Time constraints were infuriating, but it was the best content we could put out for that time period. If we wanted to be overly critical, we probably would have made some minor changes here and there, but nothing major. The intro in particular on the album has always been a mood setter for us so that’s great. We had already released EPs, but for the album, we took our music from lo-fi to hi-fi and ended up writing better songs as we progressed.
Was there anything specific you guys were listening to in the studio whether personally or as a group?
We were listening to a lot of [rapper] Meek Mill on our drives to the studio so that probably had some influence.
I know you all have different musical tastes and histories, but how do you guys merge that together while writing a song?
We all know what we want The Neighbourhood to sound like. There have definitely been songs that haven’t made the cut due to the song not turning out exactly how we planned or not enough our sound. That’s just going to happen with so many influences going on though.
You describe your sound as “dark pop.” Do you think that phrase is going to stick?
Not sure. Somebody recently said we were along the lines of “folk.” I love folk music, but I just don’t necessarily see it with our music. We tour with a lot of bands in a similar mood as “dark pop” so I guess we’ll see if sticks.
In an interview with us back in June, Atlas Genius said they were really into your guitar work and sound. Other bands have raved about your sound too. How does this feel to have the respect of your musical peers?
It feels great. It’s definitely something we pride ourselves on. Those guys are really nice. We played some shows with them before earlier this spring. Lots of fun.
Any new bands or albums from this year that you guys can’t get enough of?
We’re pretty psyched about the Nothing Was The Same by Drake. PARTYNEXTDOOR’s mixtape came out this summer and that was great too. Also, Lovelife’s EP Stateless just came out at the beginning of the month and we’ve been digging that.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do with your new-found fame?
The Video Music Awards were pretty crazy, being interviewed on the red carpet and all. And there was something with teddy bears too that night…
All right, I know you’ve got to get going, but what’s one thing Richmonders should expect from your show at The National? I mean, after your hot tub adventure, of course.
Black & white. Lots of black & white.