The Neighbourhood Demonstrate How Music Isn’t Just Black-And-White
Los Angeles’ The Neighborhood might call themselves “black-and-white” pop, outfit themselves in graphic outfits of the same polar extreme hues, and churn out gorgeously darkwave turn-on tunes that combine buzzy California sun-drenched rock with something subtle and sensual, but when it comes to band relationships, they operate in shades of grey.
“We argue recreationally. That’s what we like to do so I think it keeps us healthy between us,” explained the vocalist Jesse Rutherford and drummer Bryan Sammis in an interview with Kevin & Bean this morning. The Neighbourhood roll with “a whole crew,” but the chill vibes in their music that one iTunes description called an “aural amalgam”(Rutherford joked that he loves getting “aural amalgams”) translate to their personal relationships. Except when they are jokingly arguing over small things like “Coke versus Pepsi.”
After two months of being on the road and getting into friendly fights, The Neighbourhood’s last show on this leg is tonight at the Fonda. Soon they’ll be embarking on a tour with Imagine Dragons whom they met at Weenie Roast this year after the other band stayed to watch their show. The Neighbourhood said that they’re looking forward to touring with Imagine Dragons who have been around “much longer,” “doing it longer,” and “should be much better” because every time they tour with a band they learn something new.
“We’re stern enough in our vision to be able to have room in our head to take certain things from people,” elaborated Rutherford. And yet, Rutherford himself was fluid enough to change from a prospective rap career to the eclectic “aural amalgam” that is the Neighbourhood. He credits their manager Kirk Harding with “changing their lives.”
“He helped me and all of us find what we have,” elaborated Rutherford. “I can confidently say that I’m glad I’m doing this and not rapping.”
But, in a way, it’s the Neighbourhood’s hustle-based aesthetically-focused marketing, similar to that of a hip-hop artist, that has really helped catapult them to success with a diverse array of music lovers. Their whole artistic concept, the dark and the light, stemmed from the music but was always a “vision from day one” where they conceptualized “the complete package.”
Rutherford jokes that he’s lucky he didn’t become a rapper because he sometimes forgets the words to his own songs because he’s so caught up in the mood. He recalls a recent show where a little girl was perched on her father’s shoulders singing all the words to every song and he wished he had her ability.
“Basically, the moral of the story is that I’m really bad at knowing my own lyrics. I’m horrible at it. I get caught in a melody and how a melody makes me feel rather than what the word is saying.” But, thankfully, loving the Neighbourhood’s music based on Rutherford’s ability to recall his lyrics isn’t that black-and-white.
–Nadia Noir, KROQ Los Angeles