by Martyna Turczynowicz
The Neighbourhood is an indie rock group from California. They’re made up of vocalist Jesse Rutherford, guitarists and Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels, drummer Brandon Fried and bassist Mikey Margott. Last year they made a name for themselves with their hit “Sweater Weather” and released one EP I’m Sorry and their debut full length, I Love You. In between stops on their tour, Stylus caught up with guitarist Zach Abel for a quick Q&A.
Stylus: You’ve released three albums, Thank You, I Love You and I’m Sorry; phrases that get thrown around a lot. Was there an idea behind that?
Zach Abel: Those three phrases and the songs on the albums have a theme with each other. Those phrases “thank you,” I love you,” and “I’m sorry” are things that people abuse and overuse and don’t really mean when they say it.
Stylus: When you guys started out, you kept a low profile for a while…
ZA: At first, we didn’t want anything to outshine the music in any way. We wanted the music to be the first thing people noticed, not the way we look or dress or anything like that, just the music.
Stylus: Your videos, the outfits you wear on stage, are black and white. Can you tell me about the black and white theme you guys have going on?
ZA: We wanted something to really make us stand out. Jesse said “Hey let’s make everything black and white. Let’s take black and white and make it our own; so that people think of it when they think of us.” It’s something people did the fifties, it’s really cool to bring it back and make it our own and modern.
Stylus: You call your fans hoodlums, how did that start?
ZA: Every big pop or celebrity has a name for their fans. Justin Beiber has “Beleibers,” Lady Gaga calls her fans “Monsters.” We thought if we tried to call them “hoodlums,” it’d be pretty funny. Then it started sticking.
Stylus: Any tracks that really get people going?
ZA: Yeah, I really like “Afraid.” It’s a lot of fun to play. It gets a really strong reaction every time.
Stylus: You did a cover of Destiny’s Child “Say My Name” and Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River”…
ZA: We were in the UK, doing BBC Radio One, doing a BBC Radio One Live Performance and you have to do a cover. We were thinking of a cover to do and Jesse was like “Oh we should do say my name, that’d be really cool.” Then after we practiced it, it sounded really cool and we were, like, “Oh my god we should mash that with ‘Cry Me A River.’” So we did it and ended up really liking it and it sounded really cool.
The Neighbourhood will be at the Garrick on Wednesday, March 26th.