he Hot Zone spoke with Tyler Glenn from the Neon Tree’s as the band prepares to release their first major label album Habit’s. The current single, Animal, is working it’s way to radio and the band will be hitting the road with 30 Seconds to Mars in April. Tyler spoke with me about songwriting, how they came up with the band name and much more. Check out the interview below.
Can you give us some background on the band?
Yeah, we are from all around America. Me and Chris are from southern California, Brandon is from Las Vegas and Elaine is from Chicago. Everyone kind of meet up in Utah while half the band was going to school. I kind of followed Chris to continue playing music with him. Kind of a distraction from school. We just put a lot of time into it and now we are getting ready to release the record.
How would you best describe your music to someone who wasn’t familiar with you?
Its definitely pop music but I’d say it’s close to soul/punk/pop if I was to make up a genre. We draw a lot from the energy of punk music but with the soul of old R&B and Motown and then def pop/rock music.
Who do you consider some of the bands top musical influences?
Direct influences I think we try to capture the bravura of like Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson and that with the snarkiness of Morrissey and the rock sensibility of a lot of 70’s glam.
The band name is very interesting how did you come up with the Neon Trees?
The Neon Trees was actually the name of a group of my friends. We were sitting in an In & Out Burger Restaurant in 9th or 10th grade. This was before I meet anyone in the band. We thought Neon Palm Tress would be a good name because there was a neon palm tree at the restaurant. There is only a few at certain In & Out restaurants. Come to find out later when I meet Brandon and he joined the band; his father actually creates neon lights and his father had actually made the very light that I eventually named the band after. It was definitely this weird parallel. We definitely didn’t want to become a fast food rock band. (laughs)
Can you tell us the story behind your first single “Animal”?
Yeah, Animal. I always found that I’m not very good to myself when I’m in a relationship it’s something that I need to work on. Even though there is a lot of pain and drama and I almost ask for more in a way. I wanted to take some of the dark elements of that and put it into a pop song people could relate to. I think everyone when they are in love they almost always put the other person before them and in extreme ways sometimes. Its kind of, well, I was taking a lighter approach to that.
The new album, Habit’s, comes out March 16th can you tell us a little more about the record and do you have a favorite track off of it?
Habits is; well the theme is about the habit’s we obtain when in relationships; from family and friends and then romance and the way develop these characteristics and take them on to our other relationships. So each song is basically about that and the way we communicate and the way we talk. It’s an honest approach to living. The record is fun and energetic and its great pop music. At the same time if you wanted to put head phones on you can hear great substance it the lyrics and musicality as well. The favorite song I wrote is definitely a song called Our War I think it’s only because it is the most personal. It’s almost relieving to write and get some of those feelings out. It’s about the war of a relationship not getting into an actual war. Things that I found serious. It’s kind of (about) leaving, putting the past away, putting the past down. I think its something a lot of people can relate to.
Tell us about the bands writing process is the entire band involved?
I think there are a lot of capable songwriters in the band and I think we all contribute in different ways. There are times when a song will be made from a musical part that someone brought to the room or its sometimes where I competed a song on piano or guitar and I bring it to the band and we turn it into a Neon Trees song. It’s always different. I am definitely the main lyricist and arranger in the band but I think there many times in the band where it equal.
Is there any Artist you would like to collaborate with in the future?
I would honestly say I used to want to do a song with Alicia Keys but I think Jack Black took that a couple of years ago. I think Lady Gaga would be fantastic or the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s would be quite interesting. I think something maybe an artist from a different genre would be kind of cool to see what we would come out.
Are you out on the road right now or will you be touring soon?
We will be touring in April in May all around of American with some great bands. We are doing a bunch of shows for the SXSW that week and we are performing on the Jimmy Kimmel show, which will broadcast on March 30th.
What advice do you have for the aspiring artist?
Sure. I think honesty and integrity are so important. I have seen a lot of friends kind of put their creativity aside and listen to another person. I think it’s about staying true to yourself and your art and hustling it. I don’t think you will find Neon Trees talking down on someone to often because It think anyone hustling their art their thing is important. I think just staying true to that. Make your thing famous making your thing popular. Its mantra we go by same as that. It’s about creating your little world if people like it they will want to be part of it.
Wrapping this up what kind of goals have you set for yourself and the band in 2010?
We did make a goal sheet but I think the most important thing to us is to stay true to ourselves. We want to just continuing progress be a better band then we were in the beginning.