It’s been a hell of a year for The Neighbourhood, especially for frontman Jesse Rutherford. After the success of 2013’s ‘I Love You’, putting out their own mixtape for free, and their upcoming second album ‘Wiped Out!’, it seems that they’re not slowing down for anything. As a young band (having only formed in 2011), it would be easy to remain Peter Pan-esque in their ways, but it’s clear that this album is an open door into adulthood, an acceptance of responsibility and a shining beacon of hope. It’s okay to grow up, kids.
Lead single ‘R.I.P. 2 My Youth’, from the aforementioned upcoming release, evokes an anthemic aura – much like that of ‘Sweater Weather,’ arguably the band’s most well-known track from their debut. It does, however, present a more thought out process of transitional behaviour – sometimes life gets in the way of what you thought you had planned out for your future. Jesse seems almost reluctant to leave his old ways behind, yet he sounds content with having made a song that can capture his memories so eloquently. “I’m not a kid anymore, but here’s a song to remember the memories” – cheers to that.
With ‘Wiped Out!’ it seems that the band have wholeheartedly embraced poppier leanings. Having worked nine months solid on this album, they’ve managed to encapsulate a mish-mash of genres within the body of work; and successfully too. Every single track provides the backbone of a story. There’s no genericness here and that’s what Jesse prides himself on. “Every song has a reason to be on there,” he says. “It was like, well, we have this song so we need that song on there”. For them it was a “natural progression for it to sound more approachable from a pop sensibility” and with this natural progression, The Neighbourhood now sound like a much more rounded band. “Opinions were stirred round the pot to find the right recipe,” Jesse concludes. “It was and is a challenge.”
“Opinions were stirred round the pot to find the right recipe,"
— Jesse Rutherford
Arguments aside, as a busy touring band most songs are written on the road. Jesse wrote ‘Baby Came Home’ (from the 2013 ‘I’m Sorry…’ EP) and ‘Baby Came Home 2/Valentine’ from the upcoming release while on their tour bus, with a beaten acoustic guitar. Most of the songs on ‘Wiped Out!’ were written over nine months in this way, although parts of songs were acquired from old and unreleased songs. “Zach had the riff for ‘The Beach’ for like a year and a half which he used to play in soundcheck and we diddled with it," Jesse explains. "It was a while before it became a whole song.” The first track on the album, ‘A Moment Of Silence’ is literally just that, humming, empty silence. The entire concept behind ‘Wiped Out!’ is, as Jesse states, “where my head was at the time”. “A Moment Of Silence’ isn’t only an entrance to his personal mind-state, it also represents an important time in his life and offers a subtle memoir to his late father.
As well as all of the craziness surrounding the writing of ‘Wiped Out!’, what the band did in the meantime between album cycles was also crucial to their career. ‘#000000 & #FFFFFF’ came out in November last year, and features a number of collaborations with the likes of Casey Veggies, French Montana, G Eazy and YG. They did it with the trusty help of Twitter and their loyal fans, but it was no easy feat. What they thought would take them three months actually took them a year. “I really wanted YG on the mixtape so bad," remembers Jesse. "I tweeted YG from the band account and asked our fans to retweet it and blow this shit up. Little by little we built that relationship up and now he’s on the mixtape, which is awesome.”
From ‘I Love You’ to ‘Wiped Out!’ and everything in between, The Neighbourhood continue to strive towards being at the top of their game. Having just played two sold out nights in a row at NYC’s Terminal 5 at the beginning of October, the boys couldn’t be more chuffed. “Although I was sick one of the nights, they were definitely the two best fucking shows we played all tour,” Jesse says. Hopefully their European tour kicking off in November will bring them even more success.
The Neighbourhood's new album 'Wiped Out!' is out now.