Next week see’s the UK release of Utah’s Neon Trees’ third studio album, Pop Psychology, an amalgamation of styles from their previous releases creating an open and honest album of lustrous alternative pop punk and heartfelt ballads all fuelled by lead singer Tyler Glenn’s intense lyrics, gripping melodies and appealing choruses.
The band will be in the UK to light up V Festival later in the month and headline the O2 Academy, Islington in September, we had a chat with Tyler Glenn about touring, time off, self-confidence and the impact that this had on the new album.
Louder Than War : You are a very hard working band what keeps you going?
Tyler Glenn: Touring it’s my favourite thing to do related to the band. There is something I really enjoy about being on stage that I can’t replicate the feeling of anywhere else. It used to be harder when we were in smaller bars and clubs, but I’ve gotten used to it, we can usually find some sort of space I can go to.
There is a certain level of comfort I found in my personal life and in my own skin that I really wanted to come through in the songs but I didn’t want the songs to alienate anyone I still wanted them to have a universal quality to them so I sort of started by looking at my longing for companionship within songs like Teenager In Love and Love In The 21st Century. I think I have always been pretty personal, I’ve never lied, its maybe after some therapy and turning thirty that it has translated more this time. Honestly it is the third record and there is more confidence with us as a band, and each album is a snap shot of our personal lives: with this current record there was a lot of facing of my own fears and finding of my comfort level.
While each of your albums is very much distinguishable as a Neon Trees’ release, each has a distinct and notable difference each time. What were your influences while recording Pop Psychology?
We wanted to sound like a modern band that relied on influences from the 70s and 80s. Sometimes I feel our records from the past almost sounded like we were paying homage, I wanted this record as a whole to sound very consistent: that was a goal. We really weren’t afraid to implement changes in the studio too we had some really great songs which we ended up dismantling and put back together in a really unorthodox way: such as recording on six different drum kits and trying to achieve some really special sounds. It was fun to put the record together that way.
Do you always enjoy studio time so much?
I don’t usually it gets pretty stale for me because I really enjoy being an entertainer.
You certainly show how much you enjoy the interaction with your audience when you play live. What are looking forward to on your next UK visit?
I enjoy that it has taken us a little while to garner a fan base in the UK and I like that there are strong fans there that are really devoted because the shows are really fun over there for me. I don’t know why the fans differ in each country maybe it is how people were introduced to us and how they became attached to the songs. When I close my eyes and picture our fans: I pictured them as people that really get what we say and I’m totally stoked that they are and they are there and they are enjoying it. I really enjoy and appreciate we appeal to such different fans.
Do you think that devotion and wide range of fans comes from your personal involvement in social media?
Yes I think so also we were blessed early on being associated with bands with strong and loyal fan bases but yes I do feel there is a personal connection too, I have learned not to be afraid and to be open with strangers and fans. I used to be afraid of losing the mystic; I grew up in an era where it wasn’t possible to talk with the people you loved in music. But for us we’ve always being open and I think it has been good for the band.
With writing, recording, touring and social media you can’t have much free time and what do you do with it when you have some?
I tend to watch a lot of music documentaries, you know even bands I don’t even care about, I’m fascinated about bands and their careers or those that don’t have careers or how they ruined their careers. Recently I watched the Freddie Mercury documentary it was fascinating and the Metallica one who I don’t really care for but loved their story and their honesty: anything where music can creep its way in.
Neon Trees Pop Psychology (Virgin Records) (CD, DL) is out August 11th 2014 and will be available from the usual retailers and iTunes where several tracks are available to download now.
The band is performing on the Futures Stage at V Festival this August. They’ll perform at Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex on Saturday 16th August and at Weston Park, Staffordshire on Sunday 17th August 2014.