After just releasing on the most anticipating album’s of 2018, I was able to catch up with the boys in Boston Manor to talk about everything Welcome to The Neighborhood on their recent UK headline tour, at Thekla, Bristol.
ME: First off guys, huge congratulations on the album! You guys have given us a super solid album, AOTY potential personally.
Henry: Sick man thanks so much that’s great!
ME: So what’s the reaction been like?
Henry: Nuts to be honest yeah! Better than we ever imagined cos it’s obviously a little different, we just expected quite a bit of backlash but for the most part it’s been really, really positive so that’s great.
ME: Yeah, from everything I’ve seen on social media, everybody seems to love it too!
Mike: Yeah, I remember that day it came out; we were all just like really overwhelmed. I think that also we put so much of the past year and a half into it as well, when it came out we had this kind of release, but it was also just so overwhelming seeing all the reviews and people talking about it and stuff like that so yeah, it was really good.
ME: Well that’s good, like you said, and most can probably tell, it is hell of a lot different to Be Nothing, your debut, how were your nerves?
Henry: I don’t know because we were more buzzing for it than anything, we were in the mind-set of ‘if you don’t like it, then whatever’
Mike: Yeah it’s not like we’re going to change just because of the criticism
Henry: But I think, it was only the day before when I was kind of like ‘oh yeah, people might actually like this’. But I never really thought that much about what other people would think.
ME: Are there any tracks on the album that you probably won’t ever play live?
Henry: There are songs that we probably won’t play on the next couple of tours, but we can play every song live for sure. We had the live show in mind when recording the album. We were constantly thinking about how these tracks can translate with a live show. We wanted a song that can get everybody off their feet which is why we wrote ‘Flowers In Your Dustbin’.
Mike: yeah, and for the first time as well as part of the pre-production process we jammed out the songs to see how they felt in a live situation as well, so yeah, it’s what we had in mind.
Henry: I think that was a good idea really, in hindsight
ME: Yeah it does sound as if it makes sense. Any inspirations of yours when it came to writing and recording of the album? It seems as if you’ve taking some heavier influences for this album compared to the debut. I also get a bit of a hip hop vibe now again with a few of the tracks.
Henry: Yeah we were definitely listening to a lot of hip hop. I liked hip hop before I even discovered rock music when I was a kid. But yeah, just a lot of 90’s alt-rock and nu-metal and all that kind of stuff. Particularly bands like Deftones…
Mike: Nine Inch Nails, Korn , Radiohead. A lot of indie bands as well like Bloc Party. So yeah, there was a lot of influence that went into this record. Now it’s weird to see all of these things meshed together and come up with something that’s actually fairly listenable. Also, I think what was quite nice was when we were in the studio; our producer Mike Sapone would put on movies but take the sound off. So we always had that running in the background and I felt like that definitely helped us and inspired us a bit as well.
Henry: I watched fight club the other day for the first time since like, fucking high school. Now that would have been a sick one to have on mute.
ME: So what is the actual benefit of playing films silently in the studio?
Henry: Well it was more sort of like when we would have a bridge, where mike and ash would play all these gnarly and crazy effects and we would just be trying to set the tone. So, we picked a load of movies that we felt would have matched the vibe on the record and it just sort of put you in the right space really. But sometimes we’d try and sort of make it fit a certain bit, but it was more like creating an atmosphere I guess. So we’d have the matrix on and shit like that… and Eyes Wide Shut.
Mike: And The Shining! It sounds really pretentious but I do feel as though it did actually work.
Henry: We were isolated in this little church on a lake that was snowed in, in the middle of fucking no-where for a whole month. So, we were feeling a little ‘Cabin Fevery’ anyway. It was late night with all the lights down low. Have you seen Eyes Wide Shut?
Henry: Well it’s really good! It’s got Tom Cruise in it, don’t let that put you off though, and they’ve all got all these fucking creepy masks on so it’s basically like a cult and all of the imagery on that just makes you kind of feel unsettled.
Mike: Which I think is escalated by that fact that there isn’t any sound to it. It’s just weird.
ME: Oh no I couldn’t, I’d be gone, I couldn’t do that! So, the last track on the album, one of the slower songs on the album for sure. Was there a reason for that?
Henry: we wrote it when we were in the studio actually. It’s quite a personal song to me and I kind of wanted to write a song like that and we wanted to write a slow song for the record. It was very Radiohead inspired and we just sat down with the piano and started playing it. We started out with q kind of circular project where everything was just repeating. But that didn’t really work and we tried to just throw some things into the mix and build it up. We knew we obviously needed an ender to the album and we kind of wanted it to be… it kind of served its purpose, we wanted a song that would tick all of the boxes and have a bit of a cathartic feel about it.
Mike: and a bit of a classic feel as well like obviously there’s an acoustic guitar on it and the drums had been mic’d up to sound almost like a live kit and we just wanted to show that we were capable of that more kind of sensitive sound as well. So yeah, I feel as if it was a reasonable ender to the album really.
Henry: Yeah it’s a nice change of pace I think, like the album is so just in your face the whole way through so I do feel as if it’s a nice little release.
ME: So, the support bands on the tour, you familiar with them? Are you fans of these guys?
Both: Love them!
Mike: Oh we lucked out; we really lucked out didn’t we?
Henry: Yeah, we love these bands. Wallflower done our last headliner with us. They’re sound checking right now they’re fucking awesome and we listen to them all the time. Microwave, we met them last summer on Warped Tour and we just became good friends with them. And they’re like probably my favorite current band.
ME: Yeah I think they’re on the verge of blowing up big time soon!
Henry: Yeah they really are fucking awesome. Drug Church are fucking sick like…
Yeah I’m sure they toured with The Story So Far a year or two back!
Henry: Yeah! I saw them with Title Fight, a really, really sick band. Alright I guess it’s a pretty short tour, but when you’re picking supports, you just want to have a load of bands that you want to watch every night!
To check out the interview I had with Henry of Boston Manor, just before the album release click here.