The sun has just come out after a rainy afternoon in East London and it is streaming through the window of the Shoreditch studio where I am sitting with Jesse Rutherford, the frontman, and Bryan Sammis, the drummer, of Californian band The Neighbourhood.

Here, the all important question is being contemplated: what would their music sound like if it was an animal? Well, not so much by Bryan. "A zebra!" he exclaims immediately. Jesse takes his time, frowning across the room and murmuring "it's coming… wait for it please… this is very important to me, I'm sorry." Eventually we move on, still undecided, but when the question is salvaged later somebody suggests a frog. "A frog! That is badass. Let me tell you why it's a frog, ok. A frog is a creature that, like you said, could be in the water, or… they could be poisonous, ok. So they could screw you up." As Jesse excitedly runs through the other virtues that being a frog brings, Bryan laughs. "You did this at every presentation at school. I just had the perfect view of Jesse all through high school. Did you do your presentation on the rainforest? 'Well, the rainforest, uh, it rains, and it's a forest, hence the name…'"

Frog-like songs and an ability to blag their way through high school presentations are not their only attributes. The Neighbourhood have only really emerged this year, bringing with them dark, pop and R&B influenced tracks like 'Wires' and 'Female Robbery', and not so much waves as deluges of buzz on the blogs and the radio. The band are in London for a few days and the night before this interview they played at Birthdays in Dalston which, aside from being their first London show, was their first show outside the U.S.

We caught up with them for a chat about vinyl, vibes, California and mystery…

You let out the video for Female Robbery and then nobody really knew anything about you for a while. Why was it all so mysterious?

Jesse: It was just there wasn't anything else that needed to be said at that point in time. We were brand new, and what we were confident in, we were going to let the world see, or you know, whoever was gonna listen and watch it. So yeah, it's just kind of the way we do things. That's like… we wanted that to be the first impression of us. You see that, you haven't seen an interview, or picture… just an audio, you're getting the song with a visual, you're kind of getting a complete package of like, hey, here's our vibe.

Was it you guys who came up with the concept of it [the newest Female Robbery video]? It's got that sort of black and white aesthetic.

Jesse: Yeah, the black and white thing, we kind of, all agreed on early on, and that's kind of how it is, and how it's gonna be because it has a lot to do with our sound, and I always call our genre black and white. But yeah, the story, I mean lyrically, came from the song and what I had written about and what we had talked about with Zack and Daniel [video directors]. I talk with them so we're all on the same page.

So it was after 'Sweater Weather' that you guys kind of blew up, what was that like?

Jesse: Every time I go to look at the Sweater Weather video, because you know, it's exciting times right now, just to see how many views it's had or whatever, but I made a post today, a tweet and like, a facebook status update about how we just got to 600,000 plays, and it's just incredible.

Bryan: It's very humbling.

Do you think that being from California has had an influence on your sound?

Bryan: Yeah it has. It's weird though because we did our album that's coming out [in early 2013, we learn later], we did almost like half and half in LA and New York. Probably more like 60/40. We definitely get inspiration from like, California when the songs are written but when we were doing post production stuff in New York we kind of took in some of the culture there as well.

Would you say you have any influences musically? Has any other band had a big impact on your sound?

Jesse: Not another band, no.

Bryan: Not anybody specifically. It's more so what there wasn't. The music scene was like… not lacking, but it's not that anybody influenced us so much, it was we saw everybody doing what they were doing and saw this gap of stuff that we wanted to do. So when we were making music that we thought was cool and what we wanted to hear, it kind of filled that gap where we felt like something could go.

Jesse: The other thing that inspired me is fashion and colours.

What has your best tour experience been so far?

Jesse: It's all moving at such a quick pace it feels like, it's almost like they're all moulding together almost, so, legitimately, this is a bad answer but every night, in and out is better in its own way.

Bryan: One of my favourite ones was… I don't know if it's considered tour because I think it was the last show and it was in our hometown, but we played the Troubadour, and it was like a really good mix of actual people who came to watch a show and then people who came because they're friends of ours or family members. The whole experience was cool, getting to see all my friends, putting on a great show, thinking that we played great, having good sound… it was just like, overall it was a very positive experience. Probably one of my favourites.

Jesse: Last night was just like… just the more and more I think about how many thousands of miles away we are from home and people singing along, it's just like…

Do you have to write in a certain place or can you write while you're on tour?

Bryan: We haven't really had to do that yet, with the first album, we wrote it at home.

Jesse: Yeah true, to be honest I'm really excited to do that. I'm really excited, like I've been fucking with stuff on my computer a little bit but I always feel like rappers have like a studio but the way that we write our songs is like contained. It's not like we need big guitar amps and big everything to do it, we kind of do it internally. Most of the album was written in my bedroom. So, uh… but I will say this though, I do feel like I've sucked the creativity out of my bedroom. I was saying this to somebody the other day. You're talking about a place to write, I don't know, I think the road might be… we're experiencing a lot now, you know, before this I was kind of just a little guy who stayed in his neighbourhood, literally, and now I'm doing other stuff so we'll see what the next batch of songs sounds like.

You're releasing 'I'm Sorry…' on vinyl, aren't you?

Jesse: yeah, just now!

Do you think vinyl is still an important music format?

Jesse: Very. Not, in my personal opinion, not for listening, but for collecting and for appreciating.

Bryan: I think it's better. I think for listening. I think the sound quality is better. Sometimes it's just not worth the squeeze, in terms of… to get a record player now, if you want a nice one, they're very expensive. You have to get the sound system to be able to play that record, and you have to go and buy the vinyl. So it's kind of a hassle to get it all but, if I had the option of already having it all and being able to play it, I would use it a lot more, because I know that technically, the sound quality is better.

So what is the songwriting process like with you guys, is it just you, Jesse, who writes the songs, or is it all of you?

Bryan: It's different with every song. He [Jesse] could come one night with like, "last night, I wrote a whole song" you know and it'll be a fully finished song or it could be him and the guitarist hanging out, or he could have a song ready to go and be practising it and live someone does something different and we go, "that's cool, maybe we should add that in".

Jesse: That's definitely how the album happened. It usually starts in a bedroom, my bedroom usually, with me and the guitarist, and like Bryan said, when it comes to live we'll fuck with shit, and it'll turn out different.

Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

Jesse: Touring? Touring on our… how many albums would that be? Third album?

Bryan: Hopefully more than that, by then. Playing places I've never been to. Hopefully. You know, I haven't been to a lot of the places that I want to be.

Jesse: I see myself at the end of the bullshit. Meaning there's a lot of things that we're going to see and experience in the next 5 years, and a lot of people we're gonna meet that are gonna be great people, and a lot of people that are gonna be assholes, and I think by that time, when I get to that point, I'll start to be able to figure out more who I'd like to be around and who I don't like to be around and I think by 26, I'll start figuring out a little more, you know. Be a little less naïve, maybe.

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