With the release of their latest single only a few days ago, I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with the band about all things music.
Can you tell us a bit about Neon Islands? Where are you from and how did you all meet?
We are from a bit all over the place. Spain, England, Malta, Argentina… but we all met at uni in Guildford, and we live in London now. We all met during freshers week at uni – we were so lucky to find each other so fast!
The name is pretty unique, where did it come from?
We like to think of the Neon Islands as the place where we take people to when they hear our music. When we play shows, we like to think we are creating a space where everyone can feel safe and do whatever they want for at least 45 minutes. We love how, depending on the night, people react to the songs in different ways. There is something so real about that, so pure. That’s what Neon Islands represent to us, and that is what we try to portray in our recorded music too.
You recently released your latest single, Moon. What does this song mean to you as a band?
‘Moon’ is a very important song for us, for many different reasons. Musically, I think ‘Moon’ finally achieves something we had been looking for. There’s a balance in this track that I think really defines our sound and how we want to sound like, it’s almost as if all our influences had aligned perfectly to create exactly the sound we wanted. Also, lyrically, the song is very relevant to the moment we are living in. It talks about long-distance relationships, and the challenges, pain and boring routines that come with them. There are so many people in the world now who can’t see their loved ones that I think could relate to the feelings that ‘Moon’ represents!
Is this a hint at more new music on the way?
Well, we’ve realised that the one thing covid-19 can’t take away from us, is the ability of writing, recording and releasing music. So we have decided that’s what we are going to be doing until this thing is over!
Who produced this? Have you worked with them before? What was it like working with them?
For this single, we went back to Numen Studios, to work with the amazing team there. After having a great experience recording at Metropolis Studios with the amazing Liam Nolan, we actually discovered that working in a smaller studio, where the time pressure is not that high, allowed us to focus more on the little details that define our sound. The team at Numen are almost like our extended family; such a core part of our sound! It was great to be back.
Where do you look to find musical inspiration?
I think we are all music lovers above everything else. We are constantly looking for new music, and I think that is so important for a band. Of course we all love some of the same bands (Talking Heads, The Strokes, Foals, David Bowie…), but if we only listened to them, our music would sound boring and limited. It’s so important to listen to music as a band too, and to share what everyone is loving at the moment. I’m personally obsessed with Do Nothing, Our Girl and Fenne Lily.
Before the world went mad, did you get a chance to play any gigs?
Absolutely! And that is what we miss the most. We’ve always been a live band. We belong on a stage, and nowhere else. Without live music, we would make no sense basically. I think it’s so important we talk about this. Gigs were such an important thing in our lives up until March 2020. I recently realised we hadn’t really talked about it enough. Creative people who are not able to do what they used to do anymore should be talking about the psychological challenges that come with that, and we should definitely support each other. Live music will be back. I have no doubt of that. But we need to make sure we are supporting our independent venues and our independent bands enough, to ensure we can all go back to work when it’s safe to do so.
What are some of your favourite stories from these shows?
We have endless stories from shows. Loads of them from sell-out shows at The Boileroom in Guildford, which is the venue that pretty much saw us grow up as a band. I once came off the stage in the middle of a song while I was asking the crowd to mosh pit, ran to the bar and poured myself a pint! That was pretty fun. But I think we all hold incredible memories from the sold-out show we played at KOKO, from the first time we played a UK festival (Isle of Wight), and also from when we headlined Rock the South in Malta last year – it was the most insane crowd we’ve ever had. I think I was more time crowd surfing than actually on the stage. It was Sam’s (our drummer) first crowdsurf too! Which was pretty epic.
What is next for Neon Islands?
We are just going to keep going! It feels incredible to release music again after such a weird year. So you can expect quite a lot more from us in the coming months!
Where can we find out more about you?
I always used to answer this question saying that the best thing you can do to support us, is come down to a show. But of course, this wouldn’t make much sense anymore. So the best thing you could do to keep in touch, is to follow us on social media, but most importantly to join our mailing list and so we can talk to you directly!! And of course, if you love the music, make sure you tell your friends and family about it. You can’t imagine how much that helps.
Anything you would like to tell us?
Thank you so much for having us, and stay tuned for more 🙂 And stay safe!! xx
And with that, I’d like to extend my thanks to the guys for answering my questions and wish them the best of luck for the future, and I hope to see them at a show soon!