Interview: Tyler Glenn on Music Inspiration and Personal Experiences

From the western plains of Provo, Utah, comes Neon Trees, a band whose name captures their essence – iridescent pop grounded by sturdy, organic roots rock – introduced on “Animal,” first single from their debut album Habits, set for March 23rd release in the physical and digital marketplace on Mercury Records. “Animal” at Alternative radio now, is up at the band’s newly-launched website, “Animal” can also be heard on VH1’s new show “Secrets of Aspen” on the January 31st episode.

Bicoastal audiences will catch their first glimpse of Neon Trees when they make their New York City premiere January 14th at Mercury Lounge – followed a week later by dates at Spaceland (Club NME) in Los Angeles with Har Mar Superstar on January 20th, and the next night at Rickshaw Stop (Popscene) in San Francisco, also with Har Mar Superstar. In between, Neon Trees will play back home at the 4th anniversary bash of Provo’s Velour Live Music Gallery on January 15th. Details on Neon Trees at this year’s SXSW (South By Southwest) Interactive Conference & Festivals (March 12th-21st) will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Neon Trees Tyler Glenn (lead vocals, keyboards), Chris Allen (guitars), Branden Campbell (bass), and Elaine Bradley (drums, vocals) – has its roots in Southern California, where Tyler and Chris were neighbors. When Chris moved to Provo to attend college, Tyler followed him, and they were soon joined by Branden and Elaine.

They quickly discovered their common goal, “to evoke a larger-than-life feel,” as Tyler puts it, “even if we’re playing to 10 people in a garage. We’re just trying to keep our feet on the ground and remember why we started doing this in the first place.”

Daniel: The accolades is starting to pour in, how does it feel to be positively embraced by this industry?

Tyler: It’s a nice feeling to be accepted, i think everyone likes that feeling. I think accolades from the fans and listeners and watchers of the shows mean the most. I love reading tweets.

Daniel: Who are your major influences, what inspires you to write and most of all, what keeps you motivated to make music?

Tyler: I am motivated to create because it’s when I’m truly happy. I love telling my story through words, and I think as a band we love to perform. WE LOVE IT. Our major influences come from all sorts of places, for me I feed off of daring and even brash in your face performances. Michael Jackson, Jagger, Bowie, Springsteen, Morrissey to Stiv Bators from The Dead Boys and Karen o from yeah yeah yeahs. I love true artists and people that hustle.

Daniel: Animals – cool video! I really like the lights in the vans, I think I’m going to do it in my own car. where did you guys tape the whole thing?

Tyler: That’s a viral clip and were happy people have gotten the spirit of the video, we wanted to try and convey the personalities of us individually. That was shot in the desert between Utah and Arizona. We herald from Utah and thought it’d be a nice introductory statement online. The official video was just taped last week, and it’s going to be fantastic.

Daniel: Coming from Utah, what is it like to suddenly being exposed to the big cities and performing at incredible locations and networking with so many people? Tell us one story about your adventures in this industry that sticks out in your mind the most

Tyler: Well we all come from bigger cities and suburbs than Provo. Myself and Chris grew up in Southern California. San Diego was my back yard, LA was my front yard. Branden grew up in Vegas, Elaine in Chicago. I love being able to spend quality time in New York and LA. Especially LA, it was really really nice to record and write a lot of the record there. We had a lot of time to fall in love with parts of that city. I think the thing that sticks out the most to me industry wise was meeting and performing for the label. 60+ staff crammed into this office, we had already been signed for a year, made the record, etc. Our team had been working with us but now it was time for the whole building to get to know us, and we performed like it was the last performance. So much spirit in the room, so many good vibes. It’s a business, this industry, but those moments are nice reminders that this industry can be very human and very comfortable.

Daniel: You’ve got a female drummer! How did that come along? How did all of you guys meet?

Tyler: Chris and Elaine dated! No joke, but after the break up remained hanging out through music. We were looking for a new rhythm section, and Elaine really vied for the spot. I was nervous about the girl musician thing because I never wanted to use some ones sex or race or anything as a novelty card. But she is a sexless drummer. She just plays with the best of any, and that is nice, and exciting.

Daniel: Any tours on the way?

Tyler: We will be playing a bunch at SXSW this year in Austin, and then we are pleased to be on the bill with Mute Math and 30 Seconds to Mars in April. The three of us bands are quite the ticket, it should be one epic show.

Daniel: What are your hopes for 2010?

Tyler: I really hope to get to meet fans face to face, I think that is something I enjoy about this whole thing. We hope people like our record. Its called Habits, it comes out March 16th and it’s quite great. I hope to continue to play play play, because we find thrills in performing.