The Neighbourhood, Rock n Roll’s Next Icons

The Neighbourhood can be looked at as an overnight success. Their infectious single, “Sweater Weather” took over the alternative airwaves in 2012, and officially went double platinum this year. Since releasing their first full length album, I Love You in 2013, The Neighbourhood have been on a non stop rock adventure playing shows across the globe.
SWIFT ONES Caught up with frontman, Jesse Rutherford and guitarist, Zach Abels in Toronto to talk about their journey thus far and their journey to becoming the biggest band in the world.

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When Sweater Weather was first released on the radio, there was virtually no information about The Neighbourhood online. Why was it important to stay so “mysterious” in the beginning?

Jesse Rutherford: It was definitely a conscious thing, but it wasn’t like we were betting things off. Honestly, there was nothing to know about us. We were nobody. None of us had been in other old bands, there wasn’t really any dirt to find out, we were fuckin’ 5 kids from the suburbs of California that were like, yeah, we’re just buds who thought of a cool idea.

Zach Abels: Yeah, it wasn’t like, “Oh it would be so cool to be so mysterious”, It was more of- we just wanted the music to speak for itself at first before everything else was attached with it.

Jesse:  We still had a band member who was in high school when we got a record deal and that song came out…..I don’t think everyone was ready to be like, “alright! Cameras, music videos! like stages, even.

Zach: Like this interview, at first when you threw me into it, I probably wouldn’t have been as comfortable as I am now.

What are some of the pros and cons that have come along with your quick success?

Jesse: It’s not like we were Justin Bieber young when it happened, that’s when it’s like, you get to this age now (22 years), and you’re socially inept and you’re a fucking weirdo. Luckily we made it past there.

What was the first big purchase you made?

Zach: I think it was the same thing for me and Jesse. A car.

Jesse:  I got an Escalade.

Zach: I got a Mercedes.

You guys are from California. I’m not sure if you know the bar, Sayers in Los Angeles?

Jesse: Yeah, we played there once!

The cover band plays some of your music. How do you feel when you hear someone covering one of your songs?

Jesse: I don’t really like listening to them. They make me really nervous. It’s like American Idol to me, and that shit freaks me out. Watching people do that is really nerve racking for me. And when it’s our own song…

You’re judgmental?

Well, I don’t want to be, because that’s not really fair. And I want to think of it in the way that, “Yo dude, someone is covering one of your songs, that’s amazing!” And it is. And that’s how I leave it, and that’s how I really do feel about it, it’s just hard for me to watch it. I’ve had people ask if they can sing one of our songs in front of me, and I’m like, please don’t do that! I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re fucking brilliant but please don’t.

SWIFT ONES Names The Neighbourhood’s Jesse Rutherford a Style Icon from Swift Ones on Vimeo.

If you could pick one song that best describes you, what would it be?

Jesse: Studio by SchoolBoy Q

Zach: Another Space Song by Failure. Not even just lyrically but musically it connects with me on a level that I can’t describe.

What’s next for The Neighbourhood? 

Jesse: I don’t really think about short term goals too much, but I wanna be one of the biggest bands in the world. I wanna be a band that is actually important to people in the world because bands aren’t important to people in the world, anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there is a demographic of music listeners who have bands that mean a lot to them, but in the world, iconic bands do not exist anymore. Nobody cares about bands. I wanna make people care. I don’t want people to walk by us in a mall and have no clue who we are–not because I really want to be famous but because I want to do that for the band. When we were kids, there were bands who were cool and now bands are bull shit.

Zach: There are no iconic figures like Axl Rose of Guns and Roses or Slash. You see them walking around and go, “That’s Slash!” but any band that is doing well today, you wouldn’t recognize them if you saw them out.

Jesse: Maybe the lead singer. Maybe. But I’m talking like, there are definitely songs that you hear and you know but you have no clue what these dudes look like. And it’s just like why? what happened?

Zach: Growing up I loved Metallica and I wanted to look just like them, but now there really isn’t any of that.

Jesse: Well now, the modern day rock star is just a different thing. Justin Bieber who is the biggest pop icon in the world is WAY more bad ass than any band member you can name. 100 per cent. Bands are kind of dorks now.

Photos: Katie Sadie
Interview: Trishelle Esposito
Photo Assistant: Kimberly Harkness
Creative Direction: Katie Sadie and Trishelle Esposito (SWIFT ONES)

 

Lyle Lettau In The Land Of Lights

“I’ve been obsessed with LA ever since I was a kid,” Lyle Lettau says as he takes a bite of his filet mignon. We are having dinner and a chat at the historic Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, where Lyle has become quite the regular. “Even before I started acting, something always drew me to Los Angeles. There was one thing I knew about the city- all the stars ate at Chateau Marmont. I was 10 and thought I was a star, for no reason, really, and knew one day I would eat here.
The Degrassi star lives in Los Angeles in between filming and is happy to call the land of lights his second home. “Everyone out here has a dream and is fighting,” He says. “And even though there are millions of people fighting for the exact same thing, in the exact same city, people still give everything they have for a chance at their dream. It’s beautiful.”

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Who are some of your icons?

Quentin Tarantino is a huge icon to me. Every time I watch one of his movies I get lost. Movies don’t do that much anymore- completely absorb you into a different world. Movies are all about target audiences & what will make a shit load of money- which makes sense, but they’ll never be iconic. No one does it like Quentin. Marilyn Monroe has always intrigued me. I really like her poetry. Also, Andy Warhol. He made pop culture his bitch. 

What would be your dream role?

Playing Patrick Bateman would be really cool. OH! Mickey Knox too! Yeah. Make me a serial killer. 

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

I watch a lot of reality shows. I feel like reality shows are so simple & you can do other things while watching them because you don’t really have to pay attention. A lot of wedding shows. Oh god. So many wedding shows. I don’t even like weddings. ugh. 

What television shows did you grow up watching?

I think one of my first words was “Bundy”. My dad watched “Married With Children” every day. It’s still my favorite sitcom to this day. Also; Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Buffy + Angel 4ever), Three’s Company, & Are You Afraid of The Dark?

What music are you currently listening to?

I’ve been listening to a 90′s girl punk rock band called Bikini Kill, I just got their album “Pussy Whipped” & it’s rad. Speaking of riot girl bands, Bratmobile is really good. When i’m not being an ‘angsty’ teen from the 90′s, i’m listening to Lana Del Rey. 

If you weren’t an actor what would you be?

Funeral Director.

What do you enjoy most about being on Degrassi?

Degrassi will always be special to me. It was the first show i said “i’m going to be on that show”, & i did it. It feels great being a part of a family that has had generation after generation. Not many shows have that.

What has changed the most in your life since being on Degrassi?

Everything has changed. Not just because of Degrassi, but I started the show when I was 16. I’m going to be 20 this year. Those four years feel like a decade. People tell me they don’t even recognize me anymore. I don’t even recognize me. 

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Photos: Katie Sadie
Creative Direction: Katie Sadie and Trishelle Esposito (SWIFT ONES)
Location: Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California
Interview: Trishelle Esposito 

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