Happy days are here again.
Longtime fans of the Neon Trees are celebrating the recent release of the band’s newest song “Favorite Daze.” The uplifting, feel-good pop-rock anthem is the first track to drop from a new album that will be released in 2024. Ahead of the upcoming project, the high-octane quartet will hit the road for their Favorite Daze Tour next month. Their latest run of shows will start on September 15 in San Francisco. Along the way, the Neon Trees will make a highly anticipated stop in New York City at Irving Plaza on Sept. 25. Queens residents can easily access the N, W, and R subway line to Union Square to catch what is guaranteed to be a memorable concert from the returning group who made waves on the charts with “Everybody Talks,” “1983,” and “Animal.”
Charismatic lead singer Tyler Glenn spoke to the Queens Gazette in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, August 16. During the spirited conversation, Glenn talked about his current creative process, dancing over obstacles, and words of wisdom he would give to his younger self.
QG: Favorite Daze dropped on June 30. Knowing artists evolve as time goes on, it’s got a little bit of a different sound from what you guys have been doing for almost 20 years now. What was your experience while putting together the track? How did this song come about, and was there a particular muse or inspiration that you had?
TG: Yeah, I mean, that particular song and a couple of other songs on the upcoming album were birthed by the existential crisis of the lockdown. That real, particular time a few years ago just felt so different and so chaotic. In so many ways, my lifeline was writing songs. A friend of mine–a great songwriter and producer named Joe Janiak–we had created a couple of songs on our previous album and I turned to him sort of as a comfort. Right away, when the lockdown happened, we just started hopping on Zoom as an experiment. I think a lot of producers and songwriters did that and some people couldn’t hang. It just wasn’t their style. For us, we had a rapport and a little bit of a language developed. We would talk about what we were feeling for maybe a half hour and just have a chat. Then, we would take that feeling and go, “What kind of songs or what kind of artists sound like that?” With “Favorite Daze,” there was a tiny bit of a starter of a Joy Division, or a Clash, or in a classic sense like something kind of fast and spiny–a little bit of that New Order guitar side of them. Then, he started playing this sort of drop D, almost a sound from the early 2000s and late 90s…the alt-rock, almost even pop-punk riffs in the chorus.
It was this juxtaposition of these really fast-sounding verses and this energy, and I was just ranting. I had written the lyrics almost like poetry, and I’d had a stream of consciousness. Not fully, but in many ways, a lot of those pieces evolved from being a poem into verses. It just fits the energy of the verses. I love the juxtaposition of this really open, almost pop-punk version of Neon Trees. If Neon Trees were to approach that space, what would it sound like? Also feeling free to use some modern elements, like a trap drum, which I’ve always waded in the pool of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
QG: Absolutely. It’s hard not to hear that.
TG: The post-punk and new wave scene, that’s my heart and my jam. I like using modern elements and I think it’s sprinkled throughout our records, but I’m less afraid of what all that means. I think a lot of listeners and artists are as well. There’s way more freedom to play in different genres, so to me, it didn’t feel like it was too kitschy or weird. It just all fit and it was a demo for two years. It was probably one of the last songs we recorded because I always kept coming back to it. I was just like, “Can we put this in now?” It just feels immediate and even if we’re not gonna throw in a huge marketing fund to make it a big, bonafide jam–let’s put it out. It just feels like something kind of urgent, and a great way to start where I am, and where (the Neon Trees) are currently. It’s a taste of what the sound of the record is, and I love the freedom in a lot of the lyrics that I’ve been able to express. I hope people like it…I’m getting a sense a lot of people like it. I always want to have something fresh when we’re putting out new material. And I think this is doing that trick with it still sounding familiar in our repertoire. It does sound different to me, which is nice.
QG: The music video caught my eye, and the sound always catches my ear. Very interesting about thinking of the lyrics as poetry–I also think you’re a poet on the dance floor, as well. That’s what drew me to the live shows. We are all very excited to see you back in that atmosphere. I know it’s been challenging for everyone over the past couple of years. As far as creating these live moments for people who have been following your music for a bit, how are you feeling about moving around on stage? Can we expect to see those “vintage Tyler Glenn” dance moves as I like to call them on the upcoming tour?
TG: Yeah, you will. I can’t even not do it if I tried if that makes sense. It’s such a switch that flips and although it seems like we’ve been sort of in the dark, especially in a public-facing way, we’ve continued to play together. We’ve done a lot of weekends and private events over the last chunk of years, which is great and it’s a beautiful side business for us. It also continues to help us flex that muscle because especially coming out of the last few years, it was really scary to sort of be told that you may never get to tour again. The narrative being passed around was not fun. For me, I am older than I was when I first started but that’s just how time works. I’m really comfortable in my body, where I think in past times I wasn’t. I love looking back at the tiny, skinny, underfed, ‘Iggy Pop’ version of me where you see my ribcage. It was cool, but I know my inner life during that time. It was very sad and unhappy. I think the only joy I had was playing shows and now I have joys outside of playing. I feel way more of a whole person so that comes out in my performances…but I can’t not high kick, I can’t not move, I can’t not dance, and can’t not do my toe dances and all that. Those are my kind of movements. That’s why I’m so excited about this tour. We’re going back to clubs and theaters, some we’ve played, and in that sense it’s gonna be that kind of hot, sweaty, rock and roll show that we sort of thrive in. I don’t feel like I look like a 40-year-old in skinny jeans, but we are older. I think there’s still this kinetic thing that happens to us when we get on stage. So I’m not going to make weird promises, but I definitely think you’re in for a similar kinetic vibe.
QG: I hear you loud and clear. If it means anything coming from me, I think you look great. I tell people all the time in my own life that I would never go back in time. We talked briefly about memories earlier: we have them, we live them, and we move forward with them. There’s always a whole lot to still look forward to. The last point that you made was quite poignant. To wrap things up, one of my favorite songs is “Teenage Sounds” from the 2012 album, ‘Picture Show.’ Looking back, what is one piece of wisdom that you’d give to your teenage self?
TG: I think that what I’ve learned, at least so far–especially in the journey of dismantling a lot of stuff that doesn’t apply for me anymore–I’ve found that I’ve always been myself from day one and it’s been the weird systems that are put in place to keep you boxed in. It’s been a culture that doesn’t apply to me or ring true, that gets in the way of who you really are. I look back, and in so many ways I’m that artist, that teenager, that angsty questioner that doesn’t take everything at face value, that wants to seek truth, that wants to express himself purely, that wants to dress weird to antagonize. But he also wants to be empathetic and kind and cares about the relationships he has. I know that’s always been inside of me, and I think as people…especially if you’re not totally made to fit completely into the mold that culture kind of sets out for you, you’re gonna feel like you have to go through a lot to find that space. I would tell my younger self that I was always great right where I was, and that if I had continued…and I think looking back, I listened to that, even though at times it felt really quiet and almost unattainable. That voice and that spirit have always been there. I suggest to anyone to always look inward and deep because regardless of what you’re told, I think it’s in there. There’s a lot to unlock, and a lot of power that you hold. I think we’re constantly told to outsource or seek outward. I think it’s good to really sit with yourself and realize you do have a lot of power and a lot to give.
Readers who are interested in purchasing tickets to the upcoming Neon Trees show can visit neontrees.com for more information. The concert is presented by Live Nation.
Photos Courtesy of Ashley Osborn and Live Nation
The Neon Trees pose for the camera. The band will return to the area for a concert on Monday, September 25 at Irving Plaza.