‘Neon Islands’ Tell All – What Happens On Tour Never Stays On Tour!

Having recently collaborated with Indie Pop band ‘Neon Islands,’ we wanted to get to know them having all come together from the same uni, how have they developed their sound since then? What has touring been like and what sort of mischief have they been up to?

How and when did the band form? What brought you altogether?

Neon Islands formed just over 3 years ago as a shared shelter between four musicians from different countries who came together to craft electric and fluorescent songs. We all met at university in Guildford where we discovered we shared a love for the same bands and a need to communicate our message to the world.

We love your sound and it’s clearly something we didn’t know we needed in our lives!

Pictures credited to Rob Blackham (Blackham Images)

How did you form the band name ‘Neon Islands?’

We are a cry for hope in the middle of a dejected culture, with all the chaos we are surrounded by we needed to create a safe and inviting environment where we could come together to create and be heard.

We started thinking of different names that might suggest this but finally we settled on combining our ideas and as a result Neon Islands was born.

It’s original and a name we’ve certainly never heard of before.

How would you describe your sound?

Flamboyant Indie Pop full of personality and style.

Keep it coming – we can’t get enough!

When did you first start gigging as a band and where?

We formed at the end of October of 2016 and hit our local scene (Guildford) in March of 2017 where we were fortunate enough to quickly build a very loyal following therefore we started to divide our attention onto opportunities in London as to slowly expand our reach.

Who wouldn’t love your sound?! UK – watch out!

What do you love the most about being in a band?

The best part about being in a band is having a platform to express ourselves and the emotions that are imposed on us every day. We enjoy exploring the deeper, sometimes more sinister side to life and exercising our right to be vocal about it.

We can’t imagine how much pleasure that must give you all to have a platform that large to really give you the power to shout about what you want. You have the power to educate people.

How would you describe your look?

We go for an alternative aesthetic that combines fashion elements from both the ‘New Romantics’ and ‘Teddy Boy’ movements.

Never change – we’re suckers for this look!

Pictures credited to Rob Blackham (Blackham Images)

Why do you choose to wear T.U.K.?

We’ve been following the brand for a while now especially since some of our favourite artists/bands (The Hunna, Green Day and Wolf Alice) have worked with the company in the past. Other than being very appealing aesthetically, the alternative branding, company values and heavy connection to the music industry just felt like a real match for us.

Totally agree with that statement – you all embrace the same charactertistics as T.U.K so go, spread the love of creeper sneakers and men’s creepers!

What’s a typical day like for you as a band?

It depends on the sort of day we have ahead but nine times out of ten it starts with us packing an insane amount of equipment into some mode of transport and squeezing ourselves into it.

Everyone plays a different role in the band but we all do a bit of everything so no matter where we’re going one of us takes care of content for socials, another will be on emails and any relevant paperwork for the day, one person is in charge of recording and snapping any professional material we can use for promos and another is on car tunes and promo.

Share the load and it will never feel like a weight on your shoulders. Plus if you vary your work load and love what you do, it will feel like you’ve never worked a day of your life.

Who would you say has most influenced you?

The bands that we love and embody the most would most definitely be Foals, Interpol and The Strokes.

Keep that at the core of your music and you’ll continue to write great songs!

Who writes your songs?

It changes with every song. Sometimes we write a song together through and through, other times someone comes in with the basis of a track which we then develop together.

True band work at it’s finest!

What is your favourite cover song? Do you play covers at gigs?

Our favourite cover song has to be Isaac Gracie’s cover of ‘You Only Live Once’ by The Strokes.

Soak up the atmosphere playing that track!

Pictures credited to Rob Blackham (Blackham Images)

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on tour? Spill the beans – none of this ‘what happens on tour, stays on tour!’

I think it probably had to be spontaneously taking the decision to take an excursion to Berlin for two days to shoot the music video for ‘Edge’.

We rented an airbnb and spent from 6am till 3am each day filming around Berlin in the most horrendous weather. One night as we were retiring for the evening at about 3:30am, the equipment was away, the wine was flowing and we were all having a great time until Carlos had this mad idea of filming one more scene in the middle of the street… at 4:00am, 2 hours before we had to wake up.

We put our shoes back on, grabbed the camera and off we went. We found an abandoned shopping trolley on the way and decided to include it in the scene, next thing we knew Nico and I were very drunkenly pushing Carlos down the middle of a Berlin road in a shopping trolley at 4:30am as our crew filmed.

That’s awesome! The best ideas come to us sporadically and out of the blue, but it’s so euthentic and real.

Musical guilty pleasures (be honest!)?

It is most definitely something by ABBA but we’ve always been quite secretive about our love for Simple Minds ‘Dont You Forget About Me’, if you can even consider that to be a guilty pleasure.

You said it! It’s out there now.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you choose and why?

As a band it would most definitely have to be David Bowie. We love the guy so much we did a one off as a David Bowie Tribute band where we played a whole set of his tunes on the anniversary of his death.

We have to agree with you on that. What a wonderful send off.

If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?

As creative individuals we tend to find solace in creativity therefore it would be something creative for sure.

Finding ways to express yourself is such a talent. Brings you closer to people who need/want to express themselves but may find it harder then others.

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?

  • Don’t get discouraged​ – Things take time to build and achieve but hard work always pays off.
  • Be professional​ – Build yourself to a professional level, get advice, learn standards, procedure and basic etiquette. Always be supportive of the scene and your colleagues.
  • Put in the hours​ – Due to the nature of the industry you need to be sure you love what you do, be ready to say yes to everything and jump through hoops to be wherever you can. Be ready to clock in those hours when everyone else is asleep or relaxing.

There you have it! Dedication, passion and professionalism.

We understand you’re working closely with ‘This Feeling’ this year – awesome news! What else are you working on now and what should we be looking out for in 2020?

Currently we’re just finishing of a rather large body of work in the studio but you can definitely expect more high profile gigs lined up but also a few more festival appearances and a lot of new music with our first release next week!

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for you guys this year. We’ll be there supporting you every step of the way.

Neon Islands – Edge

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