We’ve only seen the beginning of this band, mark my words. With jumping, powerful melodies, strong beats, and a invigoratingly tight blend of vocals, The Neighbors proves conclusively that brother-sister songwriting duos aren’t all incredibly lame. Adam and Rachel Kaiser, both singers and both songwriters in Provo, UT, have been working on their first album, and the singles they’ve released give us enough reason to be impatient for more. Music critics nowadays generally lament that there’s nothing new under the sun, but The Neighbors seems to like pushing that envelope, if not by complete iconoclasm, then through eclectic and courageous synthesis. Nothing is held back, giving us all hope that there is more to say yet in Western pop music. The Neighbors graciously accepted some interview questions so we could get to know them a little better. If you’re interested in their tunes (and why wouldn’t you be?) be sure to vote for them (every day) at the battle of the bands mentioned at the end of the interview. Highly recommended.
So are you two from Utah or Michigan originally?
ADAM: We are originally from the township of Frederic, Michigan; it’s a very small town in northern Michigan with one blinking light and a gas station. We moved to Utah November of 2008 because our older sister Sarah was going to BYU and she was originally in the band, so we followed her here to pursue our music career. We figured anywhere would be better to get exposure than northern Michigan. You can only play for your family for so long.
You recently changed your name from ByNow to The Neighbors. Why the change?
RACHEL: When we started our band we chose the name ByNow because we always said it as a joke. Example: we should be (something) bynow. After using this name for a while, we found it was confusing to our fans, so we decided on a new name, The Neighbors, which we thought was catchy and easy to remember, plus we are just every one’s neighbor. Also our sister Sarah was engaged to get married and moving to Florida, so Adam and I decided to continue our career on our own and start fresh with a new name.
Many of our readers might be wondering how siblings can get along long enough to write music and perform together.
ADAM: Rachel and I are best friends. We do everything together, we are very fortunate to get along as well as we do… we very rarely disagree on anything, and are extremely blessed to get along as well as we do. We both have the same goals and vision as musicians… we also love writing songs together and helping each other come up with different lyrics and melodies, which helps keep things fresh and unique.
Your music is incredibly diverse and eclectic. Tell us about your musical influences.
RACHEL: We love many different types of music, one thing that we think makes us unique is that we try not to mimic or copy any other musicians, and just write what comes to us… although we do get inspired by many different musicians and appreciate there styles and ideas, some of our Favorite bands are: Vampire Weekend, Why?, Gavin Degraw, 311, Rooney, Brand New.
One thing people might notice (apart from your amazing live performances) is your personal yet accessible lyrics. It seems that you have a knack for writing lyrics that actually communicate an idea clearly, cleverly, and honestly. Is this your intention? Who writes lyrics in your band?
ADAM: Both Rachel and I write lyrics for the songs that we write, and often help each other. The lyrics come from situations and emotions that we experience throughout our lives. When I write, I say what I feel and if someone listening to what I am saying can relate or understand that is great! Something kind of funny about our writing skills is that we find we have a very hard time writing love songs. Not that we are full of anger or hate, haha, I guess we just have a hard time expressing love. So those ones usually take a little longer for me to finish.
When did you start writing music, and when did you start writing music together?
RACHEL: I started writing my own music when I was 15 years old, I was inspired by my older sister who is an amazing singer/songwriter. Adam didn’t start writing anything until the Summer of 2008. I guess he was a late bloomer, haha, that Summer was when we actually decided to have a band, and is also when we started writing music together… we were very focused that Summer and came up with many different songs that we actually wrote together.
Your Reverbnation site mentions that you’re working on a first album. Is there anything more you can tell us about it?
ADAM: Yes we are working very hard on our first album! It will have 9 or 10 of our favorite songs that we have written and will be done this Spring, where we will release it on ITunes, Amazon and other online music stores! We are very excited to get this finished and get our music to our fans!
How did your faith influence you growing up, and how does your faith influence your songs?
ADAM: I’m going to leave this one to Rachel to answer, she’s the golden child, haha.
RACHEL: We really appreciate our parents for raising us the way they did, our faith has helped us to establish morals and standards that we strive to live by… Adam… haha.
ADAM: The only way our beliefs have influenced our music, is that we don’t write anything offensive or vulgar. Other than that it hasn’t really had an impact on what we write about.
What are your long-term plans for The Neighbors? Is this a career or a hobby?
ADAM: This is most definitely a career for us, we absolutely love performing, writing, being in front of people, haha, and everything else that comes along with music. Neither of us can see ourselves doing anything else besides playing music. We plan on going out on tour soon to help gain exposure, plus we love to travel and meet new people. We will also be submitting our CD to many different record labels in hopes get signed to one.
Any shows coming up?
ADAM: We have a few shows coming up. The first is at Sammy’s in Provo, where we will be playing with Truman. It starts at 7:00 on Friday, March 12th… and it is FREE.
On the 20th we were asked to play at a house party in Orem, Utah by some really cool up and coming bands in the area… this will also be free and is an open invitation. For more information on that show check out www.myspace.com/bynow00.
On March 23rd we are playing up in Logan at the USU TSC Auditorium. For Steven Halliday’s CD release, that starts at 7pm.
Where can interested listeners hear more about your music?
ADAM: Our main website is http://www.reverbnation.com:80/#/bynow, we also have a Facebook page that you can find by searching The Neighbors under the pages category, our MySpace profile can be seen at www.myspace.com/bynow00… also, we are entered in an online battle of the bands where the winner will get a chance to play at this year’s Warped Tour. You can register as a fan and vote for us by going to http://www.battleofthebands.com/theneighbors, and you can vote every day!