INTERVIEW: Ian Kenny of NGHBRS

In 2010 Long Island, NY based band NGHBRS released their debut EP called Hellomind. Since then the band has stayed in the estate of famous journalist and poet William Cullen Bryant, and recorded their debut upcoming album Twenty One Rooms which is to be released in the US on July 16th, 2013. NGHBRS has been deemed as one of the “Top 100 Bands to Watch Out For in 2013,” by both Alternative Press and Absolute Punk. They are ready for the release of their new record and the touring that is to begin this summer!

So you guys are from Long Island, New York, how did your band come together?

Kenny: We came together about four years ago, I guess all of our old bands had broken up around the same time and through the Long Island music scene we kind of came together. NGHBRS started and we jammed together a few times and tried out a few different numbers.

Your band is called NGHBRS, why is it abbreviated instead of spelled out as Neighbors?

Kenny: We decided to take out the vowels because we just wanted it to be easier for people to find us. If you Google “neighbors” with the vowels, a whole bunch of other stuff comes up but if you Google NGHBRS, we’re the only thing that comes up!

You guys have been recording your upcoming debut album Twenty One Rooms, and you did so in the estate of famous poet and journalist William Cullen Bryant…How were you able to get access to this place?

Kenny: Just through some friends, we were able to get access to the house. We had some friends pull some strings and that was pretty much it.

And why his home? Did it inspire your song writing?

Kenny: We wanted to do the record live that was our main focus, just do it completely live all instruments together at the same time. And we thought it would be awesome to move the studio into a house. Then we started looking at places in upstate New York and out East, but then everything was either super expensive or just didn’t work out in that timeline.  Jordan’s father works for the national county of Long Island, and through his friends we mentioned to them what we wanted to do and they threw out the idea of a place called Cedarmere. It was an old mansion that was turned into a museum that had burned down two years ago. It has 7 acres of land that the kids in the town of Roslyn were abusing, by throwing parties there and sneaking into the house and breaking windows. So his friends were thrilled to have us stay there, to keep the lights on and scare people away a little bit. So we kind of helped each other out in that situation and that is how we really got to stay in the house, but everything that came with it was extra. It was all awesome, super inspiring, it was beautiful with so much history! Which was really impactful for the writing of the record.

Who or what does inspire your songwriting?

Kenny: I’m the type of dude that writes songs through experiences. I shave a lot off of what I’m doing at the time in my life and it might not necessarily be intentional, but that’s kind of what I feed off of. Such as if I am reading a book or if I just saw a movie that touched me in some way, or listening to another band’s record; you know I’m hit emotionally that way. In the past year, we wrote the record and throughout that time I had lost a friend of mine in a car accident and there was a lot of strange dark things that happened in my life at the time. And through Cedarmere, I started reading William Cullen Bryant’s poetry when I found out we were going to be moving into his place, and all of his poetry was about death and nature and the cycle of life. And how everything results back to the Earth, to dirt and things like that. It really took my inspiration in that direction and I think even as morbid as that sounds, our record is the triumph over that adversity and looks at things in a new perspective, in a super positive way. Even though the house was a little creepy and dark at times, there was this overwhelming positive energy. And that is what inspired the writing of our record most of all.

Twenty One Rooms is to be released on July 16th, are you guys currently working on another album? Or are you only touring right now?

Kenny: We are kind of planning our touring, we should be out and about in the end of July when the record comes out. And we are writing as well we are always writing, but right now we are prepping for the late Summer early Fall touring. We are just getting this record into as many people’s hands as possible.

If you guys could tour with any band in the world, who would it be and why?

Kenny: I’d have to say a band called Mutemath, we’re like gigantic fan boys of Mutemath. We love that band! They are so inspiring and their performance is unreal! So definitely Mutemath!

NGHBRS Tour Dates:

July 19th Revolution Bar & Music Hall Amityville, NY

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