The first time I spoke with the guys from The Neighbourhood, they put me on speaker phone in their car during the drive back to Newbury Park from some of the more "famous" parts of Los Angeles. It was a great night to be on the phone with the boys from the Neighbourhood—a night that was, for them, a surreal one. It as the first time they had heard their music on the radio.
I asked Jesse Rutherford (lead singer) if he remembered that night:
Jesse Rutherford: Oh yeah, of course. That was an awesome night. I didn't know that was you that we were talking to, though. That's cool."
This time, my conversation with The Neighbourhood wasn't quite as surreal. Instead of getting a rowdy car-full, it was just myself, Jesse, and drummer Bryan Sammis, and instead of using speakerphone, we're speaking face-to-face backstage before a sold-out show (one of several on their West coast tour). That aside, though, there were other parts of our time together that were distinct from our early interactions. Instead of excitedly tripping over their words, Bryan and Jesse's responses were measured and coherent, drawing upon experience rather than imagination. They're the kind of differences that one could expect, given the year that The Neighbourhood have had.
Last October, The Neighbourhood's first few tracks were progressively discovered and spread across the web. These were great songs, and the only clues as to their source were photos of silhouetted figures and a URL sporting a black and white motif that drove bloggers wild (BUZZ MAGNETS).
Within weeks, The Neighbourhood became the embodiment of "buzz band" (explicitly labeled as such by the very music blogosphere that creates such phenomena) (Hi!). Weeks turned into months, and writing sessions and rehearsals in garages transformed into performances in theaters full of contract-toting label executives. It's now been a little over a year, and The Neighbourhood are finally shedding "buzz band" label, transforming simply into a "band."
Names and faces long since revealed, the two songs that were perhaps the most significant producers of "buzz"- "Sweater Weather" and "Female Robbery"- are both radio regulars now. The Neighbourhood have now performed on multiple continents. The Neighbourhood have been booked for performances at both South by Southwest and Coachella. The Foster The People comparisons that used to be insightful have become clichéd.
By now, The Nighbourhood's "buzz" feels like it should be fading, though trying to gauge or quantify "buzz" seems like a pretty arbitrary practice (and a redundant one at that), but it's probably fair to say that the "buzz band" glean is well-faded at this point, along with most of that momentum. The Neighbourhood are now experiencing a whole new set of growing pains as they transform into a "band."