Houston Music

Artist of the Week: Neon Collars

Each Wednesday Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to [email protected]

Lately, there seem to be more and more bands in Houston producing such a wide and eclectic array of sounds that categorizing them (Jazz, polka, metal, etc) is frustratingly impossible. Inevitably, they make you end up saying stuff like, "They sound like X, but with a hint of Y's grumbly guitar-work and Z's pop-sass" and sounding like a complete buffoon. Neon Collars is one of those bands.

They're a bubbly quintet that has amassed a strong following over the course of just a few months. This is usually the part where we describe why their sound is good, but since they've effectively nullified that part of our job, we'll just go ahead and jump to the interview and let you listen for yourself.

After the jump, read about how Erykah Badu *totally told them she's in love with us, how everyone is apparently trying to force their hand into fighting with another local band and how they describe their describeableless sound.

*not totally

Rocks Off: Seeing as how you all just sort of burst out there, we guess the first question should be something about music backgrounds and whatnot. And please don't respond with something like "Oh, I've been performing since I was four." That's almost as bad as people thinking it's clever to call a Blackberry a Crackberry.

Neon Collars: Each person has a unique background, some formal and some less formal.

Justin, the producer, actually got into producing after sitting in with some friends as they worked on their albums. Justin has a natural, very distinct ear for music and kind of just began messing around with some stuff.

Carlos Miguel Conway, bass, sort of has a similar story. He became interested in learning a new skill (playing the bass) so he began practicing and learning and over the course of a couple of years he had learned to play the bass.

Franchelle, vocalist, just has the raw talent. She opens her mouth and music comes out. No more to say about that. God given.

Eddie Moore, keys, studied music at TSU for the love of it.

Ikeche plays the bass and the drums, and also studied at TSU.

Denis Cisneros, lead guitarist - music just runs in his blood. No formal study or training, he just is.

RO: Cool. You all opened for Badu, right? Did she say anything about us?

NC: No, she didn't say anything about you that we can remember but we were so excited to be there, we may have missed it.

RO Seriously, when can we expect some new Neon Collars music? The Chasing Strange EP was loaded with potential.

NC: Neon Collars is currently in the studio working on their album with no set goal in mind as far as time frame for finishing their album; the luxury of being independent. When it's finished and it's right, it will be released.

RO: Listening to/looking at vocalist Franchelle Lucas, we can't help but think about Asli Omar from The Tontons. Would you care to say something inflammatory about her or the band? That kind of stuff always makes for good fodder.

You should make it totally unreasonable though. Like, you should question her street credibility ala 50 to Lil' Wayne. Say stuff like "She's not down for the hood" and "The Tontons are studio gangsters."

NC: [laughs] The Tontons... funny. That is a comparison that happens often, and people want so badly for there to be words exchanged. We guess it's the fact that both front women are petite with short hair. Other than that, don't really understand the whole comparison. The sound is different. The Tontons are a vey talented band and we wish them much success. Sorry. No 50-to-Lil-Wayne-type stuff here.

RO: Agreed. They do sound completely. Do people really want there to be trouble between the two? We were just joking around.

NC: It seems like people want us to go head to head and battle it out, always making the comparison. It has been mentioned several times at random.

RO: When you guys start getting real famous, how should us witty music writers classify your music? We feel like we're going to end up coming up with some assholey term to try and capture all of it is that you all do, like "Futuro-Earth-Pop Rock" or whatever.

NC: As far as sound for all you "witty music writers," you decide. We aren't going for a sound, genre, or box to be put in. We are going for a feeling. Music for the sake of music, so classify it as you please. We hope, however you classify it, it will just be good.

RO: Great. So now We're an asshole. Thanks.

NC: [smiles] No response.

See Neon Collars online at www.myspace.com/neoncollars and follow them http://twitter.com/theneoncollars.

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Shea Serrano