• Why: Norman's The Neighborhood is among the most promising bands in Oklahoma's indie rock scene, and the chemistry and open-mindedness of the trio means it'll likely evolve and experiment in the future. The music runs the gamut of indie rock, from plaintive and moody acoustic stylings to full-on dance beats. • When: 10 tonight. • Where: The Conservatory, 8911 N Western. Q:What are your key influences? A:Matt Duckworth, drums: Well, I think that we all have fairly different influences and that's what makes the band good. Like Eric, you know; he grew up listening to prog rock and classic rock, whereas I was listening to a lot of folk music, like more song-oriented. A:Philip Rice, guitar and vocals: I was more Coldplay and Radiohead, focusing on vocals and more melodic stuff. Like Matt said, I think that's one of the strong points. We do have such a variety between the three of us, and then they're not entirely similar, and that's a real good back and forth between the three of us. A:Eric Mai, bass: We don't necessarily say, like, "Let's write a Coldplay kind of song." I mean, we don't draw specifically on influences. It's more subconscious. Q:How would describe your sound if you had 20 words to encapsulate what you do? A:Mai: I'd say it's, like, interesting and exciting and original, but it's still accessible. It can be liked by a wide range of people. A:Rice: Yeah, very palatable but, you know, not boring. It's almost symphonic. A:Duckworth: It takes the good things that you like about the popular bands that we listen to today and shakes it up, you know? It adds an element of experiment. Q:Where did you get the name The Neighborhood? A:Mai: Well, we spent probably like three weeks thinking up thousands of different names and didn't like any of them. And this was just one we could all agree on. I mean, there's no specific meaning, it just evokes, you know, home and kind of a warm place. A:Duckworth: Comfort. Q:What is your usual approach to songwriting? A:Rice: Well, most of the time I sit down with the acoustic guitar and write songs, or with the piano — really with the knowledge of coming in and saying, ‘OK, these are some ideas that I have, and let's just start playing with it.' And, of course, in time it evolves into something completely different — well, not completely different, but something that is from all three of us. It's not just me dictating. A:Mai: It's definitely a democracy. It just basically starts out like Phil said. One part — one idea for one part — and we'll lay it down and then something will be added to it and two weeks later something else, and ... at the end there's like 50 different tracks there. Q:Do you leave a lot of room in your live show for improvisation? A:Duckworth: We're definitely not into the idea of getting up there and jamming for two hours, you know? But I think what makes us different from some other bands, when we get on stage, we know the songs and we're very structured, but we're sort of in a place where, if something happens we can run with it. Q:How do you all feel about the local scene? A:Duckworth: I think that the scene around Oklahoma City and Norman is really, really great, and I think it has been for a really long time. The cool thing about playing music around here is that, there's so many good bands that if you want to be noticed, if you want to get your name in the paper or whatever, you have to be really good, because there's always 10 or 12 other bands around here and even in Stillwater that are just ready to jump in and take that spot. — Michael Senior
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