By: Andrea Lara
We are back with another artist spotlight! Get excited for The Neighbourhood Watch. They are a four member band made up of Tyler Moretti who is the pianist, Wyeth Robertson who is the drummer, and brothers Tristan and Ethan Surman who are the vocalist and guitarist. From Toronto, Canada, these guys put together emotion triggering tunes that will leave your ears yearning for more. With striking vocals and beautiful instrumentals, The Neighbourhood Watch is definitely someone to add into your next playlist. The band has over 70,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and is paired with many other big indie artists on Spotify playlists. They released their new album, “Lost in Bloom” last month which includes ten songs. I was fortunate enough to speak with two of the band members and here is all you want to know:
How would you describe your sound?
Ethan: Alt/rock/indie/choose your own adventure.
Tristan: It’s indie rock with a little bit of folk and a little bit of RnB on either end.
Tell me briefly about the band and how you came together?
Tristan: We didn’t come together as a band until after the first record was released. I think for a very long time this band was just something fun to do after school with our friends. The first time that we ever jammed, like literally what happened was, I wasn’t very good friends with Tyler or Wyeth yet, but they were kind of screwing around sometimes on some instruments. I invited them over to my place, said, “Yo let’s jam.” So we just hung out for the afternoon and in that day we recorded what is the earliest versions of both “Benjamin” and “AA.” After that, we kept doing it like that and the first shows that we played as The Neighbourhood Watch really weren’t in venues of any sort. We would have parties at our place and whether it was around the campfire or playing “Walking on the Water“ for the people at the party, or improvising for 20 people who were sitting in the jam room all cramped in there late at night, that was the kind of music that we were making. We were making it for each other. We didn’t design it to be recorded in a studio, we just recorded it on our phones and showed our friends. I think that’s, to be honest, where the heart of our music comes from is the fact that especially that first record, was never meant to be sings recorded, to be played in a stadium or anything along those lines. There was so much joy in it. I think that that’s why it also really kind of communicates this coming of age piece because like my friend Christian who actually did the first album cover art always said, “those songs were the soundtrack of that year of high school.”
What do you think is the first thing a new listener will notice about your music?
Ethan: Tristan’s sexy, sexy vocals, man. I think people honestly will immediately feel the natural, raw kind of feeling and energy of the music. I know that especially nowadays when you’re on Spotify and things come up through your playlist, there’s just a lot of really produced stuff and electronic stuff. But the stuff that really stands out to me about our music and that makes it unique is just the fact that it is kind of like four guys in a room just playing our instruments and doing it because we enjoy it and love it. I think you can feel that in the music, you know, like it doesn’t feel overly produced. There is just a raw kind of emotion and I think a lot of that comes through with Tristan’s vocal performance and just in the fact that were really trying to capture a moment in the studio. Most of our songs are one take and one performance, therefore one moment that has been captured and so I think that resonates with people in a specific way.
What kind of things give you the inspiration to create and write your music?
Tristan: Well, you know, when I was a kid, whenever I would be throwing a temper tantrum, my mother would always just tell me to go upstairs and play my guitar. I think with any sort of negative emotion that I have, I have the same coping mechanism even now, whether it’s a breakup or a friend breaking off the relationship with me or a roommate kicking me out, or just feeling anxious about work, or weird about something that I said earlier, or someone else said earlier, or, you know, my parents splitting up or whatever, any of these hard things, they really do get channeled directly into that. I write on my guitar or on the piano or whatever, like the inspiration points. It’s a reservoir for all of the dark emotions that I have and turn it into music. It’s the outlet, it’s the catharsis, it’s the pathway. I’m really lucky that I’ve found a way to use art as catharsis because it helps me be more emotionally adjusted in other parts to my life.
Ethan: I’m so on the other side of the coin. Like often yeah, if I have a bad emotion, you know, a breakup or whatever, like all of these things I want to put into music, but I feel like so often I just love the idea of making music that makes people feel things and like make people feel happy. Honestly, a lot of the time, hearing somebody pull up and sing the chorus of something and they’re like, “Yo, this just feels super good.” The feeling of creating that, you know, like listening to my favorite artists and feeling the inspiration from those people and then feeling like we can learn from them and build upon what they’ve done in an interesting way is something that is really fueling and motivating to me. Creating something that is original and hopefully unique, and I think that the combination and the collaboration there is definitely what creates our sound. The fact that we all have different motivations for doing it, but also all have the same motivation. We all want to make music, have fun, and create stuff.
What would you like to tell your fans?
Ethan: I’ll just say that I am so grateful for everyone who supports us, pushes us, listens to our music and actually really cares about what we do and has given us the support over the years. It gives us a lot of hope to keep making music. We love you for listening because we just do it out of passion and not for any other reason. It means a lot that people really enjoy it and feel that passion that we feel when we are making it and when they are listening to it.
Tristan: When you asked that question, I started to think about what the core theme of this new album is and what I want people to know: Love is work but it’s worth it.
With charming insight from the Surman brothers, it is clear that their band is meant for nothing but enjoyment. They enjoy their part and also make it to where their listeners are satisfied as well. Their newest album is full of good vibes, vibrant energy, and passion. Take it easy and fall into a “Lost in Bloom” trance.
Love out of Tune
Go listen to their two favorite songs, along with the rest of their new album!