Discover: Dead Neighbors
“a little bit punk, a little bit emo, a little bit shoegaze.”
“This band is also primal scream therapy for me, so I don't think it'd be healthy for me to stop any time soon,” Sebastian Marquez, the singer, songwriter, guitarist, & manager of the group said to me.
“How does it serve as therapy? What does it help you with specifically?” I asked him.
“I sort of forget myself. Like it turns into a form of meditation. People that work out a lot say that it's like the only thing that keeps them sane. It's like that with me at shows. I go totally blank sometimes. I've def kinda blacked out on stage before. Like I'll just kinda zone in and then bam, the show’s over. I remember it, but it passes so fast.”
In the last couple of years, a group known as Dead Neighbors has begun a steady rise to the top in Athens, Georgia. A unique trio, the group has re-imagined the alternative scene in Athens, merging the three aforementioned genres.
“My first band was called A Lot More Less. I started it in the dorms at [The University of Georgia]. After [spring 2013], our lead singer quit, but I still wanted to be in a band. So, the rhythm section and I started Dead Neighbors. So here we are with a completely new rhythm section.”
Marquez works alongside with Owen Hunt and Hale Johnson. Hunt serves as the groups bassist, agent, and “maniacal networking machine,” as Marquez stated it. Hale is the group’s drummer and newest member.
“Technically Dead Neighbors is ‘my’ project but i don't like implying that I'm some sort of do everything kinda dude. Without the band, I can't really do anything on the scale of what I want. Both Owen and Hale were fans of the band before they joined.”
Since the group was founded, they’ve released two full-length albums and a single. Their latest release, "Less," is a more sonically uniform reflection of their work thus far. "Less" is soothing, yet explosive with both slow and fast-paced riffs. “Sleeping” is the perfect example of these co-harmonious concepts. It starts so grungy, punky, and fast paced. Halfway through, the trio throws one for a loop, and slowly drives down the tempo, creating this hazy, ambient vibe.
While only 8 tracks, the album is filled with these addictive tempo changes that make it a true work of art.
“[Dead Neighbors] was very scattershot to me. ["Less"] has more of a unified or concentrated feeling to it that is reflected in my songwriting and guitar playing,” Marquez told me.
“What made the first one so scattershot?” I asked. He chuckled, “‘Ever’ was literally the first song I ever wrote. I had no idea what I was doing. ["Less"] is the culmination of my songwriting during my college years. I wrote all of those songs while I was a senior.”
The group has done a lot to define their brand, both on and off record. Just take a peek at their Instagram. It’s clear that the trio has been on the same page since the start and are clearly experts at defining their brand.
“Before, I would write the riffs and words in my bedroom then bring it to the boys for us to flesh it out. Now though, I want to embrace a more methodical and collaborative approach. Hale talked about all moving in together and to be honest, I'm into that,” Marquez stated. “I'll be the first to admit that I have delusions of grandeur and a borderline obsession with this band, but I guess you can rebrand that as passion.”
The passion Marquez has is certainly clear, and it seems that the only way is up for this group.
“It's all millennial fantasy and wishful thinking at this point but honestly I'd rather go with that impulse than being bored.”
Stream "Less" on Spotify, Apple Music, & Bandcamp, and follow Dead Neighbors on Instagram.