interview by Sam Keeler and Bailey Vigliaturo | photos by Sam Keeler
Ne-Hi. This Midwest guitar-pop quartet has been on our radar for some time and we finally got the chance to chat with them this year at South By South West. Originally sprouting from Chicago's DIY scene, this band has since come a long way. This February they released their sophomore album, Offers, following their 2014 self-titled debut. We chat with them about SXSo many lines, hot dogs, and of course Offers.
Welcome to Austin, how has SXSW been so far?
Actually, really fun it’s been a really good time. We came into it thinking like…”this is going to be uh…” well, we were dreading it. A dangerous situation, but it’s been really awesome. Our schedule hasn’t been too rigorous.
Have you got to see anybody play?
Yeah! We saw White Reaper, we really dug them, and we saw Temples. Tamarron. Oh yeah, Tamarron, they’re amazing. Just a few bands, it’s kinda hard to get into shows, there are a lot of lines. That should be the tag line: ‘SXSo Many Lines’
That is the tag line; you just say SX- and add on whatever.
You guys just released an album, right?
We did! Like, one or two weeks ago.
What was the process behind that, how long were you working on it, where did you record it?
Oh man, it took maybe about five months to write it and we went to the studio twice, because the first time it didn’t go as well as we hoped. But, it did give us quite a bit of perspective, which is cool. But we finished it in March and we recorded it at home, at the studio in a neighborhood that we all lived in called, Ninball Studios. We just rented it for like ten days and tracked a bunch of stuff, it was really fun, and it was bike-able from all of our houses. We ate a lot of hot dogs! It was right by this hot dog shop, that was pretty nice. And Italian hot links!
You don’t like hot dogs do you?
No, they’re not my favorite thing!
I get it, it’s a Chicago thing. Hot dogs are weird, you can’t think about them too much.
What is the process of a hot dog?
Oh no, don’t- nope we don’t talk about that! It’s the process you don’t think about. Just read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.
Okay, okay…do you have any favorite songs off the album?
Yeah, my favorite one to play right now is “Out of Reach”. Everybody has been vibing off that song really well, like in the past times we’ve been playing it- this is the beginning of our really long tour- but we had some weekend things and short trips and that song has been going really well. Also, we’ve been playing older songs too, which has been really nice. It’s kinda about what’s fun to play, because we’re not really throwing our record on to listen to while we drive or anything like that.
Do you have any shows on the tour you just talked about that you’re particularly excited for?
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that’s my most looked forward to show. There’s like an amazing record store, and it’s the most wonderful place to play music. Total Drag, Shout out Total Drag!
How has the Chicago music scene influenced Ne-Hi?
Man, we talk about this- there are bands like this (rock music plays in near distance) playing everyday. Nah, there’s like a good healthy competition there, like we’re friends with a lot of the bands who play around us, all different genres, there’s a level of quality there, I feel like that is just hard to replicate across the country. It pushes you to keep putting out stuff.
Do you think it’s becoming a bit oversaturated at all?
I think more and more good stuff’s coming in, but the quality is still there. There’s like a new wave of new bands that you’re going to hear a lot about in the next six months to a year. It’s just an incredibility supportive place, everyone books shows for each other, and people go out to most everything and DIY venues. It doesn’t matter if you’re a metal band or a shoegaze band, or rock and roll, or pop band, everybody is responsive and vibes, and wants to bring up each other.
Describe the band in one word.