Arts Desk

Neon Trees’ Elaine Bradley on Pop Psychology and the Band’s Dry Tour

It’s been an exciting few months for Neon Trees. In their third album, Pop Psychology, which dropped in April, neon treesthe band brought unbridled enthusiasm to electric-charged anthems about love, identity, and evolving self-knowledge—inspired, in part, by frontman Tyler Glenn's personal experiences. Glenn came out earlier this year, accepting his intersecting identities as a gay man and a Mormon while in the public spotlight.

Neon Trees is set to play a sold out show at 9:30 Club this Sunday, July 13.  Arts Desk chatted with drummer Elaine Bradley about the band’s most recent, and future, adventures.

WCPHow’d you get into playing the drums?

Elaine Bradley: I started playing when I was a kid and learned a few other instruments. I got behind the drums again in college, and got stuck there. [Laughs.] I ran across Tyler and Chris and wanted to be a part of what they were doing, and they needed me on drums. So I rolled with it.

When did you decide that music was what you wanted to do?

I don’t remember a time where I didn’t want to be a performer for people. It’s something that’s always been there and drove me to do what I needed to do.

How does Pop Psychology translate to a live setting?

It’s funny—it really works live. When we went into making the album, we purposely threw out the rules. We said, “don’t think about how it’s going to sound live, just play.” This is the most mature and developed piece of work we’ve put out so far, and we’re pretty proud of it. It’s been really fun—almost easy—translating it live. The album has so much energy as it is, which just elevates our excitement to play it live.

What song is your personal favorite on the new album?

Oh man! I love them all! But selfishly, I’d have to say “Unavoidable.” It’s a duet between Tyler and me. I get to step out and sing from behind the drums, which is fun.

How’d the band deal with Tyler’s decision to come out?

It wasn’t too hard to accept, love and support. He didn’t change his personality. He felt like he needed to go public with it, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. It can be a polarizing topic, especially with his religion. It’s great to see how he’s handled it. He’s been so honest, human, and relatable. We don’t always totally understand ourselves, and he’s showing people that that’s okay.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Well this tour is ending at the 9:30 Club which is pretty cool. Then we’re off to a European tour, and we should be announcing date for a U.S. tour in the fall pretty soon.

How do you maintain a sense of normalcy on the road?

It’s tough, but definitely possible when you have a consistent attitude. We try to keep the tour as stress-free as possible, so we run a dry tour. No drinking, no drugs—it just makes things easier. We all know each other really well, too. We’re like siblings at this point.

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