Interview: Boroughs

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“We’re very sorry about choosing a name that’s so hard to spell, we feel bad about that.  Actually, it’s not that hard to spell until after you’ve had a few drinks,” says Kyle Neal, lead vocalist for Boroughs, a band who’s currently making waves in the Los Angeles Americana scene.

It’s curious actually, to consider Tinseltown a hub of Americana and alt-country, but the community is there and it’s becoming, well, a thing. “It’s definitely growing.  I feel like a lot of times, that’s the way artists try to convince themselves of something that’s not true,” says Neal with a laugh. “When I first moved to Los Angeles proper, I realized nobody wants to listen to a sad dude with a guitar. That’s not what people were into.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed, you know, there’s always going to be the West Hollywood club scene, there’s always going to be weird slacker rock or indie rock going on, but we are starting to see more and more artists that are coming out with Americana and roots music.”

Neal, who began his musical career as a solo act, was growing bored with the solo gig, and thought it might be fun to start a band.  “There’s something about having, and I know this sounds cheesy, the whole brotherhood or camaraderie of a group of dudes who make something together.  I’d sit and think about direction, songwriting, and all these things, and I realized doing it alone was going to suck.  There was no one to share the victory with,” recalls Neal.  He gathered like-minded friends and friends of friends who also happened to be excellent musicians, and Boroughs was born.  “It just felt very familiar when we started playing together,” says Neal.

The band is about to release their self-titled six-song stunner of a debut EP, with songs like “Give It Time”, which Neal describes as a lyrically intense head-nodding toe-tapper, saying: “I wanted to move away from the trend of making the most depressing song possible, so I made a big effort to write songs that were fun to listen to when you’re driving around.  This one was me indulging that ‘write something that will hit you in the gut’ thing, something that’s an emotional experience.  The lyrical content is about something I think a lot of us deal with that people can relate to.” “Alive”, another upbeat gut-puncher of a single is, as Neal explains,  “about feeling like I’m living is when I’m doing things that are really bad for me.  It comes face-to-face with the fact that the only things are fun anymore are the things that are actually slowly killing you.  That one was a lot of fun to write.”

Boroughs is planning some regional touring to support the EP, and will be hosting a celebratory release show at The International Adventure Club in Los Angeles on December 4th; coincidentally, at the time of posting this article, the band’s Facebook page promises that if this show isn’t the most fun party you attend in 2015, the band’s drummer, Tyler Johnson, promises that he will kiss you on the mouth. So there’s that.

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Susan Hubbard

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