Sometimes a hit seems almost impossible to escape.
Like the Neon Trees song “Animal.” The song rose to No. 1 on the Billboard alternative charts over the course of 32 two weeks, the longest a song has ever taken to climb a Billboard chart. The result was an insane amount of airplay on stations like Star 102.5 (KSTZ-FM), so it seems appropriate that the Utah band is playing that station’s inaugural All-Star Summer Concert this week.
The band was thrilled with the song’s popularity, but the long lifespan of “Animal” meant they had to put promoting other songs on hold.
“Not to come off nonchalant or to take it for granted, because it was nice when it started happening. But after a while we were wondering when it would stop,” bassist Branden Campbell said during a phone interview. “The song just wouldn’t get out of the way for us to put out other music. We love for people to get into our songs, but it can be overkill sometimes.”
There is a fine line for an artist. A first hit getting too popular means it can be tough to ever live up to it and you run the risk of becoming a one-hit wonder. Campbell brought up the band fun. and the hit “We Are Young,” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” as having a similar affect as “Animal.”
Luckily, Neon Tree’s new album, “Picture Show” and the hit “Everybody Talks” have ensured the band won’t just be remembered for “Animal.” The song hit the top 10 and has already sold more than a million singles.
For “Picture Show” the members of Neon Trees weren’t looking to stray too far from 2010’s “Habits.” The band did reflect on its move from Provo, Utah, to California. The album’s title and several songs contain references to films and the film industry. The members of Neon Trees are all movie fans and try to make sure their tour bus gets parked somewhere near a movie theater on days off.
“I think putting on headphones and getting lost in the music is a great escape. Especially for young people, it’s like a sacred place for them to go,” Campbell said. “For us, cinema is like that. I get into a theater and want to be taken somewhere else for those two hours. Great movies make you think about your life, and we want our music to do that for some people.”
With frontman Tyler Glenn’s eclectic look, many are surprised that Neon Trees came from a place a straight-laced as Utah (just as many said the same thing about Slipknot and Iowa). But despite the Mormon church being such a dominant part of life in the state, Utah has had a thriving underground music scene for decades.
Unlike the other members of Neon Trees, Campbell grew up in Las Vegas and moved to Provo from California. He wasn’t sure what to expect from the music scene, but it quickly endeared itself to him.
“Going to Provo, I found that there were these transplants from all over the world, bringing their different styles with them,” Campbell said. “There’s a very unique underground in Utah, and you see this in other places with a really conservative majority. The underground following will be rather unique.”
All-Star Summer Concert
When: Noon-10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Water Works Park, 2201 George Flagg Parkway
Cost: $40 in advance, $55 day of show
Noon: The Spazmatics
1 p.m.: Green River Ordinance
2 p.m.: Ryan Star
3 p.m.: Hanson
4:15 p.m.: Matt Kearney
5:30 p.m.: Neon Trees
7 p.m.: Adam Lambert
8:30 p.m.: Train