Neon Trees bass player Branden Campbell talks about the band's relationship with its fans.
Q. Lead singer Tyler Glen said in an interview that Neon Trees initially "produced our songs in a way that we thought would attract the critics and the hip kids, and that's not what happened." So what did happen?
If you goIf you go
What: The All-American Rejects and Neon Trees perform at Bendicitine University's BenFest
When: Gates open at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25; concert begins at 7 p.m.
Where: Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex, 5700 College Road, Lisle
Cost: $30; $15 for Benedictine students
A. Well, there was a combination of people that we ended up getting at the shows. When you start off and you're playing clubs and you're playing for a small amount of people, you think, "Oh, it's going to be all of these same music geeks multiplied." But it ends up being such a wide variety.
As the music gets out into homes and into people's businesses, it does surprise you who is on the other side of the radio. You think you are going to have people come to the shows and look like you and dress like you. But you get fans from ages 6 to 60.
Q. You're a band whose music is pervasive because it's not only on the radio or Internet, but it plays in successful movie soundtracks like "Twilight" and national commercials, too. A lot of times people know your songs without even knowing they're listening to Neon Trees. How does that affect your success?
A. I think it's definitely helpful to us. We're not looking for the street cred. People discover music through different ways, so I think it's totally fine.
I like when we do get the opportunity to do lesser-known songs, though. One thing that's important for us too is -- when we were putting out this new album, "Picture Show," -- we were getting requests to perform songs from our old projects. And we have rejected opportunities because we definitely are mindful of what we're trying to push.
But it just comes down to us getting behind what our music is used for. And while a commercial is great, it's not the only avenue for our music. So we try not to take it too seriously."
Q. Your band tackles some heavy topics like gender politics, vanity, longing and facing reality, yet the music on those songs is often up-tempo and dancy. Why do you think fans respond to that?
A. Well it gets the foot tapping and it's something fun to move your head to. It makes for a good song, but maybe sometimes takes the edge off what's being said and helps people think about it more instead of throwing it straight in their face. Candy-coating it, right?
I guess it would be more serious if we had a political message that we were really trying to push, but I think the heaviness comes from the human experience. I guess you could just put out another love song, but would that be as fun?
Q. You're coming to Benedictine College in Lisle in support of your third album, "Picture Show." What do you want fans to know about this one?
A. When we made this, it was important that we sounded like a band playing the songs instead of sounding like a piecemeal kind of deal. You realize sometimes it's easier to just have the drummer do their thing, then do this later, do this later. We wanted to have a cohesive approach and still have some of the ear candy in there.
Q. You've played in stadiums and on national shows like "Conan" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Now, this week, you're coming to Benedictine to play for a college audience in Lisle. How does a crowd like that differ?
A. That's up to the people, isn't it, whatever energy that they bring? Live music, I think, is a conversation between the band and the crowd, and so we engage each other. But really the crowd is going to get more from us when they give to us as well. We are happy to initiate that conversation, we'll get out there and give it our all. For us, we want every show to be special. Even if we know we're only playing for 100 people, we'll still give a great show."