Premiere: Nicotine Dolls Share New Video for “Upset The Neighbors” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Premiere: Nicotine Dolls Share New Video for “Upset The Neighbors”

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Dec 09, 2021
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NYC’s Nicotine Dolls are fresh off their debut EP, Sex, Addiction, & Everyone Else, released earlier this year. With Sam Cieri on lead vocals, John Hays on guitar, John Merritt on bass, and Abel Tabares on drums, the band shared the first tastes of their energetic pop rock style before following their EP last month with their latest single, “Upset The Neighbors. Today, the band is back again with the accompanying video for the track, premiering with Under the Radar.

“Upset The Neighbors” is a fantastically catchy return from the band, built around high-energy performances, a compulsively singable hook, and a surprisingly vulnerable core. The chorus will stay with you for hours on end, but once you dig past the howling vocals and searing guitar solo there’s a deeper and sadder story beneath.

The lyrics are all about two partners distracting from their relationship’s inevitable end, but the band fittingly plays their own distraction game by coating their vulnerability in irresistible pop rock. The DIY video plays into that same tongue-in-cheek element, taking the title of “Upset The Neighbors” very much literally. By the video’s end, it descends into a chaotic maelstrom of rock star behavior and hilarious stunts.

“This song is two people keeping veering away and distracting themselves from the issues inherent between them. I brought this one to the band feeling like it was right up our alley, big exhilarating sounds tied onto the inevitable weight of the topic. We went in wanting to chase the distraction part of the story, the fun, and the show. So, we take that grounding and then thought, what if ‘I believe in a thing called love’ by The Darkness was covered by a 2007 pop punk band? It’s always a good sign if these are the questions you are asking.

Our videos are the other half of what we do and we have a lot of fun making them ourselves. The goal for this was to double down on the fun and make something that didn’t take itself too seriously (like those great Foo Fighters videos). We spent two days creating and filming chaos in our friend’s apartments and it will go down as the most fun we have had making a video so far. This video is meant to make you smile and laugh and feel good because, after the year and a half we have all had, that’s what we all (including this band) need.”

Check out the song and video below. You can also keep reading for more from Sam Cieri on the song and the band’s creative process.

What is the inspiration behind “Upset The Neighbors?” What do you want your fans to take away from this video? What does it mean to you personally?

The inspiration behind the song was having two people that knew it was over. They knew they were not going to work out so they avoid the massive iceberg by getting very naked. It’s the distraction, it’s the fun before the fall. So musically what we focused on was the distraction. Its a high energy pop rock song about something that will inevitably end and is pretty depressing when you think about it.

When we went in to record it the question we had was what if Blink-182 covered “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness. You know you’re on a good path if that’s the question you’re asking. As far as the listening experience for everyone the goal was that it was fun and that you bought into the distraction side that you dance to it jump around to it and you have fun you have that escapism and if you wanna dig deeper you can it’s there for you to dig deeper and have that connection but if you just wanna take it at its surface that’s fine too. This song for me was a chance to stay rooted in the honest songwriting that we have always done while also having a really really good time.

Can you share a bit about your songwriting process? And what do you think makes a good song?

For me, I always have to start with something interesting musically so I am one of those people that works music out, and usually, I find it if you get the right thing makes your ears stand up. A good song for my two cents balances between being truthful and honest to the writer while also leaving space for anyone to find a footing and find something for them in it. I don’t write music just for myself. I write music for me, and for the people that are listening. And hopefully, it’s got an amazing melody that is rich and it musically takes you somewhere that removes you from whatever thing you were trying to escape from by listening to music in the first place.

How has the NYC music scene influenced the music you make?

This is always a really interesting question because I don’t think there is a scene. Most of where her music happens and how music happens is in your apartment. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or a good thing I just know that I’ve never experienced a scene as people have described it in movies and magazines. Most of the time in the city when you’re playing shows you’re stacked up on top of five other bands that I’ve already loaded out by the time you load in. No one usually sticks around or keeps in touch and it does create a void of physical community but I think that we have found our people and our community everywhere through the platforms that we use to communicate with everybody. Again that’s just my experience and I don’t know if it’s right or if it’s wrong.

Where/when was the video filmed? Who directed it?

This video was made about a month and a half ago and it was filmed both at our guitarist (John Hays) and at another friend’s apartment. For the most part that’s how we do everything all of our videos never cost more than 100 bucks and this one is no exception. Me, John, and his girlfriend Nyssa run a production company called OutaLine Productions and we make all of our videos this one included. I had a pretty solid idea of what this video was as I was writing the song so I went ahead and directed it myself. But that’s what we do we direct we edit we color we do all of that ourselves.

How have you been spending your pandemic time?

Ironically this pandemic hasn’t really changed how I spend my time other than I have more excuses to not go out. I like being home and working and writing. So it’s definitely given me time to focus more and look further into what I would like us to accomplish in the next few years. Which I think will be a lot of fun.


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