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Q + A: Local The Neighbour

Melbourne-via-Darwin artist Local the Neighbour has released a new single Point Guard. An affably effortless outing from a
seasoned musician, Point Guard pays tribute to loved ones and connections as Local the Neighbour, aka jazz-drummer-turned-indie-rock-
connoisseur David Quested, explores personal thematics and jangly melodics with nimble flair. Amping up the optimism and wholesome feels,
Local the Neighbour has also today released a Super 8 charmer, with the track’s accompanying music video perfectly capturing Point Guard’s
endearing themes and vibes. We caught up with Local The Neighbour to learn more.

Hi, thanks for taking the time to chat with Hear 2 Zen, what have you been up to today?

Hey! Had both a great and busy day today. Went to the vet in the morning as my puppy just got desexed (his name is Barnaby and he’s a pomapoo [poodle x pomeranian]). Very lucky to have him, he’s the best. 

Then I went to my friend’s studio to work on an album that they’re making. It’s without a doubt one of the most unique projects I’ve been a part of, I’m really proud and grateful to work on it!

After that I swung by A1 bakery to grab some food on my way home. Did a bunch of laundry, picked up some visiting family from the airport and now I’m writing this!

Tell us about yourself, how long have you been performing/creating music for? 

As a drummer, I’ve been performing for years! I’ve been drumming for over 10 years now, which is crazy to think about. I have always been performing or making music, I think that’s what makes you want to begin playing in the first place. I had a number of family friends who played guitar or bass when I was younger, and they were a lot older and probably already out of high school at the time, but they’d always let me jam with them and we’d come up with instrumental songs. As a 12/13 year old, that was the best thing in the world to me.

Me performing and singing my own songs however, is very new. I’m talking like, I sang my song live in front of people for the first time 2 days ago, new. 

Who are your greatest inspirations?  Why?

Justin Vernon (Bon Iver).

When I arrived at university to study music, I was introduced to jazz after coming from a very pop/indie/rock background. During those years, I learnt a lot about jazz and started to think I wanted to become a working jazz drummer, which made me feel like I couldn’t acknowledge the side of me that loved rock or song based music. I felt like people in the jazz world wouldn’t respect me if I liked stuff like that. It’s a strange thing to look back on now.

The first time I heard Bon Iver’s second album, I felt like somehow everything I liked about music got packaged into one thing. It felt experimental, it had the energy of jazz, amazing lyrics, amazing songs, everything, distorted guitars, loud drums haha! It made me realise I wanted to explore other avenues and not pigeonhole myself as just a drummer. It’s definitely one of the reasons I started making music as Local the Neighbour and trying new things.

How do you create music?  Are you lyrics/story driven, or does the music/melody come first?  Explain your process.

I think I just look for a spark to inspire me. It’s always different. Sometimes I’m in the mood to write and things just come really easy. The first song I wrote (which I still think might be my favourite song) took me 10 minutes to write, and it’s a 4 min song. Other songs take more time because I’m just trying a bunch of different things until I get inspired. It could be a synth sound or guitar tone, lyrical idea, or even the sound of a siren has given me a melodic idea before.

I think if I’m having trouble making something happen, I’ll just stop and take a minute because I’m probably just feeling pressure to make something happen on command, which I don’t think is super helpful. I walk it off or call a friend for a chat, and that’ll put me back into a less pressured state and I can try everything again. 

What has been your greatest challenge so far in performing/creating music?

I’ve always been in a side-person type of role in any musical project I’ve been a part of. In many ways, that has let me see how a lot of artists/bandleaders operate, but after making my own music I’ve really come to admire artists a lot more – especially front men/women or solo artists! It’s so tough in so many ways!! I struggle to put myself out there and be on display. Even just making a post on social media can give me a jolt of anxiety – you worry about so many things that are potentially pointless, but you can’t stop the worrying. If you’re singing about personal things, you feel exposed, vulnerable, and worried that people will think differently of you. It’s a lot to unpack. 

I used to really struggle to work with people who had larger egos, but now I’ve really come to admire a part of that, and think that sometimes you need a bit of a healthy dose of ego to really be able to put yourself out there and be genuine artistically!

Tell us about your new release ’Point Guard’how did it come about?

It’s about my amazing girlfriend! When I started writing songs it was a lot of the sadder side of things. Eventually you want to write about happier things, and she’s obviously the coolest. So it just naturally happened. I was really into Blake Mills’ song ‘Hey Lover’ and always wanted to write something that had aspects of what I liked about that song, but with a sound/production that was me. So that’s how it came about from a musical level.

What advice do you have to artists who are just starting out?

I think you just gotta start doing the thing you want to be doing! Whether it’s playing shows, recording, writing, whatever. I’m one of those people who would just think or talk about doing it but never really start. I wish I had someone slap me into making the leap to start releasing music. The more I talk to people who do this, the more I realise you just need to keep on going and you’ll inevitably get better!

Also personally I really believe you need to just stick to what you believe in. Music is so trendy at times and people will make things that they think ‘suit the market’ to try to gain success, and that to me just kills the purpose of creating music! Sometimes it works, but I really wholeheartedly believe this is about expression and if it’s not coming from a genuine space, I can’t see you ever being proud of your work.

Tell us your favourite Zen practice.

I really like the beach. To me it pretty much instantly puts me at peace and I feel good. Also friend and family time – can’t beat it!

Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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