Although it has a batch of touring ahead of it, Neon Trees is "kind of writing right now" for its second album, according to frontman Tyler Glenn.
The singer-keyboardist tells Billboard.com that the Utah quartet is "doing what we can on the road, 'cause we're still heavily touring off (last year's 'Habits'). I'm the guy in the band that wishes we could be making a new record now. My favorite place to be is playing live, but I'm really, really excited and eager to have new music to perform. And I also realize we made kind of a short first album, so I want to be able to keep providing." He predicts that the next album "probably won't be (released) 'til early next year," however.
Nevertheless, Glenn says he expects Neon Trees' live performances to impact on the group's future work. "It seems like we've become a lot more soulful in our performances and the way we're playing the songs off 'Habits,' so I think it's going to be a natural progression. We don't want to sabotage the success we've had and all of a sudden make a record that's selfish, but at the same time I think there'll be a lot more of a soulful quality about the songs, and I think there's even more of a pop sensibility in the songs, a little more fleshed-out than the 'Habits' songs."
Neon Trees is satisfying its jones for fresh material by adding songs from the limited-release EP "Start a Fire," some of which Glenn says could be considered for inclusion on the group's sophomore set. "There's a couple songs on there that I think could really make it," he notes, "so I guess let's wait and see what happens." As to who might produce the next album, Glenn says Neon Trees is considering Justin Meldal-Johnsen, a bassist who's worked with nine inch nails, Beck, Gnarls Barkley and others.
"We did a cover of Human League's 'Don't You Want Me' with him for a soundtrack that never got released," Glenn says. "I think we just really hit it off. He's really smart and, I think, brilliant. I think it would be interesting to go with a producer that has a strength in a different genre than us. Because he's such an electronic-based producer, it would be cool to see how he could bring out some of those things in our songs. So that's been the talk."
It will remain just speculation for the time being, of course. Neon Trees is in the midst of a headline tour and will also play at the Bonnaroo Music Festival on June 12 in Tennessee. It will also play at the Wireless Festival on July 3 in London's Hyde Park and at Japan's Summer Sonic festivals during August in Osaka and Tokyo. The group's latest single, "Your Surrender," is featured on the soundtrack to the new Walt Disney film "Prom," along with the "Habits" track "1983."
"We haven't said yes to everything that comes our way, but this felt right," Glenn says. "I think we're a very youth-oriented band, and I think (the movie) will help reach more of a youth-oriented audience, so we went with it. I think it's a little out of our demographic, but...we've all seen it, and we like the film. It's just, like, Disney's approach to a John Hughes film. It's fun."