Neon Funeral interviewed about “Banned From The Goth Club”

Banned From The Goth Club, the latest release from New Jersey-based Neon Funeral, is a tight collection of songs that brings together numerous post-punk influences. The music has a dark, melodic sound that weaves together guitar, synths and electronic drums. Vocals are aggressive and at times bring to mind hardcore and industrial styles. The four-song EP closes with what might seem to be an odd choice of cover – Eddie Murphy’s 1985 hit “Party All The Time.” That track works surprisingly well, with a moody interpretation that evokes the 80s but thoughtfully filtered through Neon Funeral’s own style. In an email interview, the band discussed their new EP.

Could you provide some background on Neon Funeral and its members?

Neon Funeral is a Jersey City based band that formed from musicians previously in the Hudson County music scene. Every member had been in bands that each member knew of, but this lineup was new to everyone. We had been jamming a bit at the end of 2018 going into 2019 and decided to form Neon Funeral once we had a lineup.

Do you feel the blend of styles comes from a conscious decision on what the direction should be, or more of an organic result of the interests and influences of the various members?

In a way, both. We had an idea of what we wanted to be, but as it came to fruition with its current lineup, we have found a sound that works for us. In the early days, we’d listen to 90s freestyle music, or goth indie music like The Cure or The Smiths, bands like She Past Away and picture what it would sound like with hardcore elements like aggression, and screaming over those styles of music. We’re all open minded musicians and take each other’s individual musical ideas into consideration.

Banned From The Goth Club is your first release on Cleopatra, correct? Were you signed to the label before making it, or did you complete the EP first to shop around?

We dropped two singles with Cleopatra Records at first, but then decided to complete an EP. “Party All the Time” was technically our first single released on Cleopatra Records in October 2021. We chose Cleopatra Records for the pedigree of artists that they had worked with, in addition to their reputation as a solid label with all kinds of experimental artists.

You’ve said the EP title Banned From The Goth Club references audience reactions to your contradictory sounds. Has this been a major problem in establishing the band? Has it changed as audiences discover Neon Funeral?

We have generally had a polarizing response to our sound; people either love it or hate it. In a way it can be difficult to book shows since the music blends those genres without being categorized as one thing, but on the other end, we end up having successful mixed genre shows with postpunk, electronic, and hardcore bands throughout the years. As we release more music and gain recognition, people generally have an idea as to what to expect from us now, so it’s not as surprising anymore.

Could you share some insights into the creative process behind the songs on Banned From The Goth Club?

This EP has all electronic and programmed drums as opposed to having a drummer on previous releases. The approach to each song had varying contributions from each member to kickstart the creative process. Some songs were more vocally and synth driven, whereas others were more guitar and bass driven. We bring ideas to each other and build off it, but there’s no set order to things other than eventually working on demos.

What inspired you to cover Eddie Murphy’s 80s hit “Party All The Time”? Was it obvious how you wanted to do it?

Cleopatra Records wanted us to cover a top 10 billboard song that was at least 30 years old, so we ended up choosing “Party All the Time” since we felt like it would best suit our direction. Once the song was picked, we instantly knew that this song could have a high chance of success in the style of Neon Funeral, and that it would be a fun record.

The 80s references continue with the video for “Avolition” being shot in a retro arcade/bar. Could you discuss the influence and role of that decade in your aesthetics and sound?

We appreciate the overall vibe of all things 80’s pop culture: the music, art, neon, goth aesthetics, etc. Things were very vibrant and pleasing to the eye, and the music was catchy and fun to dance to. We feel that we end up somehow incorporating it all into our overall presentation and sound.

I see that you’re based in Jersey City (as am I!). What are your thoughts on the local musical and artistic community?

People are receptive to us and we end up playing shows wherever we can. We’ve had successful shows in the community such as headlining Goatchella and having amazing shows at our local bar/venue, PetShop. The area is full of various local talents and we’re happy to represent Jersey City and be a part of the music scene here.

Now that the EP is out, what are your plans for the near future? Long-term goals?

In the short term, our goals revolve around pushing this EP as far as we can and touring on a national level across more states. Our long-term goals would hopefully be a full-length record, more progress and evolution, and writing more music to take Neon Funeral as far as possible.

Banned from the Goth Cub can be purchased from