Life in Wareham...told in lyrics
When you live and make music in the town you grew up in, it's smart to keep it honest — so members of hip-hop group Loud Neighbors are not about trying to be anything they aren't.
"If we make something, the majority of the people who listen to us are our friends. You can't really get away with lying,"says Mike Balzarini of Loud Neighbors. "It was always about talking about what's relevant, because [listeners would] say, 'that's not you' if you start talking about selling drugs or like shooting people or stuff like that."
"Yeah, people know we're not doing that," adds member Mike Dunphy.
It's kind of tough to falsify criminal activity when so many of your fans know you personally. But why bother lying when what you write about is already funny and easy to relate to?
Loud Neighbors is comprised of three friends from Wareham who like making music and have the marketing savvy to make things happen.
As individuals, Tyler Doughty is Aldous Flow, Mike Balzarini is Defiance, and Mike Dunphy is Early Adopted.
Wareham native Michael Capachione helps out with production, and his work can be heard on a number of Loud Neighbor's songs.
Putting out good songs is only part of the battle -- you also have to market yourself.
To that end, Dunphy set up a Kickstarter -- an online resource through which artists can raise money -- and raised the money he needed in just ten days to embark on a nationwide tour and release his new album "No Thank You Myla." He has raised more than $3,600.
Dunphy sees the tour as a chance to us his individual act to help bring national attention to the group.
In addition, the band is prolific in putting out songs and videos, keeping themselves on listeners minds as much as possible.
Doughty says he thinks the honesty and self-deprecation in the band's music is what draws a lot of listeners.
"I think that's what makes us interesting to the people that listen to us, is they can relate to what we say," he says, "and we basically rap about emotions and what we do, day to day."
The group makes videos that show members doing mundane and silly stuff, such as making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hanging out with a fez-wearing bulldog, riding a plastic horse outside a supermarket, and chowing down at Marc Anthony's Pizzeria in Onset.
This is some hyper-local hip-hop.
"It was me and Mike. Tyler joined last year. He was kind of a secret weapon because he wasn't telling anyone he could do it," says Dunphy. "They used to make music in like 8th grade, before I was even hanging out with them."
Part of Loud Neighbors' appeal is that they're three working guys chasing a dream they've had since middle school. All three work full-time and it's tough to find time to make music together, but they get it done.
"Right now I work at a fish market down the Cape, working 70 hours a week making fish and chips," says Dunphy. "Not the most gratifying work."
But he says that he'd made a promise to himself to give music a real shot after college, and job-interviewing experience in Boston solidified his commitment to music.
"I graduated and I went on five interviews, and I was like, 'Cool, I'm going to get the job," says Dunphy, who has a degree in advertising from Salem State University. "Put the tie on, went to downtown Boston, went on five interviews, and didn't get one."
So he decided to keep his promise to himself and pursue a music career wholeheartedly.
Doughty works at a medical supply company: "I basically sit on the phone all day and get yelled at," he says. "With the music, I do that a lot on my lunch break, and when I get home."
Balzarini works as a scheduling analyst for an online company and makes music when he has the time.
"I'm definitely the laziest in the group," Balzarini says jokingly. "So, they'll usually e-mail me something. … Lately, I've been trying to feed them beats to stay a part of it and that seems to be working."
It's tough enough to get the three of them in the same room for an interview, so working remotely makes a lot of sense.
Click here to contribute to Dunphy's Kickstarter, and be sure to check out the video under "Update #2," where he breaks the news to his mom that one of the donors will be coming to hang out with them — one of the "incentives" Dunphy had to come up with in order to use Kickstarter. It's priceless.
Check out Loud Neighbors' videos below. Warning: Some of the language is not appropriate for younger audiences.