Jeremy Loops – Across The Ocean

Jeremy Loops

Red alert! Red alert! 2016 is very much going to be the year that Jeremy Loops breaks through make a lot more fans stand up and take notice.

jeremy-loops-promo-2016

Loops career has taken off in a big way in South African and in the last couple of years alone has had over four million plays on Spotify, a Gold record in South Africa, going to #1 on the South African iTunes chart, over one million YouTube views, to name a few. Across The Ocean has a quick Q&A with Jeremy Loops.

How busy a time was it leading up to the album release for Trading Change?

Album release time is always busy, but we’re masochists! We were actually on our biggest headlining tour ever for our Continental Drift Euro Tour, and we were rolling out the album at the same time. Madness, really.

Is this the most exciting period for you?

I find everyday in music is exciting. Obviously on the eve of big tours or big shows and the eve of an album release, there’s a special feeling that can’t be replicated, but, you know, watching a song come together is pretty damn exciting for me. Good luck meeting someone who gets as much of a kick out of the right chord resolutions and lyrical turns as me!

Is there a sense of relief or pressure that your debut album is done?

Releasing an album is more relief than pressure. Maybe it’s because this is my debut release, but it isn’t like people have crazy expectations set by previous albums. Also, I know the standard of the music we’ve put together on this album, and I go to bed knowing I wouldn’t have changed a lyric, a chord, or a decibel in the mix. I’m proud of this record. Sure, there’s pressure for it to sell or for it to do well, but we’re pumped with what we’ve created.

How do you plan to maintain the momentum? Is that the tricky part?

Maintaining momentum is really a day to day thing. I’ve never had the fortune of having a major label with deep pockets or a rock star publicist with mega connections on my side. We are where we are because we’ve eeked out small victories everyday. The audience are committed and invested, so for me, maintaining momentum is just playing an avalanche of great shows in sold out venues, and writing great songs. The audience connection follows from that. Yes, this is a gross simplification, but really, when you come from where I come from and you don’t rely on scandal or celebrity to sell your music, you really have only your music and your shows. I’m confident in both because we work hard at both.

Four millions plays on Spotify and one million views on YouTube – are you stoked with that?

It’s a good start! I’m really just excited about streaming media in general – Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and all the others. I think there’s something to be said for rewarding music people actually consume! You know? Like, at the end of the day, getting millions of streams is hugely significant, and while the business figures out the right economic models, it seems an enhanced system where people are rewarded because people actually listen to their songs, as opposed to ‘sugar buy’ their songs and then never play them.

Down South is a great single – was that the logical choice for a single?

When we finished recording the album, Down South felt like the single to lead with. As a song, it feels different enough that people will let down their guards down if only to hear where the hell it will go, and for a new artist, that’s a big deal. Just give us your ear for thirty seconds. When it crashes in and that bass line starts happening, I’ve got a shot at actually converting people with the song itself. When you start out, no one remembers your name, but people remember the song. And so it stood out on an album with lots of potential singles as the one we should lead with.

Is it hard picking a single?

This may seem a weird thing to say, but I really believe every song a person writes should have the potential to be a single, which is to say every song on the album needs to be really good, at a minimum, and catchy too, if you’re lucky. In that regard, yes, picking a single should be very difficult. If your deep album cuts aren’t many people’s favourites, you’ve done a crap job.

Maybe I’m just railing against a generation of musicians and producers who make cookie cutter albums with three bangers, and seven average songs and call it a day. Come on. Do better for the people who like your music.

Was the process of writing and recording challenging as you thought?

The process of writing came quite naturally to me. The process of recording was nightmarish, and I actually spent three years troubleshooting my process, which was historically based on my loop pedals, so that we could get great results in studio. After that initial struggle, it all became quite straightforward, to be honest.

Was there anything that you learned that you would do differently next time? How would you describe the album to someone who hasn’t heard of your band before?

Next time, the actual recording and tinkering process will be longer. The songs are there – I haven’t stopped writing music, so I have a good batch of ideas ready to be demoed and taken to the next level, but we’ll probably give ourselves more time in studio to realise crazy ideas we couldn’t with Trading Change because back then we either didn’t have budget or time. For the next album if I say ‘can we hear what bagpipes will sound like over this? I’ll know we have the time to check our networks for the best bagpipe players around and prototype.

Maybe this scares people, but it shouldn’t. I’m not saying chuck the kitchen sink. I’m just saying, it’ll be nice to at least test out our crazier ideas.

If you were working in JB Hi-Fi and had to write a yellow display card for the album what words would you write on it?

An album filled with bangers and the occasional delicate love songs that transform into bangers halfway through them. Buy this. It’s glorious!’ Ha ha!

What would you say are your main influences? 

I grew up on Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie. They’re my biggest influences. Definitely Woody more than Bob.

With the digital age do you think the concept of an album is lost?

I think the concept of an album is changing, and musicians and labels have given less priority to it as mega singles and streaming playlist bait has become a bigger financial incentive. I don’t, however, think there is anything that can make an artist the way a carefully crafted, well considered, significant album can. In the age of streaming, especially, where I reckon people are listening to the single that picks up steam and think ‘I wonder what the rest sounds like’ and then they can check it out at no real additional cost to them, having an album of great songs will help artists and labels themselves identify what the next single should be based on what people are listening to.

So yes, the concept of an album is changing, and maybe one day it will be lost, but a single can never be the event a brilliant album is.

Does the power of the internet amaze you knowing how far your music can reach people around the world?

The internet blows my mind everyday. I think we overlook it. Just imagine seventy years ago – not even that far back – and telling someone you could speak to someone else halfway across the world but get this, ‘you can do it over video on this little device in your pocket’ because of this thing called the internet. It’s mindblowing, but you know, kids who are sixteen have had the internet their whole lives. They can’t imagine a world without it. I remember when the internet first began popping up in South Africa, around 1995 or 1996, thinking to myself ‘what sorcery is this?

Is the remainder of the year focused on tours?

The remainder of the year is tour-focused indeed. We’ll be returning to Europe and North America for headline tours as well as festivals. We’re also hoping Trading Change does well in Australia and New Zealand so as to bash down walls for us to plan our first major tour Down Under. But yes, we make music to play music. I live for live shows.

How do you prepare yourself for the rigors of touring?

We’re always touring – I think I’m always prepared. It’s preparing myself for the rigors of being home that’s become interesting. Surfing and running and skating seems to curb that problem, though.

What’s the next big challenge for Jeremy Loops?

The only challenge we’re currently focused on is crushing the Trading Change release. That’s the launch pad for all the plans and ideas I have following that up. We feel good about the music itself – now we work hard so that it takes, and we’ll use that momentum to open doors for live shows in new territories and even bigger shows in the territories we’re already a strong presence in.

Rob Lyon

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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