In the sunshine city, it was time to catch up with Jeremy Neale to discuss his new solo debut album. Sitting in the warmth of the valleys premier brunch cafe the Pony Cat it immediately became apparent at how much love Neale puts into the art of creating music. The passion that Neale has put into his solo effort is commendable he describes the process as ‘freer and logistically easier’.
What is the major difference between working solo vs working in a band?
It is a much more fluent experience to work by yourself, being able to take control of the project makes it much more responsive to your own influence, you will find changing directions is way easier and fluent, don’t get me wrong its fun working collaboratively but its also nice producing a piece of work that is your completely own vision.
Do you find that working with a band is sort of like working with a board of executors, having to compromise for vision and what not?
Yes, I would tend to agree with that, it is also easier in the sense that I can just rock up to the studio with just me and a producer and know that I’m getting work done.
What would you say are your main influences for this solo effort?
The early writing and recording process was being influenced by 80’s power pop. Guys like The Romantics and The Cars and bands with that kind of vibe. That’s where it began, there were different personal influences, that the album goes in a few different directions. I wanted to release an album, that, once you get two or three tracks into the track listing it all comes together and clicks. The listener can be like oh I get this now, I wanted to create an album with longevity that favors repeat listens. This is something that I feel is missing from music nowadays! Unfortunately, you can listen to an album and be like meh, it’s alright but it just doesn’t grab you and make you fall in love. The type of album I want to create is the type of album that grabs the listener and connects with the first listens and it stays with them. They can pick up on things they have missed the first time through on the ensuing listens.
One issue I find that is plaguing the music industry is the fact that albums can be so easily forgettable, bands from the past that were huge back in the day can release lackluster albums that will be forgotten the next day, what is your opinion on this?
Sonically for an artist, it is quite hard to put out something that truly connects with the listener. However, if you play your cards right and painstakingly work on your a project with a clear vision and intention behind it. You could end up making something truly special. There are albums that are clear products of their time they are good in their own right. But, there are other albums that transcend throughout time, like Weezer’s Blue Album, that thing is timeless, it is relatable and ultimately special to so many people across the world because they simply nailed it. That’s the thing when an artist knows themselves well enough they can bear all. Being able to put aspects of themselves into music and make something truly special it takes a while but it happens.
You have been involved in many projects and been a mainstay in the business for a while, going into solo music have you found that you are finally getting what you want out of the music
Yeah, I think so, it’s very multifaceted in a way, I’ve gotten to the point I’m familiar enough with the music itself. For so many other artists music has become part of their life, where their main concern is making it big. I am contempt with my music and adding to that, it complements the other aspects of my life and doesn’t overshadow work, family, and friends. For other guys they can get stuck in the thick of it, their decisions become more reactive than proactive and it becomes detrimental. Some bands will stay supporting acts for the rest of their careers.
Do you ever feel like sometimes people forget that musicians are people too? The general public sometimes forget to distinguish the artist from the art?
As an artist, you are selling yourself, the musical persona is the best possible version of myself. I view it as it’s like a joke, in the written format a joke works better than one being said live in person. As the margin for error is much lower, just like with social media, the Jeremy Neale I want to portray is the one that kicks the goals. The bad parts of myself can be conveyed through the music, not the persona. Portraying the truth is sort of bent to one side. Myself like lots of other musicians will touch on mental health and some of the bad aspects because it is relatable and if it can help someone with their struggles then its worth it. When expressing this in our music its not complaining its conveying.
Now as a person who resides in the Brisbane, I’m sure you can agree we have a fantastic music scene here, who are some of the mainstays for you?
I’m not gonna lie I’m pretty obsessed with Whalehouse they are some the best people with the best music and best atmosphere. I like to see Hatchie getting some recognition, the mainstays are great like The Creases.
In about a months time you are going to be playing End of the Line festival in Woolangabba, what are you expectant for because of it? Its kind of a big deal since its all ages and its free.
I’m really excited for it, the fact that it’s all ages means that there is an ability to reach a much larger demographic. When it is free it makes it even better, though it makes me sad that sometimes money can be an issue when it comes to seeing something you love and are passionate about.”
You have been doing this for a while, you’ve made one album with Velicoripator which were awesome by the way, what is your favorite part of being a musician, why do you do it?
That is a very interesting question because I feel like it changes over time. The thing is I love creating, but at the same time I really love the community being a big thing as well, I love creating but also just about every aspect that surrounds that.
I feel like the community is incredible as for me like I’m not musically talented whatsoever but I’ve been given a platform to create or convey through writing about my passion for music inside this community, the community champions creativity and celebrates it to the point that it brings people together with the mutual love of a thing, whats your take on this?
There’s a sweet common ground with the community, it is like this whole thing where two people who barely know each other can be like oh, you like this thing, I like this thing and then they talk for hours and end up creating a friendship, it is incredible.
What is your favorite part of performing live, is it again that community aspect?
It sort of is, but at the same time, I love the versatility of live performances. I played a show at the End Bar that was sorta like a karaoke show. It was me singing on top of the backing tracks of my own songs, it was cool because it was such a different vibe. But, at the same time, I love performing in a stripped back bare bones sort of show because that lets me be intimate with the crowd and give backstories behind the songs and it’s a super nice feeling to be had. Then playing with a full band its like I get to see how my original vision of the music looks like and its incredible, different vibes and versatility makes live music so incredible.
Coming off of that, what was your favourite show to play?
That’s really hard to say because I love performing so much, every foundry’s birthday gig is always incredible I love that venue, but even going back to that karaoke show at the End Bar. I was so stoked even a week afterward because it was so different and unique. 90% of the shows I play I come out of so incredibly stoked because of that love for performance.
What is the next step for you?
Right now I have the album on my mind and touring that around, but I have different ventures down the pipeline, we have a comic book coming out in conjunction with the album about a DJ T-Rex Detective. It is like a buddy cop story, there’s a video game production that’s somewhat related to the album.Maybe a Christmas single because I love Christmas songs, but if the album itself is well received I can say I already have ideas for the follow-up, I’m really enjoying music and so happy with it right now.
Catch Jeremy At These Record Stores
NOV 3 | Jeremy Neale (Instore) at Jet Black Cat Music
Fri 18:30 Brisbane
NOV 5 | Jeremy Neale Melbourne In-Store at Oh! Jean Records
Sun 14:30 Fitzroy
NOV 9 | Jeremy Neale Sydney In-Store at Red Eye Records
Jeremy Neale’s Solo Debut Album Getting The Team Back Together will be available through Dot Dash / Remote Control on the 3rd of November.
All images taken by Gabriel James Smith-Kelly follow him on Instagram.