Jeremy Neale was the 2017 recipient of the Grant McLennan Fellowship and has new album We Were Trying to Make It Out out through Remote Control – Dot Dash.
Neale joined John Murch via Skype for a chat with radionotes…
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IMAGE CREDIT: Supplied – Press Shot
Jeremy’s debut album Getting Team Back Together featured the 2018 QMusic Award ‘Song of The Year’ for Dancin’ and Romancin’.
SHOW NOTES: Jeremy Neale
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In The Box:
- Wasted On You – Evanescence (Official Music Clip)
- Sunrise – The Letter Elle (Official Music Clip) – In Their Own Words (YouTube)
- Down Below – Tori Forsyth (Official Music Clip)
- Long Way From Lonely – Hunter Kaine and Shane Nicolson (Official Music Clip)
- Fake Roses – Portia Clark (LinksTo)
- Let’s Stay Home Tonight – Alex Sparrow (Official Music Clip)
Feature Guest: Jeremy Neale
- Official Site
- Facebook – Instagram – Twitter
- Still Want You Around Me (Official Music Video)
- Isolaid Festival (Official Site)
- Hachiku (Official Site)
- T-Rax – Trailer (YouTube) – T-Rax Comic Book (Artist First Link)
- Absolute Objectivity – Backbone (Official Site)
- 1,2,3,4 (Sumpin’ New) – Coolio (Official Music Video)
- Everything I Do Is Replaced By Two (Official Music Video)
- Dancin’ and Romancin’ – part of Queensland Festival (YouTube), Offical Music Video and on Bandcamp here
- Married At First Sight (9Now)
- Velociraptor (Facebook) and Music ‘n’ Ts (Artists First)
- Velociraptor [Self-Titled Debut LP] (Bandcamp)
- Show Me Spirit ‘Til The End – Tara Simmons (Bandcamp)
- Grant McLennan Fellowship (QMusic)
- When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Gets Going – Billy Ocean (Official Music Video)
- HeadSpace – App (Official Site)
- Tired and True [Raise The Roof] (Official Music Video)
- We Were Trying To Make It Out – Album (LinksTo)
- Chorus – Key Out (Official Music Clip) – on Spotify
- Anthropomorphia (Album) on Bandcamp and on Spotify
- Stray…. the Second Single from the Album (Official Music Clip)
Next Episode: Gabbi Bolt
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First version provided by REV team member Linda C – check to audio before quoting wider
John Murch: Welcome to radionotes.
Jeremy Neale: Hey, thank you for having me and thank you for getting a copy of the record.
John Murch: Today you join us on the back of We Were Trying to Make It Out, the second album which has just been released. At the time of record you’re in day 12 of isolation?
Jeremy Neale: I am, and, maybe it’s day 11. I’m not sure anymore, I’m losing track of time. But either way we got in early on the old Stay at Home campaign. Basically, well motivating factor two-fold, obviously want to do what I can do for the country, and also my wife is pregnant so we are being very cautious as kind of puts her in a high-risk group for this one. So, we’re just shutting down as best we can. I’ll be taking leave without pay, and just bunkering down until I can find some kind of work-from-home opportunities. Yeah, it’s a very peculiar time, but I imagine that, … We’ll know when this airs that being safe and acting fast, I think, is the right thing to do.
John Murch: Yeah. We’re hearing everything from a few weeks locked down might be then a few months, but then we’re hearing like a six-month timetable. It’s all very much in the air, and so it’s hard to talk to it when you’ll be hearing this in a few weeks from now. What we can say is you’re one of the leading first acts of the Isolaid Festival last weekend. Who were you looking forward to seeing at Isolaid Festival this weekend?
Jeremy Neale: That is a great question. I mean, my friend, Hachiku, playing, so I’m going to tune in for that set. I think what I’m going to do again is what I did for this Isolaid. I was fortunate enough to open the first one, which meant that I could then clock off for the day, pressure was off, and then I could just enjoy what other people were doing. It was a really nice thing, too, because I could just have it on the background while I did other things. It could be there while I was cooking. It’s there while I’m cleaning the house. I think that’s a really nice kind of way to do it, because I love to multitask. The question thread was fun, too. We’re just dropping stuff in there with other people that are watching, too.
John Murch: It’s weekend two of … We should explain, this is basically 24 hours of live music across a weekend, using that Instagram Live feature, using that as the broadcast medium, something that television just isn’t able to do with live Australian music.
Jeremy Neale: No, maybe they will in the content drought that is going to be upon us, this may be the future. But, maybe some kind of reality TV show where everybody’s a contestant from their own home. You know what I mean? The Bachelor is going to be giving me digital roses, which I look forward to.
John Murch: What did you get from doing the Isolaid Festival last weekend?
Jeremy Neale: I think that one of the greatest things about performing is that while you’re performing you are 100% present and engaged, and it reminds you of all the things that you love about community and doing music. Whereas, sometimes left to my own accord, I think that without projects to focus on, or without performances to work towards, or whatever, I can tend to be, I guess, my own worst enemy in a lot of ways. I think in the last couple of weeks I’ve been consuming four hours worth of news, or five hours worth of news, a day. So, it’s good to save me from myself I think. If that’s the one thing I got out of it, it’s to be engaged in doing something that I really love doing. I think it’s really heartening to see that other people wanted to receive that kind of performance, as well, and responded so well to it, because I don’t want to just clog up someone’s feed, I want to be a source of value entertainment when I’m doing it. The fact that so many people did enjoy it is really a testament to that. I guess what the future going forward is in the next few months, what kind of top-tier entertainment, or connection, can I then do and take on the next few months that, actually, is of value?
John Murch: How did you engage the audience do you think? How did you feel the audience whilst you were performing your music during that festival?
Jeremy Neale: What I noticed is that if I tried to read the comments too much I would forget what chord to play. I did see requests coming through which was really nice, too. Again, because it was such a short set I didn’t get around to them, but that was kind of like, Well, tune in next time and I’ll get through those requests that you had. It’s very heartening to see a lot of love reacts pop up on your screen. Sometimes the wow reacts, a variety. If you get an angry react you’re like, What did I do wrong? From the performance perspective of running it you do see that stream of reacts, you do see how many people were tuned in at the time, and you do see those comments coming through. You can respond to those questions in between songs, as well.
Jeremy Neale: Also, it was a real opportunity to discover a bunch of new artists, because there are lots of people this was my first time interacting with their music, and it’s so cool. It’s like big sound, but in a very efficient, from the comfort of my own home setting. We had 72 acts last weekend, which is crazy. By the end of this, by the end of the weekend, if you know 20 new artists that’s amazing,
John Murch: What’s driving you at the moment as a musician to bring out another record at this time, in these times?
Jeremy Neale: It’s very tough. I know I have to give myself project work. I kind of dumped a lot of my sentiments of like the last decade really into this last record. So, I’m kind of at a point now where I’m like, What else do I want to say? I feel like so succinctly I can easily do that in the latest record. I feel like the events of now there will be content to come from it, but I’m such a processor so I do twofold, I experience things in my life, I process them and then I also take in like sonic references of music I’m listening to at the time. I kind of put that into the machine and then six months later, or four months later, whatever, that content starts to come out. So, right now because I feel like I put so much emotional weight and thought into this last record what I want to say right now is not a lot in song, which is very weird for me, but I do need to have projects to keep myself occupied. So, I’m back on my silly train at the moment of I guess faux moody.
Jeremy Neale: I was working on T-Rax back in 2017, released a comic book for T-Rax. So now I’m focused on the sequel. What’s T-Rax 2? What’s the soundtrack to T-Rax 2? How much of noxious Mark Wahlberg style hip hop can I produce from the comfort of my own home? It’s the ridiculous things that entertain me and, hopefully, that will then entertain other people because, I don’t know, I think that’s just the thing. You got to do it sometimes. You got to give yourself a project so you feel accomplished, and you’ve got to try and entertain where you can.
John Murch: Once you’re back in the real world, I guess, that of Backbone, the youth theatre arts, the anticapitalist musical it’s been called, the Absolute Objectivity. Where’s that at? What is it about?
Jeremy Neale: It’s a real tough one to explain. It goes on a lot of tangents and crosses a lot of genres. I guess it is … Yeah, anticapitalist is probably the way to put it. It’s very much a late-stage capitalism world set in maybe 30 years from now where there’s only one organization who owns everything that is also the world leader, as well. You’ve got your Pollyanna politics, as they already do, but now it’s even more apparent because they have elected the world leader. You kind of have like your hero character, which is somewhat of a Bernie Sanders kind of symbolic character that’s there to turn things around at world election 2054, but the comedy ensues. The music kind of goes from ’80s ballad to pretty obnoxious Beastie Boys kind of hip hop. There’s a bit of power metal in there. It was just really an exercise in being able to write whatever music I wanted to be able to write around whatever absurd kind of a tangent we wanted the story to go on. Relevant for the times? Maybe. Probably.
John Murch: When was your first introduction to hip hop?
Jeremy Neale: It was probably a very light introduction to hip hop, being that one of the first CD singles I ever owned growing up was multiple tracks by Coolio. I think I bought Coolio’s 1,2,3,4, a classic romp. I’ve always loved the Beastie Boys.
John Murch: Do you remember where you bought that single from?
Jeremy Neale: You know what? I think I got it from BIG W. Obviously at the time, as well, there would have been a number of singles coming from the old Powerhouse, Brashes back in Brisbane. I guess in our teenage years we had quite a few interesting CD stores as well, Skinny’s, which is no longer around, Rocking Horse, which has continued. As a kid I got most of my CD singles from that bargain bin in BIG W. I also used to listen to whatever radio I could. I had the double cassette function on my stereo and I would just record the songs I liked and try and get a real clean recording of them and then make my own little mix tapes from the garage. Failing that, it was really nice to be able to buy the CD singles.
John Murch: What was the childhood like?
Jeremy Neale: My childhood was interesting. I have lot of nostalgia from my childhood, but it was also … I had a really kind of intense run, I guess. My father struggled with a lot of mental health stuff, we were never in a very good financial position, and my life kind of took a real big turn. My father committed suicide when I was 10 and that was kind of the real juncture point in the turning of my life. I feel like my life was kind of chaotic up until that point anyway. My mum’s very stable, provided a very safe space for us in all that. Yeah, my childhood was all over the place. So, thankful for the stability of now.
Jeremy Neale: Musically, though, good influences were put in the mix. My dad was always listening to records, so that was good. Lots of things implanted themself in my brain. A lot of great guitar music which is what I pull off and enjoy now. My mum’s listening habits were more focused on Madonna and Paul Simon’s Graceland, which is great because that stuff was like very much in my musical DNA.
John Murch: As you were going through teenagehood, what were some of the male role models then for you, if at all?
Jeremy Neale: That’s a great question. I was fortunate that my mum ended up being with somebody who ended up taking on, I guess, was that kind of stepfather role throughout my teenage years, and someone that was stable and offered great advice, I thought, and were very considerate person. So, I feel like I was fortunate to have someone kind of semi-step into that more direct role. Then, as far as … I don’t know. I don’t know if I was specifically looking for a role model. I think I was looking for direction more than anything, and so I think that, obviously, I probably had musicians that I would idolise. I guess that’s probably something that worked its way into the direction of where I would head,
John Murch: Who were some of those musicians that were possibly idolised during those years?
Jeremy Neale: I had ones that were from the core of my, very core of what I love musically, and I have always been consistent. Now, I thought the Beach Boys were the coolest band ever, and still probably do. Well, besides Mike Love, but to Mike Love’s credit he does do a very good live performance with his version of the Beach Boys, but, don’t like the politics. I thought lots of stuff that was quite naff was quite cool, because I loved ’60s Nazzy Beat kind of stuff, and I love like new romantic ’80s music. I used to think, Well, that crew were cool as hell. Then, there was all the kind of like indie rock of the time in my teenage years that I thought was really where it was at, too. Obviously, I thought The Strokes were such a cool band. I really idolised their musical output for quite a long period of time.
John Murch: What are you looking forward to about fatherhood?
Jeremy Neale: I’ve always wanted to be a dad. It’s always been on the eventual agenda and now seemed like the right time. Obviously, now it’s the most stressful time to be pregnant, but it is … I guess I just want to give. Well, I’ve got a lot to give, but I also really want to, I guess, craft a really lovely experience in childhood for somebody, put them in a really stable place in which they can then go out and do wonderful things for the world. But, I’m really looking forward to, honestly, mostly, just the day to day of it, to have a focus that is present and now, to have a good, I guess, a hierarchy of what’s important.
Jeremy Neale: It’s just like my job is to look out for a little one. I got to make sure they’re eating well, they’re picking up great skills. I get to pass on my musical knowhow. I get to pass on some advice. Sure, that’s cool. I don’t know, just reconnect with those things, like reconnect with what life is, I think, which is just being present and people, in this case a little person.
John Murch: Part of your day job is working with children in a hospital environment. How has that experience given you maybe a bit of a lead in on what kids think?
Jeremy Neale: My job is working with teenagers specifically. The current generation are very cool. They’re very switched on, they’re very savvy thanks to internet culture. They’ve all got cool sense of humor, and they’ve got great direction, I think. So, it’s given me a lot of faith in how good this current generation is and how good the future generation is going to be, and the opportunities they have, and the general sense of empathy and kindness that is in this new generation, and openness and acceptance which I think is wonderful. Which means, I think that even if the world’s getting worse in some aspects I think it’s really getting better in a lot of ways, too. Obviously, I’m very aware of bringing a child into a world that is no doubt going to face wild catastrophe from climate change, but I think in terms of people, and the environment of which we’re bringing people into community, I think now is a wonderful time.
John Murch: Everything I Do Is Replaced By Two is one of the singles that looks at the To Do List. Are you much of a pen and paper To Do List, or do you let your brain do it itself?
Jeremy Neale: I think for my sanity I have to be a physical To Do List person. I love to write it down on paper, then I can see what I’ve accomplished throughout the day. I guess my biggest problem is that I often make the daily To Do List too big, because I’m like If I do everything today then I am free of it tomorrow. You’re setting yourself up for failure when you do that, which is what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that you’ve got to get that To Do List and you need to put a few things on each day. I need to do them as soon as you wake up, because then you start the day with a sense of accomplishment, and that feeling lets you then accomplish more things. It’s like an instant confidence boost that you carry with you throughout the day.
Jeremy Neale: Then, if you want to explore things that you’ve divvied up for another day later in the week, and you’re feeling up to it, you can attack them and you can technically get ahead of yourself, but I think that you just got to be really kind in how much you put on each day, because otherwise there’s a lot of potential there to beat yourself up for not doing it by the end of the day.
John Murch: Joined by Jeremy Neale. He has the song of the year 2018, a single called Dancin’ & Romancin’. Have much time for those, or either of those, at the moment?
Jeremy Neale: Not a lot. Somebody sent me a message the other day. They’re making a film clip from isolation and they were like, Hey, I want to get a whole bunch of people dancing to this song. Could you just dance along for five seconds and send me a clip? Of course I will, and I imagine that when I do I’m going to feel great because that’s not something I’ve done for a little while. Romancin’? Look, I’m fortunate to live with my wife so that’s good. I’ve been fortunate to also enjoy reality TV, so seeing lots of other romance happening, as well. Even in these dire times there’s still space for Dancin’ & Romancin’.
John Murch: What romance TV’s been keeping your eyes busy?
Jeremy Neale: Oh look, I’m not ashamed of this, even though some people tell me I should be. Obviously, I have been watching Married at First Sight this whole season. Haunts Married at First Sight, and I’ll go into whatever’s next, which I assume some form of bachelor or bachelorette situation. I’ve never watched Bachelor in Paradise, but I could watch anything. Really, take a little break from life for a little while, I think it’s got value.
John Murch: In a good spot now, coming up roses, but how has romance treated you over the years, and how much is your music a reflection of that?
Jeremy Neale: Like everything in life, romance is really a trial and error, figure out simultaneously what you’re looking for in someone and also all the things that you need to fix about yourself. As you get better at identifying what you’re looking for, and how to make the optimal version of yourself, romance tends to get easier, I think. There’s been, obviously, a bunch of heartbreak along the way, and there are upsides to heartbreak in some ways, too. I wrote the 2014 Velociraptor self-titled album pretty much all from one breakup. So, sometimes good for productivity even though harrowing on your general experience of the world at the time. I think it, honestly, it is that mostly it’s just trial and error. Got it wrong a lot of times, or just wasn’t meant to be.
Jeremy Neale: Timing is very important, too. Both people have to be in that right place, as well. You want somebody to have ticked off a couple of their bucket list things so that they’re not just with you in whatever your white picket fence suburbian dream is wondering what their life might have been like if they were living in France, or living in New York, or whatever that kind of dream that maybe you’re holding them back from doing. So, it’s good if they’ve done those things first so they don’t have to wonder.
John Murch: My understanding is the band format, even though you joined us to talk about your second solo album under your own name, the band will have a new album out the later part of this year?
Jeremy Neale: We were going deep on trying to finish this record throughout summer this year. We’ve got everything to about 80, 90% on most of the tracks, but now finishing it is going to be the real clincher. Producer on the case is going to send us what we’ve got so far. We can kind of reevaluate from home, see if there is any stuff that we can patch up and then send back, so that, hopefully, sooner rather than later, even if the release date has to be pushed back to early 2021, at least we can have a Single or two out before the end of this year. Especially in what is approaching, potentially, a content drought might be a good time for Velociraptor to say, Hey, g’day, we’re still here. We still got a chance to let you know that the future is bright, and as soon as we can all party again, let’s party.
John Murch: Suggesting from that, your view would be, It’s still a good time to release music if you’ve got some music to release?
Jeremy Neale: If we can master it to its full potential then I think that we’d love to release some music in this time. I think there’s a few things I’ve still got … Like with that musical we were discussing before, that remains unreleased at this point because there is no longer a way to do the auditions for the reading and performance of, which … So, whether that comes out in a digital format, that could be a thing that happens, too. Whether I do make the ridiculous soundtrack to the T-Rax 2 film in this time, that could happen. As far as normal releases go, being a bit of a perfectionist about it I want them to be 100% right before they make it out to the world. If that means it’s delayed it’s delayed.
Jeremy Neale: I think we can scavenge something together in this time for the start of a Velociraptor release. I don’t think there’s anything that I can do … Unless I drastically stylistically shift, I don’t think there’s a lot I can do as far as a Jeremy Neale record goes, other than write it in this time, but my production skills are limited and kind of harder to do guitar music in this time, I guess, when I’m talking studio kind of vibe and tracking everybody, and getting those beautiful three-part harmony takes.
John Murch: People have also suggested in terms of releasing music if you can’t tour it, which for many cases that’s where some of the money can be, the financial oomph that comes with releasing the music, then that then is a disincentive to put the music out in the first place. You’re someone, my understanding is, that doesn’t tour too hard. Give us a talk through about how releasing music and touring might be a little bit different in these times where touring really isn’t an option.
Jeremy Neale: Yeah, it’s a tough one. I mean, the hardest part here is that I’ve released an album right on the cusp of this, and I was halfway through an in-store tour that has been canceled, and also future touring plans that were going to happen with the full band throughout late April, early May have also been canceled, as well as any other shows that have kind of cropped up organically around the release of the record. Tough part here is that you’ve only really got that window of a few months where you can really push a record hard, because either you fatigue out people without hearing about it, or there’s so many other things in the mix vying for attention, the newer and shinier. So, it’s a tough one here because you kind of missed that optimal window to make back at least some of the money so that you may be able to do another record in the future.
Jeremy Neale: Blanket kind of figure to make an album I have found, in the capacity that I make them, is around about $15,000, which is a huge outlay and something that typically you would find avenues with which to … Whether those are side hustles, or whatever, or kind of find ways to make that money back so that two years later you could then re-put that money back into making another record.
John Murch: You also mentioned earlier that you’re currently taking yourself leave without pay because of what we’re going through. So, that 15K’s not going to be as close as one would hope, and I acknowledge that quite deeply. How do you engage with the music community?
Jeremy Neale: Keeping abreast of what’s happening online, with friends, listening to their music, commenting on it? The physical nature, which is a big thing, is just especially … You know, in Brisbane, you’ll go out and go to a venue, and because it’s such a tight-knit community you’ll see so many people in a night that you know across all parts of the music sphere. Whether people who just love and digest music and are always at shows, whether it’s people who are photographers, or radio announcers, or other musicians, or support industry, there’s just so much of a community around music that just exists from just going out to see it, or just even living in the area. There’s so many people like when you walk out the street you wave to that I wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for music. What it is is just feeling like you’re part of really an extended family,
John Murch: Tara Simmons, who her album was released in recent weeks, and on that record is that sense of many people getting together to making sure that a record actually gets released. I just get that feeling that’s the Bris-Vegas vibe.
Jeremy Neale: Yeah, 100%. I think that that record is a beautiful example, and it was amazing to … It was sad that we couldn’t have the in-person event that we were going to have, but the online one was lovely. I tuned in on Sunday to that event. I think that Yanto did a fantastic job ensuring that what Tara envisioned for the record was possible. I knew Tara, as well, and she’s a wonderful person. It’s lovely to see there’s a legacy in that record, and that the community got around it as much as they did. There’s people that got involved all across the board, like Sam Hales from Jungle Giants got involved. Dean Magraw, former Hungry Kids of Hungary, and Rolls Bayse through some beautiful work there, as well. Chris O’Neil on drums and James Wright on drums on a track, as well. It was that. It was just like, Who are the people who can make this record really sing and helped her out in that time. Yeah, we have, thankfully, a really beautiful record now.
John Murch: One of the gutsiest women I’ve ever met in the Australian music scene. It’s just outstanding the work that she was able to do during those last few days when some very, as we’ll discuss with Yanto for the listener, some very determined days on her behalf.
Jeremy Neale: Oh, 100%. Even following so closely during that time what Tara was putting out on social media, as well, and how open she was about her journey right to the end, and then even doing those studio sessions, doing those vocal takes from a hospital bed, is just … Yeah, it’s a lot.
John Murch: Jeremy, what was the Grant McLennan Fellowship experience like for you as the 2017 recipient?
Jeremy Neale: It was life changing, which sounds intense, but it’s just true. It was the fact that I could spend X amount of time not worrying about living expenses and just create in a very vibrant city where I could kind of, yes, experiment and, I guess, face some of the things that I had avoided in music, namely with co-writing. I was like, If I want to stay in this biz I’ve got to push myself in other ways. So, my time in New York started off with me doing a two-week intensive at NYU, which is all based around songwriting, and kind of like run by a bunch of people who had kind of been in the big Grammy game in the ’80s and ’90s, which is like a great time. I think it’s very cool.
Jeremy Neale: One of the teachers I had that I was showing songs to was one of the co-writers of Billy Ocean’s When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going. I was like, “Hell yeah, I’m in the right place.” Amazing way to start the trip. It was intense, too, because it was … We’d do a day where they were like, Okay, we’re going to tell you all we know about this kind of vibe in songwriting. Maybe today we’re going to really hyperfocus on what you want the lyrics in your verse to do, or something like that. Then, they would set us into groups of three, and the group of three would change over time, but they would set us in a group and they would say, Okay, your challenge tonight, you’d work late into the evening, is to write a song based on this brief. So, one of the briefs would have been a pure love song, so you have to write a song with no conflict, but still make it have integrity and hold interest.
Jeremy Neale: You were getting all these kinds of challenges like this, getting put into groups of people you had never worked with before, and then asked to make something really fantastic, which I really enjoyed. I made a bunch of great friends and really challenged myself because I was very afraid of songwriting because of earlier experiences in songwriting that were not enjoyable. This kind of really opened me up to what songwriting could be in a co-writing sense, and let me know what my role was in songwriting. I guess the biggest thing I took from that is that when you’re in that room you don’t have to write, if there’s three of you, you don’t have to write one third exactly of the thing. You don’t have to chime in every so often just trying to make sure that you’re keeping up with what’s going on in that room.
Jeremy Neale: Your task, and your role in that space, might just be to bring a particular vibe. You might be bringing an energy that allows other people to create better. You may just throw one line into the mix that changes everything and makes a song, that could be the perfect line, because you’ve had this bird’s eye view on it. You might be the mediator. You might be able to see these ideas coming in from the two other parties and be like, That’s pretty good, but I think this way’s a bit better. So, let’s maybe let’s go down that path and just see where we end up, and we can always come back to the other idea, but I think this one seems really interesting for now. So, maybe let’s just pursue that, and if we find a dead end we’ll come back to the other idea. So, it’s those kind of things. It’s a balancing a room and finding out what your place is, and just being okay with whatever your role is in that particular session.
John Murch: Is there some of your own material that through the process you felt more comfortable about sharing with other writers? What I’m suggesting there was you sort of came in with songs that were just yours and that you wouldn’t share, and then by the end of the process you’re like, Look, I trust you. Here are some things we can work with.
Jeremy Neale: We weren’t bringing in stuff that we already had, but I think when I made those friendships with people I was showing them stuff, because it’s really comfortable to be in a space with other songwriters who kind of … Sometimes when you are writing you exist on your own little Island and you get so caught up in like analyzing this piece so much. Then, you’ve in this community with all these other songwriters who are doing the exact same kind of thing, and so they understand your experience. So, it was so lovely that afterwards having this group of friends, and I would show them what I was working on for what would be the album We Were Trying To Make It Out, and get their opinions. It was actually just such a lovely release to be able to share that with people who understood, I guess, in that way, and understood the conflict of trying to get the track. Right.
John Murch: What kind of energy was it injecting into you as a person from Australia who’d landed in America?
Jeremy Neale: I guess the main thing was it was just giving me a big sense of kind of a wide open freedom. It was just like there is this amount of time, you just have to exist and create. It’s nice to have clear boundaries but within those clear boundaries an open field. Having that was amazing. It allowed me to kind of see what I wanted to really say in the record, which is important, because I was usually so reactive being in my home life. I would exist reacting to life. What do I do next? What’s next, what’s next, what’s next? That kind of fell away, and I could say, Okay, what has this last 10 years even been for me? What is important that I say on this record? Now it’s time to get meticulous in getting it right, and that just meant a lot of rehashing lyrics, and really just me and a notepad or me and a guitar trying to craft something that was cohesive and had something of value to say.
John Murch: Currently in the early 30s, and like very much the early 30s, what do you see that next decade being like for you?
Jeremy Neale: That’s a great question. I mean, going into fatherhood I want that to take priority. So, I’m just going to try and get a rhythm and a routine for that to do that as right as I can, and craft a nice stable home environment, and maybe try in these wild times to kind of have a more stable kind of financial position I think is important, or at least has been an impression to me from not having that in my own childhood as something that is an important focus. I think that, obviously, I still want to create but in a way that is sustainable, not in a way that’s like I’m putting it all on the line. I will put it all in line emotionally, but I probably can’t afford to financially. So, that changes the output of which …
Jeremy Neale: At this stage things could change. I could hit the musical lottery. You never know. I could have a sleeper hit somewhere. Norway could be loving what I do on this album, and we’ll find out in six months’ time. I want to approach music in a way that still allows me to create, and entertain, and still have that community. I think that’ll become apparent. So, whether that’s the fact that I’m like, Well look, I got this kid, I’m singing them all these silly songs all the time, maybe I’ll put out a children’s album. Maybe I want to funnel that creativity into a T-Rax children’s book. Or, maybe I don’t want to have anything to do with children’s music, I want to keep making the music I’m making, but maybe I have to do it in a slightly more lo-fi way, or a less meticulous studio kind of way. Or, maybe I have to do a genre jump. I know that I want to keep creating, but I know I want stability. So, those are the two kind of driving factors that go into my path moving forward. It’s the juggle of trying to maintain that, but it’s good to know. It’s good to have those buzzwords to guide me in that time.
John Murch: Considering your life story and where things have been, heading into fatherhood how are you keeping your own mental health ahead of the game?
Jeremy Neale: That’s been a big trial and error of my life, as well, but finding all the things that have worked to that is mostly I’ve been a fan of … Some kind of routine, I think, is great, but crucial in that routine for me, and it’s pretty universally accepted as being exercise, I was a big yoga guy for a number of years. I’ve gotten back into that now that I’m doing it via TV, because I can’t go out in the world. I was also, for the last 18 months, particularly, really loved the gym, not in a huge gains way just in a, This is really good for me kind of way. Doing my weekly PT classes and then maintaining a schedule between that, I think fantastic.
Jeremy Neale: I love the sunshine, and I love keeping tabs on my self talk I think is very important. It’s so hard to pick up on initially sometimes when you start to go down some kind of spiral of poor self talk, but it is catching yourself out. It is being the watcher of your own thoughts and not being too closely attached to them. I think the easiest way to have a good day is to start the day in a very calm space. So, if you can prioritize that first, even if it’s just like five minutes of your day, and there’s very efficient ways to do it. I tend to do the kind of thing where you wake up in the morning and then you look around the room and you just name things as you see them, it’s like a break in your thought that would otherwise might go straight into, Oh, what I’ve got to do today, or all the things that you might stress about. It’s just like, Okay, what’s around me? Then, what can I hear, as well? What sounds can I hear in the distance? It’s engaging those senses.
Jeremy Neale: Obviously, it’s all the baseline meditation stuff of just having a few breaths where you focus entirely on the breath. It’s about feeling your body, all of your body that you can, and contacting with your bed while you’re waking up. If you can start your day in a calm way you’re preventing an avalanche, because if you start with a pretty big boulder at the top of that Hill, that snowball thing, it just gets huge by the end of the day. So, I think it’s attacking it first on. I think there’s very efficient ways to do that. There are as small as one-minute sessions on like the Headspace App, and similar Apps, so your day begins in that space, and you can revisit it later on if you need to, but I think that’s really essential.