Interview: Jeremy Neale
Congratulations on the new record! The first thing that sprang to mind when listening to it was that it had a very warm, ‘Happy Days’ era kind of feel to it. Was this intentional, or just how your music panned out?
Yeah, I think it’s just naturally how it comes out now, I think that music, that 60-80’s happy pop has been ingrained in me since a very young age and its my musical foundation now.
So on that, which artists can we look to for your inspirations on this record and in your formative years?
Previously, I’ve listened to a lot of 60’s music, a lot of 80’s new wave and new romantic as well, but for this record I really honed in on ‘The Cars’ and Elvis Costello. This recorded started out with a real power pop focus tinged in that golden era of 1978-83 and then through the writing and the production we developed it a bit so it wasn’t, I guess so ‘samey’ as things that have come before it.
The albums called ‘Getting the Team Back Together’. Who are the team and why are they getting back together?
Well as far as the team goes its a fictitious kind of romp, I just thought the concept of getting a team back together that never existed was kinda funny. But then symbolically ‘getting the team back together’ is getting myself back together - getting a life that works. So the team members are all the different elements of my life and its been about getting them all together and working.
So is this record a reflection of that process of re-organising your life?
It was in the midst of that during the writing but then when we finished the recording, which was mid 2016, that was a time when I got a really good flow going so it takes us right through the journey. Funnily enough releasing the record has thrown my life back out of balance for a good 6-8 weeks, but now we’re back on the horse and I’ve got the team back together.
On the artwork on the album there’s a big T-Rex character in it, is that a nod to your Velociraptor days?
Well, I sort of simultaneously put out a comic book on the same day I released the record…
So the comic book is like a ‘buddy-cop’ style adventure with me and my best friend, ’T-Rax’ who is, y’know like a billionaire Dinosaur DJ, and T-Rax, written like ‘Trax’ you get it? A DJ. I mean, I dunno, it may be good it may not, but there’s a comic book out about it. I just thought it was a nice tie in, there’s a lot of nods to some of the pop songs that I really like and ’T-Rax’ represents the buddy-cop formula I really like - back-to-back arms crossed kinda thing with a bit of a sci-fi tinge, its just a big pop culture nod. But yeah, there is legitimately a comic book called ’T-Rax’ out now.
Should we treat ’T-Rax’ as part of the album release, or something entirely different?
I think sometimes I derail myself a bit when I write a really serious record from a place of deep personal analysis or communicating my life experiences and headspace and then add a really playful, silly aesthetic to it thats not overly serious, but I think thats probably the most honest thing because most people are lots of different things. People have fun, they’re not serious all the time so I think its a really honest way to communicate myself as a whole, so I guess it is part of the record because its a part of me trying to express myself as best I can.
Given how important it is to you to portray the most honest, complete version of yourself, is your social media activity designed to challenge what has essentially become a very dishonest portrayal of people?
I think its what people want to see hey. Not that I mean everyone wants someone to be a goofball on social media but people want community and they want to understand people. I think the best thing you can offer to the digital landscape is a ‘real’ (obviously social media friendly) version of yourself, especially when there’s so much negativity on there. Sometimes you just have to communicate a message but if I can entertain someone, and thats something they see when they’re scrolling through in the morning then I think thats really positive, I at least want to be a part of a little bit of positivity. You know, no one’s gonna laugh out loud, but if you can get just a little smirk that thats a big win against the grain.
Jeremy Neale is taking his full band show on the road early this year and keep your eyes peeled for a T-Rax app game.