Jeremy Neale

To celebrate the release of new album We Were Trying To Make It Out, Jeremy Neale is heading to Adelaide this week to say hello to fans and play some new songs off the album. Sonically, We Were Trying to Make It Out contains Neale’s penchant for melodic hooks, delivered coherently and directly without compromise or pastiche. This is the Jeremy Neale sound – the result of years of searching and refining – honest, fully realised and immediate. Guitar pop underpinned by classic songwriting is potentially the recipe for finding oneself outside the current musical climate but is also the hallmark of creating something truly timeless. Jeremy speaks to Hi Fi Way about the album.

Fantastic work on the album, it must be a relief it is done?
Totally! A record is never finished until you commit it. There’s always more things you can do. Once it is set in stone and physically press it is very satisfying.

What did you think when you played it back start to end for the first time?
That’s a great question, I was really proud of it and still really proud of it because by the time a record comes out you’ve heard it too many times and a bit over it but I’m not over it which is a good thing. It feels like a really concise and all phonetically on point in relation to the last record I did which was more a collection of songs. This isn’t a concept album but a succinct narrative theme through out it.

Did it test you in a lot of ways you never thought it would?
Whenever I’m assembling a record how it tests me is that it dominates my head space for such a long amount of time and I’m always trying to refine things. Making sure I say what I want to say and make sure that it is clear. It is this thing that tests me in that it’s durational and occupies so much of my head space. This was the first recording rhythm I found myself in where things were really working in a fluid way. Just with the particular crew we had booked for this one, for the majority of the time there was the four of us in the studio all bouncing off each other producing the record. In that way it was the easiest recording process I’ve ever had.

Do you think you need to tour overseas first and build the Jeremy Neale name?
At this stage what I prioritise more is balance and routine. I used to want to tour a lot, now I want to tour to say hello to everyone and play the songs but I don’t have the ambition for overseas touring like I used to. I like to do a lap of Australia and say hi to my friends in each city and play for anyone who wants to hear the record.

Will that be with a band or solo mode?
I’m going to do an initial lap a few weeks after release acoustically to play the songs at their core. I hope to be able to bring the band around on a full tour later this year.

How do you think your sound has evolved on We Were Trying To Make Out?
I’d say it has been a gradual progression, there’s lots of guitar music that I love. I love power pop, I love a lot of 80s music and 60s pop as well. A few years ago I would write my own version of a band song that I love just while I was figuring out and refining what my sound is. Now I think what I’m doing is exactly what my sound is.

So you think you have found your voice and sound now?
Truly, I think so, it took many years to refine it but that is true for everything in life. I think I definitely have that sound and the ability now to coherently say what I’m trying to say. I like to be able to put my life experience in to songs in a way that has flourishes of poetry that is mostly quite direct.

Did you have any influences that were significant on this album?
I think on this record, I don’t know how much it translates but the things I was listening to at the time was Car Seat Headrest, Marshall Crenshaw, Talking Heads and I’m always listening to The Ramones but that was the selection of artists that were in the mix at the time.

What’s next for Jeremy Neale?
A lot of my time at the end of last year through to this year was dedicated to other projects. I’ve got a contract to write a musical which is a bit different for me from what I’m used to doing. We spent a lot of time with Velociraptor who are a twelve piece garage pop thing from Brisbane. We have taken a long hiatus and haven’t released anything since 2015, 2014 even and we’ve been working on an album that is nearly done and will be out by the end of the year.

Interview By Rob Lyon

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