Jeremy Loops tropical stylings wash up on our shores this May for the singer’s second tour down under.
Jeremy released his first EP in 2011, after spending a couple of years working on a super-yacht and avoiding the career path that his business degree was sending him in.
While he was unsure about where his life would take him at the time, his follow-up album in 2014 debuted at #1 in South Africa, garnered him a cult fan-base around the world and cemented him as a conduit of good vibes.
Almost every track on Jeremy’s new album, 'Critical As Water', feels like a song of the summer, with infectiously lush beats that make it difficult to stay still.
But it’s the understated wisdom of his lyrics that distinguish him from more hollow pop acts. Jeremy cuts through our 21st century obsessions with fame and wealth, tempting us with a more simple life, sunny side up.
You’ve had a whirlwind couple of months, touching down in Europe, the UK and the US with the tour; how has it felt to share 'Critical As Water' with the world? [Jeremy] It’s been amazing sharing the album with the world. That album’s been a long, long time coming, and to have our community come out in their numbers to support us and to all know the songs from 'Critical As Water' so soon after the album’s release was fantastic.
The album’s really kicked off a period of hyper growth for us, which is super exciting for me. Everything’s falling into place, starting with the music right to the shows and to our mission. It’s a good feeling.
The past couple of years have held some rapid growth for you; you’re headlining stages that you used to be opening for. What have you learnt about yourself since you released 'Trading Change’? I’ve learned that success, both professionally and just being a decent person, is day to day work one has to always chip away at.
'Trading Change' was this rocket fuel that propelled us to dizzying heights, and when I got there I was so afraid of stalling and crashing back down to earth that it affected my songwriting and I guess just how I felt where my life was at and the situation I found myself in.
When I decided that my worth wasn’t measured against my ‘success’, it was a liberating thing for my songwriting and for my personhood, and everyone close to me is reaping rewards from that.
It’s obviously a stretch to say the ‘Jeremy who played to 50 people is the exact same as the Jeremy who is playing to 5,000’, but I think my values haven’t shifted a bit. The rooms get bigger, which is great, but the purpose doesn’t change. It just becomes clearer.
Are there any memories from the tour so far that stick out in your mind as really special? We had a tour bus this go around and it simplified everyone’s lives significantly. I think back to just how much joy it brought everyone.
The shows were all great, because the team works hard, but it was nice for me to help make our lives on the road a bit easier.
Have you picked up any tricks for surviving life on the road and staying fresh after so many performances? Sleep whenever you can. Work out every single day – your body and your mind will thank you for that. Eat only good food. The cost of eating unhealthy food is borne long after your body’s digested all of that processed filth.
Love the audience above all else. Live music is not for us, the performers, it’s for the attendees, and if you truly understand the joy and meaning your music can bring them, then you’ll find eternal meaning in it yourself, even when you’re 2,000+ shows into your career.
Do the places you visit in your travels influence your writing or your instrumentation? Everything has an influence in my songwriting. Songs on 'Critical As Water' were written in Berlin, London, Prague, Cape Town and several other places, and I think the location certainly plays an influence on the inspirations you’re drawing on.
Instrumentation, not so much. Outside of the folk standard of a band built around an acoustic guitar and harmonica, almost all my instrumentation inspirations come from South African music specifically and African music in general.
What cities are you excited to play for in Australia? I was really drawn to Melbourne’s lifestyle. Not being Australian, I don’t want to get this wrong or misrepresent, but I got the sense that socially, that city is Australia’s cultural melting pot.
Some people care for a national identity that is homogenous, but that’s just not me. The more people I see from different nationalities and walks of life in one place, the more I believe that place has a special sauce other cities just don’t have.
Do you have any favourite beaches down under? I’m a musician by profession and at heart, but surfing runs deep in my veins, so the Aussie beaches I’m most drawn to are the iconic surf locations. In this sense, I’d say my top 5 are Bells Beach, Byron Bay, Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, Three Bears in the Margaret River Region, and both Whitehaven and Fraser Island in Queensland.
What do enjoy about playing live? Energy. You can have a relationship with recorded music, but that connection is nothing like having a crowd in front of you or a band in front of you. That stuff is the purest way to consume music.
How’s your live set different from the album recording? I started as a live act first before I recorded any music, so I had this strange problem of having to figure out how to translate what I did - usually on a loop pedal - to studio work.
I benefited from that really, because I’ve figured out the optimal way to structure a song for albums verses structuring a song for our shows. I think the primary difference in presentation is that we give ourselves some scope for improvisation with the live shows, and a live show’s energy takes our music to a slightly different place.
You’re a passionate advocate for the environment and for the need to care about how our world is treated. What originally sparked that interest for you? I worked on a billionaire oligarch’s super-yacht. That lifestyle was so wasteful, it was scary. We were burning fuel by the tonnes just for him to be on the boat for two weeks living this obscenely opulent life. It was all waste.
That wasn’t the spark, because as a surfer I’ve always cared for the environment. But that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Why do you think music is such a powerful way to spread messages about our world? Music is one of the few things in the world that still unites people. It’s so powerful to have people who are ideologically, socially or politically different being able to put their issues aside in the name of anything, and music is one of those things.
Furthermore, when people come to enamour other people, for better or worse, that person being idolised or loved has special access to their admirer’s beliefs and ideas. That’s obviously an extremely dangerous tool in the wrong hands, but a great tool in the right hands.
Musicians still have that hold on people. We’re such a decentralised world of people, so to still have focal points who can pull attention to the state of the world is beautiful and music, to me, feels like one of the last such sources ordinary people can engage with.
What’s next for Jeremy Loops; both as an artist and human being? Right now, I’m trying to shore up resources for my family and for my causes. We have something beautiful happening with the band and I believe in our direction and our purpose has become clearer.
So I’m spending my time figuring out how to translate my individual success into building a platform that will allow others to succeed. Other South African musicians. Other activists.
Jeremy Loops Tour Dates
Tue 22 May - Capitol (Perth) Wed 23 May - Fowler's Live (Adelaide) Thu 24 May - The Corner Hotel (Melbourne) Sat 26 May - The Zoo (Brisbane) Sun 27 May - The Factory Theatre (Sydney)