jeremy neale

Getting The Team Back Together Again

Music is simultaneously my escape from and way of dealing with the world.

Jeremy Neale

Hi Jeremy and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Musicology.

Hey, no worries! It's great to be here!

Getting The Team Back Together canvases a great many concepts including; self-awareness, altruism and mental health. Was there an initial desire to create such a broad sweeping record that touches upon so many (if not at times polar) sentiments, or did it organically evolve that way?

Life can go a lot of places in a day, let alone during the period of time I wrote the record over, and so ‘Getting The Team Back Together’ is a reflection of my writing over the course of approximately one year. There are things that happen in life that are more conducive to being the subject of a song so it’s pretty organic as to what made it onto the album.

It is often said that lyrics are social portraits of everyday life and everyday people. What additional influences did you draw upon in piecing together the subject matter that this LP took inspiration from?

There is a lot of the everyday in this album but there’s also a lot of very specific ground I cover. Some of these are very personal things that relate to my own life - reviewing of my relationship with alcohol, tackling life-long mental health issues or the ending of a really negative business arrangement - but these are also issues that affect people across the board and so I hope there is comfort and understanding to be found for the listener.

Although the album is something of an introspective work and a personal comprehension of oneself, there is a transcendence that relates to the collective and not just the individual. What messages / demographic do you feel are the most relatable to what you are creating and ultimately to whom you were trying to connect with?

I guess in an effort to be as honest as possible and to be able to create with ease, I only write what I know. There are a few themes across my writing that I can imagine would pretty relatable if you and I share any of the same values, socio-economic positioning or view of self. I write as somebody who exists in the working class so my greatest adversary is trying to find time and money to accomplish anything of merit creatively. This in turn makes other aspects of life more difficult and often threatens balance… which is the perfect storm for more problems to write about haha. If you’re somebody who is trying their best, despite the odds, I think there’s something on the album for you.

You worked alongside producer Miro Mackie for this LP, what was it that Miro brought to the table that really shines through on this record?

Miro has all the best qualities that a human being and a producer should have - commitment, warmth, vision and a love of fine wine and powerful coffee. I had a ball working with him and I can’t wait to do it all again for the follow-up album! He really made the record all it could be and I’m just so thankful that the world brought us together for this project.

Having been in the music for some time and firmly cementing yourself in the Brisbane scene, what commonalities run through your previous work into Jeremy Neale and in what ways is Getting The Team Back Together Again a departure from your earlier material?

I can't escape my influences and the consistency of my surrounds. Brisbane is community over competition and so it’s a really interesting and supportive city to create in. There’s an immense freedom here. I guess the greatest thing that I’ve refined over the years is the ability to better communicate my thoughts into lyrics and my vision into music with the help of some truly fantastic musicians. I love guitar pop and it’s what I’m drawn to write, so the parallels to my earlier work are very obvious but this is by far my most fully realised project to date.

The video clip to your single Dancin' & Romancin' looks like it was a riot to make. Do you stringently storyboard the concepts before going into to shoot or take a bit more of an on the fly approach and just let the magic happen?

I usually start with an idea and then the collaboration really brings it to life. Fortunately I often get to work with a couple of amazing directors - Jennifer Embelton and Jeff Andersen Jnr - who are total weapons at making these dreams a reality. For Dancin’ & Romancin’ - Jen prepared an elaborate brief after we’d met to discuss the concept and her casting, directing and vision created something that I’m so proud to have representing the song.

On the other hand the clip for Small Talk is a little more straight forward and has a real The Go-Betweens flavour to it. Did you have one eye on the past and one on the future when working on the tune and clip?

After repeat viewings of the film clip for Prefab Sprout’s ‘Johnny Johnny’, I got pretty obsessed with the magic of a straight-up performance video that capitalised on the magic of the space, the musicians and capturing a moment in time. There’s something very special about the visuals of the 80s and it’s something I’m often looking to for inspiration.

You have just announced a string of tour dates. When it comes to performing live, what is it about your shows that you try to bring to life that make them a uniquely Jeremy Neale experience?

I think it’s as much about the energy in the venue as it is on stage and I think that my music attracts some truly wonderful people. Sure, a J Neale & The One True Loves show is the only place you’re gonna see my songs performed but it could also be the place where you make a high quality friend for life.

Lastly, what does music give you that nothing else does?

Sheer quantity of daydreams about what is possible and what I might like to create. Music is simultaneously my escape from and way of dealing with the world.