Meet The Artist: Jeremy Loops

Capetown artist Jeremy Loops brings his four piece band to Bristol’s O2 Academy on October 20.

Borrowing liberally from jazz, rock, Folk and hip hop, Loops sound is based on looping and layering various instruments including guitars, harmonicas, banjos and beat-boxing. In the band are vocalist / rapper Motheo Moleko, Jamie Faull on the Sax / Keys / Drums as well as Sean Ou Tim on Bass/Drums. Together they bring a completely different, unique and positive sound to a new school of Alt Folk music.

Andy Howells recently put questions to Jeremy Loops

How did you first start out in music?
When I was in college studying for a degree in finance and property management, I disliked the work so much I used to procrastinate by playing guitar. At one point, I got really into playing my guitar, but I thought nothing of it. It just brought me joy. Then after college, dreading the idea of working in the finance idea, I found a job on a billionaire’s super yacht, and I spent my days working on the deck with the rest of the crew, and my nights just making music on my guitar and loop pedal. I got home with all these songs and I played them for my family and some friends. Everybody was like, ‘yo, this is good. You should explore it. At least play one or two shows.’ Still hating the idea of working in the finance industry, I figured I’d use my savings to bankroll some of my life for six months and give this music thing a try. I booked my own shows and things just caught fire. And now, here we are.

Who or what has inspired you most on your musical journey?
I draw my inspiration for music from the most rudimentary day to day experiences. Everybody searches for these magnificent moments in life, as if the place you come from and the people that surround you and the family who love you aren’t exactly that. Sure, I have extraordinary experiences, but I’m not one of those people who needs those things to draw artistic expression. In terms of musicians, I’ve grown up loving Woodie Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, and in my teens I was really into punk music and hip hop music, so all of that has influence my sound and approach to songwriting somewhat.

Can you give us some background about your latest release?
Trading Change is my debut album. It actually came out in April 2014 in South Africa, and finally got a European release in February 2016. We spent the two years after dropping the album just building momentum and interest in my music outside South Africa. The project and the concept behind Trading Change is looking at change as your currency in life. If you could change one thing about who you are for who you could be or you who want to be, what does that look like and what does that feel and what do you go through as you do that? It was my way of documenting that transition in my life for me. Giving up finance and an industry whose sole interest is money for an artistic and creative expression even if it meant giving up financial security in the process. I know that makes it sound like a glum, solemn album, but it’s actually an incredibly joyous album. There’s a lot of beauty in breaking past our barriers and seeing our fears for what, or rather how little, they are.

You’re touring the UK shortly are you looking forward to that?
I love touring the UK! British people are such music lovers, it makes it so incredibly rewarding putting on a show for people who are so passionate about music and are so central to contemporary popular music’s history and culture. There’s something very visceral about shows in the United Kingdom that gets us all really amped to tour here whenever we can.

What can people expect from your forthcoming Bristol gig?
I think the real question is what can I expect from the people of Bristol! We played a show in Bristol at a venue called Thekla, which is like this docked boat that’s been turned into a music venue, this past February this year. I was legitimately worried we were going to go through the floor people were partying and jumping and jamming so hard. And what was trippy for me is that it was our very first time playing in Bristol ever. I called my booking agent and manager right afterwards and said ‘these people are crazy! I love them! Prioritise Bristol for the next tour no matter what.’

What else have you got planned for the rest of the year?
We’ll be on tour until December 4th so that, along with continuing to write songs for album two, are my only priorities right now. It’s so important we give ourselves every chance to really focus on writing great songs for album two, and even though I absolutely love touring, maybe above all else, we have to give ourselves the space to write new music. To really retreat to those quiet nights in my tiny cabin in that yacht, so to speak.