On a Saturday afternoon in Capetown, basking in a corner of the Old Biscuit Mill- an erstwhile mill turned into a buzzing art and craft market- Jeremy strummed his guitar inconspicuously. Taken in by his music, Motheo walked into the picture with a polite request, ‘If I may rap along?’ This was back in 2010.
Fast forward to 2013: Jeremy Loops is a rage in South Africa, after having performed in Rocking the daisies and Oppikoppi festival to over 10000 plus audience. And on this World Music Day, they came to the Capital as an upcoming international music band under Viacom 18’s emerging artistes platform - Emerge. Jeremy, armed with his loop peddle, harmonica and guitar; Motheo Moleko with his engaging rap; and Jamie Faull with his smooth saxophone tones made a debut in Delhi with some balmy notes, a heart full of curiosity for India, and exuberance writ large on their faces. Millennium Post catches up with Jeremy.
How’s India, going by the first impressions?
I have been here since today morning but I always dreamt of coming to India as a little boy. The things that I thought of imaginatively, I have already sensed them: the smells, the people, the crazy motorcyclists…Growing up in South Africa, I had quite a few Indian friends. So, it’s not foreign for me.
Looping live on stage post a degree in finance was a big transition. What did you set out for?
I am a creative person by nature who was balancing the creative side with academics while growing up. I did my B.Sc in property development and finance.
The academic pressures made me go more creative. By the end of four years of college, when I had to take up a corporate job, I wanted to be in a band. I knew a lot of bands never take off or fail quickly and I had never sung before. I could only play guitar, so nobody would have accepted me back then.
So, in 2007, I sailed off on a yacht and carried a set of loop peddles to escape for a few years. That extra time on my hands, my solitude, night time photography and music forced me to be more creative and dreamy. I have always loved Neil Young’s ’Dreaming man’, I connect to the song that goes this way: I am a dreaming man but that’s my problem.. I can’t say when I am not being real. It is wonderful to travel around the world with my music.
Was meeting Motheo in the Old biscuit mill, a significant juncture for your musical journey?
Old biscuit mill is this organic place to go to for food and craft markets. I had just come back from sailing then and didn’t know what to do with my life. I was in a dark space. I had all this material I had been writing and I wanted to be in a band but I had never performed.
I was making folk music and he jammed in with rap. Two weeks later, I was invited to play a gig in a club that made me believe, ‘maybe I can do something.’
Quoting you, ‘I was scared of walking on stage to a gathering of 20000 people…’ Does the fear still overpower the performer in you?
People always tell me that the scare would subside while excitement grows on.
Standing amidst so many people out there, you have to grow over your personal barriers and insecurities. Its your music that you are putting out there and if people don’t like it, it gets personal. With looping, we make our music live, so there are more chances of mistakes but the fear dissipates sooner now.
What inspires you as a musician?
Folk movement in the last few years by bands such as Mumford and sons.Ten years ago I couldn’t have been making my kind of music, but now the folk electronic music is commercially feasible. And I love music-- live music by real people. Of my own songs, I really connect to ‘Power’. I made it to motivate myself and listening onto the radio, people connect to it in the same way, while starting their day in the morning.
Is there a dream platform where you want to perform?
I think I told myself, when I play in Glastonbury festival in UK, I will believe I have really achieved. But my goals are constantly changing. That’s the problem with human nature!
Now, I am trying to set my goals as to where I want to spend my time. I don’t want to be a band that tours all around the world the entire year because it is incredibly taxing to be on road all the time. It will be better for us to find places where we resonate with the people to make them our strongholds. Eventually I would love to jam with the tabla and sitar players in India. It would be great if there could be a musical exchange between South Africa and India.