Image by: Taahir Matthews
Saggy Stone Beer & Music Festival is just around the bend and going on last year’s sensational success you can betcha you’ll catch us front stage again this February.
This year the team at Saggy Stone are set to present yet another stellar lineup headlined by local phenomenon, globally renowned musician and conservationist – Jeremy Loops. With such amazing sneak peeks of his upcoming album “Waves” blasting across social channels we simply knew we had to touch base ahead of his first Cape Town gig this year at Saggy Stone 2018…
MCBN: It was an eventful year for you in 2017, with international and local tours, new music and video releases – did you manage to take a well-deserved break over the festive season? What did you get up and where were you for the countdown?
Jeremy: I did manage to take a break! We only really got into it super late, like the 22nd or so, but I went away to this little river retreat I recently bought with my family where I’m planning to build a recording studio. It’s in a place called Vermaaklikheid, about three hours outside Cape Town. I had a small but dope crew of people out there with me for the countdown. We were just dancing under the stars. It was exactly what I needed.
MCBN: That sounds truly rejuvenating and we can’t wait to see Facebook updates on your new studio! Talking about studios, you released two brand new singles during December last year – the first “Waves” which has since taken local radio waves by storm as well as the internet with its mind-blowing video counterpart. Tell us more about where you shot the video and what it was like working with YouTube sensation Ben Brown?
Jeremy: We shot the video for Waves at a secret spot out in Mozambique. Our goal was to get beautiful, lush blue water, that was warm enough to surf in without having to wear a wetsuit. And at first it was kind of a wishlist – my team was so slammed, nobody could figure out how we’d make the time for it – but my whole team needed a break so badly, that I figured we’d roll the music video shoot into a work retreat. I just said to the team ‘we’re doing this’, and Ben said ‘we’re in’ and that music video is really the result of jumping in and deciding to make it work.
Ben’s been my housemate for nearly three years now, so we’ve been working together for at least that long. It’s great but I think when you have two hyper-creative people working together, it can be tricky managing the admin side of things like working within time and financial constraints against the desire to make something phenomenal, budgets be damned! Haha. We’ve gotten better though, and we’re both lucky to have good teams of people working around us.
MCBN: Your housemate, that’s so dope! It must be like a vortex of genius ideas in there just swirling around waiting to be realised – like the lyrics to your second-latest release, The Shore FT. Motheo Moleko. The track has a rather powerful message with the lyrics being the forefront of the music video. Tell us about your reach, and what you hope listeners will take from it.
Jeremy: The world’s in a fucked up place right now. It’s always been messed up in one way or another, but the difference now is that people in positions of power aren’t even ashamed to be openly bigoted, or flagrantly corrupt, or boastfully murderous. And my music has always been a reaction to the place I’m in or the things I’m thinking or feeling at a time, and the last few years have been really dark socially. Look at the crop of leaders the planets cobbled together. It’s a joke. That’s really the place The Shore comes from. My hope is that with the reach we have, people are able to form their own ideas on where we are as a planet and how we, ordinary people, fit into it all, and the kind of power we have. I never want to be didactic in song – people will take from The Shore whatever they’ll take from it – but I feel the message is clear and people will respond in whichever ways they feel called to.
Image by: Taahir Matthews
MCBN: We couldn’t agree more and truly appreciate artists like yourself who still value the message they send and take responsibility for what they put out into this world. On that global note, how do you feel the local and international response has been so far for both singles?
Jeremy: The response has been great. We landed key playlists on Spotify, and we’re seeing our listenership around the world grow rapidly. A new song that’s well-received is legitimately like the tide coming in – all the other songs rise with it. And I know ‘Waves” is a slight sonic departure from what I’ve made before, but our community trusts us, and they’ve gone with it and embraced it, and lots of new people are discovering me. South African radio’s been great, and TV has been fantastic too, so green-light all around. It’s still early days – I think it’ll grow more – but we’re feeling good about it.
MCBN: Sonic departure maybe, but we sure have embraced every last bit of your latest work. Did you have a clear direction and concept for this album before the “get-go”? Where did you draw your inspiration from and can we expect more amazing collabs?
Jeremy: I started writing the album in the middle of 2015, and while I had good songs popping up here and there, I didn’t really turn the corner until September in 2016. Waves, oddly enough, was one of the first songs I wrote where water – a strong theme throughout the album – emerged as a core concept for me. I had been so frustrated forcing myself to work on this album because I knew there was urgency around making it, that I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. I remember vividly going for a surf one afternoon, just deciding I wouldn’t force it and I would be patient with myself. Something happened in the water that day – the ocean is powerful like that – because that same night we wrote Waves and I knew we were on to something. I decided then that I’d add surfing and being outside as frequently as possible to my routine, and the music began coming with much more ease.
So, from about September 2016 right until December 2017 when I wrote the last song for the album, I was at peak fitness, to draw an analogy from sport. I had written to completion roughly 60 songs and had 30 great ones to pick the album tracks from.
As to collaborations, no other front-facing stuff other than another feature from Motheo Moleko. The difference with this album is that I produced it with some of the biggest producers in the world, with Will Hicks, who, among other things produced the insanely huge Ed Sheeran record Perfect, doing the bulk of the production.
Outside of my songwriting, I think sonically the leap in this album is going to surprise people most.
MCBN: We always love hearing about an artists process and the manner in which Waves came to fruition sounds organic, honest and wholesome. Now that we have, you describe your new album in 3 words.
Jeremy: Fire flame emoji! Haha.
MCBN: Well played and so true, Mr Loops you are most certainly on fire right now. Tell us more about your annual tour last year, any specific gig/festival that has stuck with you the most and why?
Jeremy: Last year was actually not that hectic touring wise because I needed to make time to write and record the album. We played about 70 shows, which is way less than the 110+ we do on average per year. The big milestone is we continue to grow in our major markets. For our headline shows, we do anything from 1500 to 2500 tickets per show in several cities in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland, and the following is growing really nicely in the U.S and Australia. The big highlight, though, was playing Lollapalooza Paris. Lollapalooza is a huge festival. For context, the day of our set, we shared our stage with Skepta, The Roots, and The Weekend. That was it. And for us, it was all about proving to ourselves that we belonged at this level, and the Parisians’ response to our set was all the confirmation we needed. It was amazing. Really felt like breaking through a ceiling, and we’ve always prided ourselves on our live show, so that was big.
MCBN: That passion and pride have definitely always materialized and resonated with us seeing when seeing you perfom live. Your first gig in the Cape this year will also be your first appearance at the second annual Saggy Stone Beer and Music Festival. With a such a huge success last year are you excited to be a part of this year’s line-up and to all your fans attending, can we expect to hear sneak peeks of the new album?
Jeremy: Lots of sneak peaks at Saggy Stone for sure! This is the time to see which songs work best in a live setting, and what better than effectively a Cape Town audience to test them on? Really looking forward to it.
MCBN: We’re super stoked to hear that and I’m sure your Cape Town fans can’t wait to be your audio guineas! This one’s for your inner conservationist – your passion for the ocean/nature and surfing is more than obvious, what is your message to Capetownians regarding the current local water crisis and the global oceanic pollution crisis and do you have any personal at home solutions?
Jeremy: So, I co-founded a tree planting organisation called Greenpop, so environmentalism has always been a big priority for me. Regarding our local water crisis, what is there to say? I don’t think people have fully grasped just how dire things will be if we do hit so-called day zero. It’s a scary prospect. Nobody needs to be preached to anymore as everyone knows what they need to do, the hope is just that they’re doing it before it gets too late. We have a few easily replicated at home solutions – if it’s yellow let it mellow, showering with buckets to collect grey water, limited shower times, and reusing water wherever possible. Luckily my household has a fairly small footprint in terms of gardening needs, but we have water tank solutions in place too. That said, I’m also a big believer in holding our institutions accountable, trying where possible to put pressure on the municipal and political structures who’s responsibility it is to create viable solutions to these challenges. Regarding pollution in the ocean, single-use plastics man, they’re such a killer! I’m constantly picking up plastic strewn along beaches or floating past me in the water. And I’d always implore ocean lovers to do the same.
MCBN: That’s really amazing and from all of us, thank you for all that you do, let’s hope your efforts can be an inspiration to many of your fans the way your music has and encourage them to take action. Lastly, to end on a special note, where is your favourite spot to surf here in Cape Town?
Jeremy: I can’t say the spot by name because it’s a special little secret spot in the Deep South. But I can say that when it’s working, it’s an absolutely world-class right-hander.
And of course, be sure catch his first CT gig of the year this February at Saggy Stone Beer & Music Festival – grab your tickets right here.