Jeremy M – Louie Johnson-Tod
We were lucky enough to catch up with JEREMY M following the stunning release of ‘Gone Forever’. Enjoy now!
Hi Jeremy, how did you first get into music?
I got my start with music, writing my own songs when I was 14. I used to write all my lyrics on pieces of paper with the key and tempo of the songs and keep them in a folder, and I would record demos of them on GarageBand on my iPad.
I have lost most of the recordings now, but I still have my folder of song lyrics, although I now have too many songs to fit in it! I have since made the move over to writing my lyrics in my notes app.
Who influenced your latest release, ‘Gone Forever’?
When I started writing this song, I told myself I wanted to feel that it was powerful enough to be performed with just piano and vocals and still convey the same amount of emotion, in the same way that Adele is able to captivate her audiences with her moving performances and expert songwriting. I’m not sure whether I actually achieved this goal as I have not yet performed the song with piano, but I’m proud of what I was able to come up with.
‘Gone Forever’ is the second single from your upcoming debut EP. Can you tell us any more about the EP release?
This EP started out as a project I set myself about a year ago to keep me busy during my gap year. At the time, I had been writing a lot and trying to teach myself to produce music, and I had collected I wanted to have finished and released it before I left for uni and —, so it seemed attainable, but that point would have been months ago now, so it has taken longer than I expected. I’m now going to uni in 2023, though, so at least I will still get to release it before I go.
You wrote and produced ‘Gone Forever’ yourself; what was that process like?
It was interesting making this song cause when I started putting together the first version of it, all I had was GarageBand on my phone like I used to do when I was younger. Looking back, I think this may have been a crucial step in the process of developing my sonic ideas without having to worry too much about proper production practices.
About six months after I wrote the song, I finished school and got a laptop from my dad, and I moved my GarageBand project over and was able to play around with it for the first time in a more substantial DAW. I eventually ended up sending the song to a friend who added bass and acoustic guitar as well as some additional vocals, and I think that without his help, the song would not have felt complete.
What motivates you to make music?
I have been trying to answer this for myself for a while, and I think what it boils down to is I love taking a feeling and turning it into music, and effectively transforming what I hear in my head into real sound. It has also been extremely therapeutic to express my thoughts and emotions in music and lyrics and see into my own brain.
At multiple points over the last couple of years, I have lost this motivation and wondered why I keep making music, and my main worry has been whether or not I’m good enough for someone other than my family and friends to care about what I make. But now I have a reason to keep going, and I think that even if it was just me, my friends and my family, I would still keep making music and sharing it.
If you could open for any artist/band, who would it be?
Finding the right answer to this question was very difficult, but I think if it could be anyone, it would be Alfie Templeman. I am very much inspired by the fact that he has been producing his own stuff for so long, much longer than me, and even though he is now pretty well known, he still produces most of his stuff himself. I have only ever gigged once, and it was just me and my acoustic guitar, but I would love to put together a proper band to realise my sound in a live environment. It would definitely make it easier to bring the energy to the stage!
What is your biggest mistake in the music industry so far?
My biggest mistake has definitely been comparing myself to other artists. Looking at what other people are doing/have done is good for inspiration or guidance, but I let it define my view of what I should be doing and where I should be, and it has led me to rush the creation and release of certain things in the past. Now I know to regard my music as art and that it’s better to value the creation of something I am proud of than the production of many songs.
What are your other passions aside from music?
I have recently taken up film photography which I love. I have not yet learned how to edit photos, but I am having fun experimenting with both B&W and colour film stocks and seeing what I come up with. The next thing I would like to learn is about ISO and exposure. I think I understand it in a theoretical sense, but I wouldn’t really know what to do in a practical situation.
My other passions are baking, graphic design and filmmaking. I have been starting off with making basic things like a simple cake and an apple crumble, but the hardest part is finding the time to go out and buy extra ingredients that we don’t necessarily have lying around the house already.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
There are lots of things in the music industry at the moment that are making it difficult for the average music creator to succeed, but the one thing I would change is making the live industry more accessible. For me, I write most of my songs as I produce them, and my only live performance experience comes from school concerts.
How do I achieve my sound on stage? What equipment do I need? How do I find bandmates? How do I even book gigs? All of these questions I have are still unanswered despite the numerous articles and videos I have consulted. If I could, I would set up some sort of resource to help solve this problem, but as I haven’t yet found the answer to any of my questions, I’m not sure what the best course of action would be.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I’m gonna be honest; this question was very difficult because I feel anything I choose could be said about thousands of other artists. What I think sets me apart is I am me, and I’m the only me there is. I think it is the unique combination of my qualities that sets me apart as an artist.
I’m not sure I could name another queer Black Christian artist from the UK writing pop music about the same topics as me, and sometimes that worries me a bit, but other times I am reminded that at least it gives me a space to fill in the industry. Although if there is another artist like me out there, then I would love to listen to their stuff and maybe connect!
What is the best music advice you have ever been given?
Never stop creating, and keep making stuff, even if it’s rubbish. You don’t have to share everything.
This advice has been essential to me, especially in the creation of my EP. I had a lot of songs written for it, and I was tempted to throw some tracks in that weren’t quite finished just because I liked them and I wanted people to hear them, but I ended up deciding that if I really wanted the world to hear those songs, it doesn’t have to be right now. It also helps me get through dry spells and writer’s block when I feel like I have nothing good left to give
What new music are you listening to at the moment?
Recently I have been listening to Cavetown’s new album ‘Worm Food’. It’s the first album from him I’ve heard all the way through, and I like how different it sounds to the songs of his that everyone might already know. It also talks about a lot of topics that resonate with me, so it was a good listen. I look forward to exploring more of his discography and hopefully finding some more new favourite songs!
FVMusicBlog November 2022