Jeremy Jay Interview

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Eric: How did this formation of the band come about?

Jeremy: Nick and I have been playing together since high school.

Nick: Yeah. A long time. Almost 20 years.

Jeremy: And then I asked George if she wanted to come and she said yeah. And so we’re treating it like an American adventure.

Danielle: Are you travelling by plane?

Jeremy: Yeah. She [George] has never seen the west coast.

Danielle: [to George] How much have you come to the U.S. before?

George: Strangely often, but this will be totally different. I’ve only been to cities that are quite cold, like New York, Detroit… But I’ve really enjoyed here. I’m looking forward to Portland because everyone says that it’s cool. We’ve got to find a hairdryer that works first.

Jeremy: We were thinking about taking out the insides of the blow-dryer and putting a microphone in it.

Danielle: I actually like that idea a lot but I don’t know why.

Nick: We’ll burn his face off…

Danielle: You’re playing in Mexico City?

Jeremy: Yeah.

Danielle: Didn’t you pick that show up kind of last minute?

Jeremy: Yeah, two weeks ago. Apparently you’re not supposed to brush your teeth or drink the water or take a shower.

Nick: Yeah, you can’t even take a shower.

Danielle: You can take a shower, just don’t open your mouth.

Danielle: So are you excited to play Mexico City then?

Jeremy: Yeah, I don’t even know what to expect.

George: I think it will be really unusual. Hardly anyone gets to play there, so I think it’ll be really cool.

Eric: The venue looks really incredible.

Jeremy: Yeah, it looks really far out. Kind of, I don’t even know what category to put it in… It’s almost deco-Spanish, maybe. I don’t know.

Eric: So what’s your songwriting process typically like?

Jeremy: Oh, wow… My songwriting process is typically like… Sometimes it’ll start off with poetry or lyrics or what have you. Other times it will start with, I’ll either write songs on a bass, or a piano, or a guitar, or a synthesizer, or an instrument, and it’ll start with those instruments and I’ll build it on my recorder at home with a drum machine and a guitar.

Eric: In your song “Just Dial My Number” you have a “Dream Diary Kids” reference.

Jeremy: Yeah.

Eric: And that was prior to when you put out the record Dream Diary.

Jeremy: Yeah.

Eric: And so it seems like there’s a conceptual aspect to your songs. Does that just happen, or do you intentionally put it in there?

Jeremy: That specific reference… Strangely enough, both records were written… That song in particular was written around the same time Dream Diary was written, but it fitted more onto Splash and so we used it for that. But the reference is just kind of like what I thought of my group of friends when I was 17 or 18, actually with Nick, and we had a small group of friends and the song “Dream Diary Kids” is about when we were 17 or 18.

Eric: Does it ever get bigger than that for you? Do you see things on a larger scale with all of your songs, or the songs on each record?

Jeremy: That’s a good question. Sometimes they are conceptual, sometimes they’re autobiographical, and sometimes they are more an ideal kind of thing. But those songs in particular were autobiographical.

Eric: Do you have any bands that you really like to listen to that people wouldn’t necessarily expect from hearing your music?

Jeremy: Yes. I like dub music a lot.

George: Some of it is really atmospheric and cinematic and really avant-garde. Some of the stuff, the way they use synthesizers is really interesting.

Joel: Who’s one of your favorite dub artists?

Jeremy: Oh, wow… Would you consider King Tubby dub?

Joel: Oh, the king of dub!

Jeremy: [laughing] That was supposed to be a joke.

Joel: I’m just too gullible.

Jeremy: I also like a lot of minimal music, what you’d call cold-wave and no-wave music, and I think a lot of people wouldn’t guess that about me.

Danielle: Like what?

George: All that Euro stuff…

Jeremy: Teenage Jesus, and Dark Day, and Mars.

Danielle: What’s your favorite place to go to in your neighborhood?

George: There’s only one place, because there’s nothing around where I live and it’s actually where I work

Jeremy: Yeah, she works at a really cool little bar.

George: It’s an old bicycle repair shop that got turned into a coffee shop. The coffee machine is an old 1950s pump vintage coffee machine. And it’s a bar. We actually carry a lot of American lagers. And we’ve got a cat. This woman comes in, she’s like, “I’m allergic to cats.” I’m like, “What do you want me to do about it?”

Danielle: How many cats do you have there?

George: There are two cats. There’s Bob and Danny. But Bob is a girl; they thought Bob was a boy at first and then they figured out it was a girl.

Danielle: Common mistake.

Nick: Happens all the time.

Joel: Good old Bob.

Danielle: I wish we had a K cat, though I imagine it would cause more problems.

Nick: We should bring Calvin a K kitty.

Joel: Well, Mariella’s allergic to cats. She’s really allergic to cats.

Danielle: Yeah, that’s right, she’s super allergic. She had to leave my house early because of it.

Joel: She didn’t even come to my house.

Jeremy: Good old Walter.