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Jeremy Jay

We talk to the California dreamer about living a life devoted to The Road...

There are few among us who could genuinely lay claim to be living the kind of lives that would make the likes of Neal Cassady or Jack Kerouac proud (without being secretly funded by some super wealthy relation in the shadows), which is precisely why Jeremy Jay is such a refreshing proposition. K Records’ enigmatic prodigal son lives almost entirely for The Road – he constantly tours anywhere and everywhere, and when he’s not smoking grass in the back of a bus on the way to his next gig, he can be found taking up temporary residence in backstreets all over the world (he even spent a lengthy stint as a teenager living in a tent just outside of Big Sur). His music is a drifting, ethereal, dreamlike experience peppered with the visionary psychedelic lyricism of George Harrison, and his recently recorded album Splash promises to represent something of an artisitic zenith. We managed to stop him moving for just enough time to find out where he’s at right now, and where he’s going….

Dazed Digital: You've been on the road quite a while haven't you?
Jeremy Jay:
We have been on tour for eight months out of the last twelve. I’m just really into observing and travelling right now, and it took touring to be able to do that. I’m going through some personal changes and want to explore culture outside of my comfort zone.

DD: Where are you based right now?
Well, I lived here for three months of this year on Broadway Market and I wrote and recorded Splash. When I was in London, I kind of shut myself away and it was really inspiring. It made me realise just how American I am; how much of that is in me. Splash comes from that thing of being away from somewhere and writing about it. It’s a lot heavier sounding than other stuff I’ve done – Pavement meets Evol-era Sonic Youth played by Siouxsie Sioux. I’m really excited about it.

DD: Would you describe yourself as a writer?
I’m a writer, but not it in the sense of being someone who is a recluse. I’m an observational and outgoing artist. I would call myself a social artist because this is all about orchestrating personalities; it’s kind of a social art where I gather musicians together. These guys with me love travelling and they love playing music, so doing this is not a terrible way to live – we’re all working-class and it beats washing dishes.

DD: Do you always feel compelled to always be writing new material because you get bored of playing older songs?
Well, records are just a document of time – special moments captured where people are all together in the same room at the same time. Some songs come through and live on, but they mean different things to people at different times in their lives. It’s like, when I was young I read Weaveworld by Clive Barker and it blew my mind, I recently re-read it and a lot of what I enjoyed about it when I was young just seemed too long… There are songs that seem to remain strong forever though, something like "Sleepwalk", which is so pure and from the heart.

DD: Would you describe yourself as an idealist?
I am definitely an idealist. I always want the best and I think everyone does in a way, I hope so… I believe there is something good watching over people, and that there are some special things happening right now. 

DD: How does your idealism balance with all the terrible things you see in the world?
Well, can I draw the contrast of Star Wars? Luke is the idealist and Darth is the antagonist but he still has some good in him, and he has to find that good to kill the Emperor, who represents the demon, which is in all of them; in all of us… you have to sift through the dirt to find the gold.