Music / Features
They Made Me Do It -
Talking Influences with Jeremy Neale
Words by Joshua Hicks
Thursday June 11th, 2020
Earlier this year, Brisbane indie-rock hero Jeremy Neale released his sophomore album We Were Trying To Make It Out, a real left-right-goodnight bombardment of his contagious power-pop goodness, and today he’s done us the pleasure of giving us a peek into his musical influence evolution.
If you’re a fan of feel-good indie-rock, catchy hooks, and singalong choruses, then Jeremy Neale is the artist you’ve been searching your whole life for. Jeremy’s sophomore album We Were Trying To Make It Out is a monument of jangly, uplifting indie-rock - each track essentially forcing you to bop along. Simultaneously introspective and conversational, Jeremy’s strength and charisma as a lyricist shines across the eight track album, as he weaves a narrative of love, loss, heartbreak and hope.

The album was preceded by a string of music video singles, including ‘Everything I Do Is Replaced By Two’, a driving power-pop track which finds Jeremy suspiciously channelling a young Bruce Springsteen - a mood that might feel hollow if Jeremy wasn’t so convincing, especially as he’s hitting home with lines like “we were building the dream, now it’s over, uh huh”. ‘Still Want You Around Me’ is a dreamy ballad with a Sesame Street inspired music video that might just be the best thing you’ll see all week. ‘Tried and True (Raise the Roof)’ digs in to the 90s nostalgia as an overly cheerful Jeremy and his band act and jam in a sit-com-esque living room, backed by a glorious 80’s pop stomp.

Though Jeremy’s trademark quirkiness is embedded within the record, it is nonetheless his most mature, fully-realised release to date. To dig a little further into We Were Trying To Make It Out, Jeremy treated us to some insight into what influenced the development of his sound.

Marshall Crenshaw
My friend Josh Coxon, who ended up playing most of the lead guitar on the new record, told me that my music reminded him of that of Marshall Crenshaw. Another writer quite into the 80s does the 60s thing. Except he existed in the 80s. Whereas I guess I’m here doing my best 2020 does the 80s does the 60s. Marshall Crenshaw is someone I’d never directly spent time with until then - but after finding out he co-wrote Gin Blossom’s hit 'Til I Hear It From You' - it turns out I had. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy anyway - as soon as I started listening to Marshall Crenshaw, I very quickly wrote ‘Tried and True (Raise the Roof)’.

Car Seat Headrest
At some point a few years ago, Car Seat Headrest just got me amped about guitar music. I mean, I never lost faith, but it’s always nice to have something somewhat recent in the listening list - lest I be completely consumed by power-pop of the 80s.

I’ll never escape the Ramones. They’re part of my musical DNA. I don’t have any of the necessary ‘tude but I love their music, their melodies and their intensity. It may be quite far removed from their ’86 output but it’s what I was thinking about at the time of recording the track ‘Hold Me Up’.

Prefab Sprout
Another band that made its way into my musical DNA over the last decade. Beautiful arrangements, considered lyricism and a huge inspiration for the title track ‘We Were Trying to Make It Out’.

Yeah, not enough people talking about Toploader right now. Sure ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ is a cover of a 1970 track written by Sherman Kelly but it’s the production and arrangement that I’m obsessed with on the Toploader version. Extremely feel good vibes and gang vocals that we wanted to bring as a whole to the new record but in particular on the track ‘Still Want You Around Me’. Couldn’t find a live version but realistically - it’s the studio one we want and I have fond memories of seeing the film clip on TV back in the day.
We Were Trying To Make It Out is out now.