PHOTO CREDIT: Holly Whittaker
BEGINNING life in Somerset – now based in London…
PHOTO CREDIT: Holly Whittaker
Jeremy Tuplin’s debut L.P., I Dreamt I Was an Astronaut, is out on Friday. I talk to the young songwriter about the new record and how it differs from his previous E.P.s of 2014 and 2016 (Carry the Fire and Open Letters). Tuplin has been lauded by critics and praised for his unique style. Recorded with long-time producer/collaborator, Mark Estall; I Wish I Was an Astronaut was recorded in South Bermondsey.
I ask Tuplin about the musicians that came into his life young and the type of music he was raised on; whether he feels new artists are too safe and limited – and what tour dates he has before the end of the year.
Hi, Jeremy. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, there – I’m good, thanks.
A bit tired. It’s Monday morning and I’ve played three gigs in the last four days - with a friend’s thirtieth birthday squeezed in-between.
So…it’s been a busy week.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
Ok – my name’s Jeremy Tuplin. I’m a singer-songwriter from Somerset, U.K. - now living in London.
My music is within the Indie/Alternative/Folk brackets and, due to the themes and instrumentation used in the album I’m about to release, it has also been described as ‘Space-Folk’.
I Dreamt I Was an Astronaut is your new album. What is the inspiration behind that title? Does it nod back to childhood dreams?
The title combines both my love and fascination for space and the cosmos with similar feelings that I have for the realm of dreams. They’re both recurring themes in the album and are actually interests that I have developed later in life - as opposed to a nod to childhood dreams.
With the title; it’s intended to represent a very pure form of escape from reality.
Can you tell me the themes and ideas that compelled the songs on the record?
As I mentioned, space is a big theme - more in a philosophical sense than scientific.
The idea is that what you learn from looking up can be helpful when dealing with everyday matters. Tied into all of this, earthly matters such as love and relationships are also just as prevalent across the album.
It was recorded with long-term collaborator, Mark Estall. What was it like recording with him in South Bermondsey?
It was a very enjoyable process - although a lot of hard work.
I’ve recorded two E.P.s in the past with Mark so we know each other’s methods of working very well by now. It took a decent amount of time but it wasn’t rushed - and we wanted to make sure we had everything covered.
You might say that we’ve developed some sort of musical chemistry (or something).
Your new work employs more acoustic sounds – mixing that with synthetic ideas and electronics. What was the reason behind this move? What are the main differences you have noticed?
I think there are a lot of differences between this record and the previous E.P.s that I’ve released.
I didn’t want to not take any risks or feel constrained by genres or instrumentation in any way; so we just went with whatever felt was right. A lot of this happened to be electronic and synth sounds - as it suited the songs and the space-focused content.
So much of today’s music is conventional and safe. Do you feel annoyed few artists are pushing themselves when they have the opportunity?
There’s lots of really interesting and unique music out there that sometimes harder to find. I think it’s a shame when they’re overlooked for music that’s more conventional or safe.
A lot of big D.J.s and names have poured praise on your music. How does it make you feel receiving that high-profile positivity?
It’s great of course (and also) because it helps get the music to a wider audience - which is the most important thing for me.
Give me a window into your upbringing. When did music come into your life?
It was always there in the background – my dad sang and played the guitar and my mum was a piano teacher. The music that they played in the car tape-deck sticks in the memory – people like Jim Croce, Rod Stewart; Sheryl Crow I seem to remember. (Billy Ray Cyrus too, actually).
I was always encouraged to be into music, I think.
Who were the musicians you idolised as a youngster?
As a teenager, I went through a Libertines phase…before that, Blur. Blur vs. Oasis in the Britpop years was when I really started getting into music.
I was always on the side of Blur.
What tour dates do you have approaching? Where can we see you play?
I’ve got the album launch gig on 26th October at Paper Dress Vintage – that will be a full, six-piece band gig. Then, in November, I’m going to Spain – playing in Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona - and then coming back to the U.K. to play in places like Cambridge, Oxford and Brighton.
I’ll be announcing these dates soon.
It is, sorry to say, a few months until Christmas. Any plans for that time of year? Where will you be spending it?
I’ll be going home to Somerset. I always spend Christmas with the family in Somerset and it never grows old.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
I’m going to go with Leonard Cohen – New Skin for the Old Ceremony
As a musician and a person, he’s been the most significant for me - and that album is my favourite of his.
I can’t not include a Bob Dylan album, either - so I’ll go with Blonde on Blonde
As a lyricist, you can’t look past him - and he’s been the most influential, for me, on that level.
I’ll go with a recent one: I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty
I listened to it pretty much non-stop for most of 2015.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
I’ve never really felt comfortable in giving people advice…and I wouldn’t take my own advice either: I don’t really know anything. Other than ‘if it feels right then it probably is, and if it doesn’t then change it until it does’ - but that doesn’t count as advice.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Ok. This came out recently and it’s dark, but that’s why I like it – True Lies by Alex Cameron
Thank you very much!
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PHOTO CREDIT: Holly Whittaker