AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Jeremy Neale of Velociraptor (Brisbane) talks about their self-titled debut album.

Brisbane band Velociraptor has just released a self-titled CD. Our reporter John Goodridge had a chat to lead singer Jeremy Neale (he's second from the left in the middle...) about the record and their upcoming Australian tour.

Hey Jeremy, just wondering what’s in the water up there in Brisbane because there’s so much good music coming out at the moment.

Well I don’t know exactly what’s in the water. I’m drinking a ginger tea right now, so there’s ginger in the water, I can tell you that. I think it’s the sun, hey. The sun is good, makes you happy. It’s nice to write when you’re happy. It’s also nice to write when you’re sad, but you need the energy of a happy person to channel the sad feelings into writing. If you’re too sad you just won’t leave the bed.

I mean there’s a fine line between writing happy songs and writing trite songs.

Yeah, totally. I think no matter what, you’ve kinda gotta be energised. If you’re too mellow you don’t even want to pick up the guitar. If you’re sad but want to do something good to get out of being sad that’s when you can channel that energy. The other energy that’s good is when you’re feeling happy, it’s a great day; I can’t express how good a day it is, I’m gonna pick up a guitar and pull something from my subconscious and turn it into something.

Now you do most of the song writing, is that right?

For this album, out of eleven songs I’ve written nine of the songs.

So when you write a song, how involved do you get the rest of the band?

I tend to write a very basic run of the song and let everybody go to town on it. Sometimes the arrangement changes, but everything else that complements the track takes the skill of everybody else. Pretty much I just do an acoustic version of the song and then it goes from there.

What about the recording process? How long would you spend in the studio?

It was over quite a period of time, when we could get in, but we probably did about fifteen days of tracking. Between ten and fifteen days I guess. We track as a three piece, myself, Yuri Johnson on bass and George Browning on drums and then we track everything basically like that and then go over on top of it.

I only realised today that Simon and Shane from DZ Deathrays are part of the band. How does that go with them touring and fitting in with your schedule?

Fortunately when we were in studio time they were in Brisbane. Actually Shane was in Sydney but we flew him up to work on the record, which was perfect because the guy is just so good on guitar now. Just like, touring four years of DZ heavily, the guy’s outrageous. The same with Si, who drums for DZ but is still a weapon on guitar, he has so many great ideas, so it’s really good when you can get those guys in the studio.

So with twelve people in the band, does it make it hard to reach a consensus or do you feed of each other’s ideas?

I think it’s interesting to just let people do what they’re naturally inclined to do and most of the time it’s just right. We’re not trying to tow the line on what somebody else is doing so there’s no constraints on us, so if somebody does something and it’s good then we do it – whatever you feel like in that section if it works then we’ll use it. It’s a pretty free process in that regard. I think as to what we’re trying to accomplish, I think we’re united in that we have the same kind of goals; we want to be able to tour a record and have it connect with people, I guess.

So will you being doing most of Australia when you tour the record?

Yeah, we even go to Perth this time, which is good. Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast, so it’s a fairly comprehensive capital run.

So Ramona has had pretty good airplay. Do you ever turn on the radio and go “wow, that’s me on the radio?”

You know what – it happened last night after I loaded out. I played a show at Alhambra and after I loaded out and put all my stuff in the car, I turned on the radio and the second half of the new song Sneakers was playing on the radio and I was like “Yes!” It was a nice end of the night.

On places like Triple j Unearthed, you guys are getting a lot of love from the announcers even. It must be pretty satisfying to produce something that people appreciate?

It is wonderful. Triple J have been really supportive and it’s fantastic, because as a Brisbane band it’s easy to find an audience in Brisbane, I guess, because you’re available to people, but a national audience is a whole different ball game. We’ve been very fortunate in that regard, to be able to find a national audience.

Being such a young band I imagine you’ve got a pretty good future ahead of you. You’re doing well already, so there’s no reason why you can’t hit the international stage I reckon.

It’s kind of a funny one, because there’s a lot of potential to take it to other places and we did go over to the UK last year and we did the Great Escape and a bunch of other things and people just lost their minds to it and it was awesome, but the problem is the cost of the project is just impossible so it’s kinda like the product has been received really well but we can’t afford to actually tour it. We’ll just be a domestic band I guess.

Maybe you need to do a Survivor thing and vote people off and get down to a four piece.

“We’re taking a two piece overseas…” Actually we’ve thought about franchising the band as well, so we would have instructional DVD’s that we send out to them on how to play the songs and how to perform live and then they’re the Velociraptor of their home town. I don’t know if anyone’s keen on that, but you know…

Always new ideas.

It could work for a documentary, or something.

Well congratulations and the new album and good luck on the tour and make lots of money.

Thanks man, yeah finally clear the debts from the overseas tour from last year.

Thanks for the chat.

No worries, thanks so much.

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Velociraptor's debut self-titled album will be released August 22 via Dot Dash / Remote Control. This will be followed by a national tour with special guest Bloods! Dates are below.