This past weekend we had the chance to sit down with Jeremy Loops! A South African (with Swiss roots!) musician who played at this years Kulturfestival in St. Gallen and on Sunday at Gurtenfestival in Bern. If you want to know more about him, keep reading!
After having a look at the gorgeous little venue, we got to sit down with Jeremy Loops and ask him some questions. After the interview we were invited to stay for the show, and let me tell you, it was well worth the drive to St. Gallen. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but wow, that was a great show! Loved the energy on stage and the atmosphere. The audience was right there and seemed to really get into the groove as well. I have to say, this must have been one of the coolest shows I’ve been to this year. Definitely didn’t expect that. It was just a really small crowd (it was sold out though!), but they made noise for thousands. I’m sure I’ll be back next year, the venue is super cute and the Kulturfestival seems to be choosing their artists very well.
If you want to find out more about the Kulturfestival in St. Gallen, head over here:
Interview with Jeremy Loops
But now, let’s see what Jeremy has to tell us!
Thanks much for taking the time for us! Why don’t we just get started… We know that you have Swiss roots…?
Thanks you for having me! And yes! Swiss roots, I’ve been brushing up on my “Hoi Zäme”, “Danke viilmals” and “Tschau Zäme” (Swiss german for: Hi everyone, thank you very much and bye everyone) – I’m really working on the accent now. So yeah, my mom is Swiss and my Grandfather who is actually here tonight. This is his very first show, I’ve been doing this for years now, but he lives here in Switzerland and has never been in the same place where I’ve been playing. I actually also met my uncle Albert here. I haven’t seen him for years. He’s been working out of St. Gallen. I only just found out that my Grandfather and his family actually grew up here in St. Gallen.
Being half South African and half Swiss – do you see any traits that you’ve inherited from either side? If so, which ones?
They’re very different! My mother came to South Africa when she was still very young. She came here, met my father, fell in love and never came back home to Switzerland. She also had me when I she was rather young. So she’s been in South Africa almost all her life, but she still has that little Swiss accent, that even my friends still think is crazy. For me it’s really nice to hear her speaking with her family in Swiss German. My love for European food has certainly been given to me from her. My mom has always been cooking more Swiss, German and Italian style food. Whenever I’m here, I feel right at home with the food.
So, back to music! This summer you’re doing quite some shows at festivals etc. but are you also working on new material?
Yep, well, my debut album was only released in Europe this year, so around May… My next album is due probably next year, maybe mid next year. So when I finish the tours in November, I’ll go home and into full production. It’ll be the first break I’ll take from being on the road in probably 5 years. It’ll be nice to just be home, surfing, just having some down time to be creative. When you’re on the road, sometimes it can be difficult to focus on certain things. It’ll be a busy year, but we’ve been working on all sorts of things, so I’m really excited to get into the studio.
This year has been busy, will be busy, but you’ve also been quite successful here in Europe this past year. Is there anything that you really miss from back in the days when things haven’t taken off for you yet?
It’s changed a lot, yes… My ambitions have always been very global. In South Africa it’s already been like 3 years that we’ve been a huge band. We’ve played infront of thousands of people, could sell 6000 tickets to just our own shows. So that was very interesting but also a bit challenging when you become a local celebrity. People stop you in the street and sometimes it can be difficult to get used to as it sometimes may feel like a bit of an invasion of your privacy. But it was ok, we adapted. Most bands from South Africa stay in South Africa, they get big there. But we chose to start traveling, we started in the US then moved to the UK and the rest of Europe. So in the US we’re like in the middle, whereas in the Netherlands we’re doing rather good. So we’re at different stages of our career everywhere. My intention is to keep moving. Who knows, by this time next year we might be a “middle-sized” band here in Switzerland, but in India – where I would like to go next – we will be right at the beginning of our career again. You know what I mean? I like the feeling of playing the small but also the big crowds.
So what is your biggest dream in regards to your career?
The big goal for me is like, half and half. I want to be able to chase the summers in South Africa and Australia – our summers, I love touring and playing in South Africa, the festivals etc and of course my home is there. Then during our winter, I want to come over here, or maybe first the US in May/June then over into Europe for the Summerfestivals here. That’s the dream, if I can be big in both regions, so I can just tour all around the world on a circuit. So basically you can just choose where and when to play. I don’t want to be the band that has to play where the money is. I want to play where the good life is. Like in Switzerland, my family is here, it’s so nice to be able to bring the band and we stay with my uncles and aunts. I have lots of friends in Italy too, so I really want to go start touring there to. I don’t like the idea of having to play in place I don’t want to be. Whereas a lot of big bands have to or are forced to do it that way. I guess that’s also the thing, I stayed away from big labels and stayed independent. And I seem to be doing ok without them.
With all the interviews you have done lately, are there any questions that almost annoy you or seem to always be the same?
Uuuuhm no, not really. I think because I’m doing so interviews in so many different countries, the questions are quite different. I guess people often ask if my music is South African or does if it has a lot of South African roots… Maybe that’s sometimes a bit strange to answer. For me it’s quite obvious, of course, I am from South Africa, so everything that I’ve ever known musically, has been inspired by my growing up in South Africa. So I often have to explain that, but it doesn’t annoy me.
Talking about your music, if you would have to describe your music to someone who doesn’t know you or your music, how would that sound like?
I always just tell people that it’s inspired by folk music, because my lyrics are all about what I experience, day to day life, and traditional folk ideas. But I kind of labeled it myself as modern folk, because I do a lot of beatboxing, I have a rapper in the group and there’s saxophone too. It’s definitely not traditional folk music anymore with the looping and layering.
The “serious” part is over. Now we have a couple of sentences for you to end…
My favorite person to call is… My mom! She makes me feel safe when I’m on the road
I’m addicted to… Surfing and my guitar
I can’t say no to… Oh, that’s a tough one… Staying up late!
When I see a shark I feel… Terrified! We have a lot of sharks in South Africa, I’ve been surfing since I was a little boy, so I’ve had a few close encounters with them and it’s always very terrifying. I appreciate them, but I also respect them, esp. the great white sharks, which we have a lot back home.
That was it, while we were finishing up the interview, the supporting act Marius Bär had already taken the stage. Shortly after he was finished, it was Jeremy Loops’ time to get on stage. If you want to find out more about the Kulturfestival in St. Gallen, head over here: Kulturfestival St. Gallen
Concert pictures: Jeremy Loops at Kulturfestival St. Gallen