Jeremy Neale is one of the busiest men in Australian music. Fronting the sprawling 9-12 piece outfit Velociraptor, which he affectionately refers to as the “drunken Avengers,” as well as surfer rock quartet Teen Sensations is just the beginning for Brisbane’s sweetheart. He’s just unleashed his latest solo single, ‘Hold on Together,’ from his impending second EP and he gave Wes Fahey a call from Singapore. But with both Jeremy and Wes being giant nerds and Mad Max: Fury Road storming cinemas, they got a little (a lot) off track, very quickly.

What are you doing in Singapore?

There’s a conference here called All That Matters, it’s like Singapore’s equivalent to BIGSOUND, but it focuses on the greater Asian region and what opportunities exist to tour and to make music, I guess. It gives pretty good insight into what’s going on in other sections of the world. And I’m playing 5 showcase shows with another band I’m in called Teen Sensations.

Last time we spoke was at BIGSOUND, what’s been happening since then?

That is a big question, what did I do since then? You lose track of time, wondering when I toured the Velociraptor album, that was somewhere in there. I put out a 7” with Teen Sensations which we toured, for a Halloween single, then I went in to work on a solo EP, released the first single off that ‘The News’ at the end of last year, and then just recently released the latest single ‘Hold On Together’ and just finished in the last couple of weeks the EP so it’ll be out in August.

Just been writing a whole bunch mainly, I mean even though the EPs just tackled now I’ve written a bunch of stuff for the album that I want to put out next year as well, so kind of getting ahead of myself a bit but it’s good to be organised. A lot of writing, a lot of recording.

And the new stuff’s got a bit more of an 80s feel to it than the last EP, was that a deliberate choice or did it just happen that way?

I kind of wanted to live the dreams I had of, I dunno, I like a lot of guitar based music but there’s also a part of my childhood exposure to music that’s very much seeped in 80s new romantic music so I kind of wanted to live that particular dream I had. So that’s what this EP is, I guess, self indulgent. But you’ve gotta do what you’re inclined to do, I guess, and wait for the world to swing around.

I thought it was just an ode to Phil Collins?

Yeah, I love Phil. He’s the man.

I was really upset when he had to retire from drumming. It was like ‘Man, there’s no point even living anymore, Phil.’

I know! That’s cured the problem of overpopulation of the world! A lot of people just bowed out once Phil couldn’t drum anymore. In a lot of ways Phil not drumming anymore has saved the world, so thanks Phil.

Back to your latest which we just spoke about, the video for that is deliciously awkward…

Well it was going to be more awkward! We drafted some awkward dance thing as well, but I dislocated my knee the evening before we were shooting so all the shots are just static. It’s me either standing on one leg or sitting down, so there was a lot of potential for some really awkward stuff but unfortunately it’ll never see the light of day.

Well I did watch the video that you said it was inspired by and I really think it would have been a feat to achieve the complete soullessness of Patrick Duffy.

Yeah [laughs] he’s got that niche covered, that’s his thing.

I was watching it on YouTube just before and I saw a link to him in a Taco Bell commercial  and I was like yep, gotta watch that too.

Yep, you’ve got to go deep into Patrick Duffy-town.

I don’t think I want to go any further than that.

You know you can explore the depths of the ocean, or the infinity that is space or you can get lost in the YouTube channel that is Patrick Duffy related material. Damn you Duffy!

So, I tweeted last night about Mad Max: Fury Road because it was amazing and I know that you’ve seen it too. So I want to talk about it, even though it is completely irrelevant to anything we’re doing.

I want to talk about Mad Max! We’ve met on the right page here, it’s good!

How good was it?

Man it was so good! I don’t think I’ve been engrossed in a film that action-centric for a long time! It’s very hard to pull that off and I think the only reason it kept it working was because of the realism of the action. You know when you zone out on other movies that like, look like the Michael Bay Transformers kind of shit and you’re like “This is fuckin’ terrible.”

Like the Star Wars prequels…

Yeah! Just CGI shit man, there’s nothing to grab onto that. It is soulless. It’s the Patrick Duffy of cinema! Yeah so, Mad Max was totally worth it because there was so much real stunt work and I dunno. How did you feel it worked, what was your take on it?

I was really surprised by it because I’ve watched the first Mad Max, but not the second or the third one I think Tina Turner really confused me as a child so I never really wanted to watch Beyond Thunderdome. But the trailers got me really excited, just the visual appeal of it had me drawn in to a point where I just had to see the movie, it’s going to be a classic piece of Australian cinema. Then in the last few weeks as it’s come out and with all the hype built up around it, I just kept thinking ‘There’s no way it’s going to live up to this.’ But then, from the first frame basically, it was like ‘Yep, I’m completely invested in this reality.’

Yeah.

Miller’s done this amazing thing where he’s been able to put so much tiny detail into the character development, into visual style that he’s made such a believable universe and I think focussing on live-action and not using CGI for the cars really helped but it’s just visionary.

You’re right, it’s that world too because, I don’t know about you, but I was watching it and I was like I want to know all about the entire world, like I want to know what’s past there, when they get to that big trek across the desert and they’ve only got 80 days worth of fuel, I want to know if maybe they would have found something or just what else is going on in the rest of the world.

And I think not focussing on Max and actually focusing on Furiosa and the other characters like Nux, the warboy, really made it something spectacular to behold.

Yeah and it’s already green lighted for a sequel! That’s exciting.

I’m very keen to see more of what he can do…

And more of what he can do for the Australian accent! It’s really reviving the badassness of the Aussie accent, in the background it’s just people every two seconds like “G’day! G’day! G’day! G’day!”

You’re absolutely right, it’s just so Australian. It feels so Australian.

Yeah. Fang it! Fang it!!!

I don’t know about you but I had a real Tumbleweed moment when they said that line, I just got that song in my head. Almost ruined the moment.

They’re probably on a deeper cut of the soundtrack.

Junkie XL’s just been listening to Tumbleweed…

“Yeah, I got this.”

Aussie stoner rock, that’s what we need in this film.

[laughs]

And what are your thoughts on Star Wars 7 so far?

Oh man, I’m pumped. I’m keen. I think they’re going to capture it. I think they’ve had enough time, and enough negative feedback about the first three episodes, that they know what to do. I reckon it’s going to be great. Are you excited? You’re excited for it right?

It’s the same thing, I watched the trailer and suddenly it’s gone from ‘I’m not really interested in that’ to ‘holy shit!’ They’re really doing exactly what they should be doing.

Yeah. It’s a very exciting time to be alive in cinema-land.

In old franchises being renewed, definitely. I don’t know what’s going on in new stuff and even Age of Ultron was pretty disappointing as far as comic book movies go. Kind of like franchises are killing individual films.
It might be just like, maybe they just wanted to deliver just that action blockbuster and that’s what they did. I guess maybe there wasn’t enough time to elaborate on stuff. I feel like a lot of it is just serving the endgame which is the Infinity War and that could be really interesting if they end up introducing Adam Warlock as a character and stuff like that, that could be really cool but it’ll be interesting to see if they pander to the plebs or if they bring in some really deep 90s comic book stuff.

I read an interesting casting suggestion from a comic book fan and I hope Disney run with it and that was to introduce Death, but casting Meryl Streep.

Oh wow, that would be awesome. I agree entirely.

We’re totally just nerding out, I’m very cool with that but you’re in Melbourne this week launching the single.

Yeah, Ding Dong Lounge on Saturday. Do you happen to know any sax players in Melbourne? I’m going to put the call out and see if I can get someone to cut out a couple of solos for me. Recruit somebody that just wants to wild dog some solos, give them a chance.

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