Velociraptor's Jeremy Neale

INTERVIEW

Velociraptor's Jeremy Neale

Brisbane’s frenetic 12-piece Velociraptor have been on the scene for a while now, with 2012 seeing the band’s biggest tour yet for their newly released mini LP The World Warriors.

With hints of The Hives, The Beach Boys and The Black Lips in their material, the ‘raptors have an energy that is hard to contain to the record itself. These guys are an ensemble that rock their live shows for a reason.

The main man behind the sunny state’s answer to ’60s garage rock took some time out to chat to us about fun things like Jurassic Park, beer and the fear of losing poncho clad band members.

Grace Gaylard: You’re the main songwriter for Velociraptor - you sing, you play, is there anything Jeremy Neale can’t do?
Jeremy Neale: Well, I’m not very good at practical things, I’m really good at creative stuff but like, you know, making a sandwich takes me like 25 minutes sometimes [laughs]. So yeah, I guess sandwiches are probably one of my enemies.

GG: Velociraptor is a pretty sick band name. Was that what you were aiming for when you came up with it?
JN: Yeah, and it was quite a while ago too I guess. It was 2008 and I think I was just talking to my cousin one night when he was round and we were talking about how cool it would be to have a dinosaur themed band, and what was tougher than the velociraptor? As well, just being a child of the ’90s, Jurassic Park was so influential… [laughs] so I guess it was just that kind of juvenile thing that you probably want to do when you’re 12 years old, but then as a 20-something you find yourself playing in a band named after a dinosaur.

GG: There’s Last Dinosaurs as well, although they’re not as specific.
JN: Yeah, totally! And we actually both started at the same time. They’re good buds and if only there were more dinosaur named bands we could actually have, like, a Jurassic Park festival. It would be amazing. Imagine having a festival where everybody’s dressed in safari suits and being hunted by dinosaurs. Fear is not an element of enough festivals these days [laughs].

GG: I don’t know why no one has caught on to this already.
JN: Well, I don’t know. This is it, it’s being birthed right now.

GG: Your mini LP, The World Warriors, is going to be released tomorrow (September 7), as are the tickets for your tour. Is that potentially insane?
JN: There are great deals to be had when you purchase both at the same time, so it’s well timed, but it’s quite a hectic combination. Definitely. Between this and BIGSOUND as well, it’s been probably the most intense couple of weeks of my life. And tomorrow’s the big day, it’s really exciting. You have months and months and months of behind the scenes paperwork finally coming to fruition... with product [laughs].

GG: I noticed on your presser that it’s your first time in Adelaide, why is that?
JN: You know, we actually sneakily have been to Adelaide before, once.

GG: What? Lies! Lies! False advertising!
JN: [Laughs] I know, lies! It’s the Veloci-lie tour! No, we went with DZ Deathrays when they did their album tour, but this is technically our first time of our own accord, booking an Adelaide show. You know, it makes it seem more special that way. And it’s good - I mean, in the past we haven’t been able to afford to do Adelaide because we didn’t know if we’d sell any tickets. And then, because there’s so many of us, it’s an amazing bankrupt-er if we buy eight flights somewhere there and back and nobody goes.

GG: [Laughs] It’s a bit of a risk.
JN: We are gamblers at heart, but we just didn’t have the means to gamble before. Now, it’s game on.

GG: So you supported The Black Lips on their Brisbane leg earlier this year, was it crazy? What are their secrets?
JN: They had their own room! Their own separate band room. But, we did get to go in there at the end, and you couldn’t really get close to them because there were so many females swarming them for attention. So I think their secret is, you know, be elusive and then have lines of women waiting at the door for autographs.

GG: The Kinks are named as one of your influences, as is beer. What are your top three beers, and top three Kinks songs?
JN: If it’s based on what the band’s taste in beer is, there are a few guys that rip VB. But everybody’s favourite beer - which was not available for a very long time - was Brisbane Bitter. It’s a good hometown pride beer. The guys are also pretty big on Melbourne Bitter when we tour because you can’t really get a lot of Queensland beers down south. Like, if you try and get XXXX on tap it’s not gonna happen. But at the end of the day we’ll pretty much drink anything we’re given, and we do drink anything we’re given.

[The original proposal of top three Kinks songs was stretched to five, because, hey, ‘they’ve got a lot of good songs, it’s not very easy.’]

1. ‘Till The End Of The Day’ I reckon is probably the greatest party track, besides their obvious ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘All Day And All Of The Night’.



2. ‘A Well Respected Man’ because it’s kind of comedically presented but still genius pop.



3. ‘Tired Of Waiting For You’ - A very prolific sing-a-long in the ‘raptor vehicle.



4. ‘Dead End Street’ - I’m going to have that stuck in my head all day.



5. ‘Victoria’



GG: Would you say Velociraptor has a particular aesthetic as a group, or do you all have your own style?
JN: Oh, [laughs] no. Someone wrote a description of the band as “a bunch of blokes” or “blokes and one girl”, so it’s people just doing their own thing [laughs]. Yeah, ‘cos it is just a group of friends that happen to play in a band, it never really started with an aesthetic, everyone was just sort of playing on their own merits, everyone just does what they want. We could never be reeled in with an image consultant either, I guess that’s just our thing. Anti-fashion.

GG: It’s been said a lot by different people, but you guys have a reputation for being crazy good live, often with 12 people dancing around on stage. That must take so much co-ordination/shouting.
JN: [Laughs] Yeah, shouting. It is sometimes logistically intense but it is an amazing visual spectacle and a lot of people don’t actually understand the band until they see it live. Myself and the guys are pretty firm believers in the live show of a band needing to be the next level [up] from the recorded work - like, it’s kind of cool to see the songs that are at the core of it in a recorded  way and then just see them torn apart live. They’re still there but [there’s a] frantic energy. It’s a double-edged sword of the package where we can have the best of both worlds.

GG: Have you ever lost anyone on tour?
JN: Oh yeah, totally, all the time. [Laughs] Last time we went away, we caught the train from Sydney to Newcastle and Rohan was pretty daytime intoxicated and didn’t have a mobile phone that was charged on him. So as soon as we got off the train, he decided to go for a walk in the backstreets of Newcastle. No phone, just wearing a poncho, carrying a carton of… I don’t even know what his choice of beer was that day, just wandering the streets. We couldn’t find him for like an hour. Good times. Just a man, with a poncho and a carton.

GG: Do you have any opinions on the other emerging Australian bands out there? Who are you watching or perhaps looking forward to playing with?
JN: Well, we do very much enjoy the Palms, in the emerging context, and I also really like The Preatures, they’re a great band. Locally, as far as Brisbane goes, Cults are a sweet band, Keep On Dancin’s, Cannon, The Madisons. There’s a lot of good music, we’re in a very fortunate time where not only are there lots of venues that people can play at, but recording is accessible and the internet means I get to hear everybody, which is awesome. There’s so much good stuff happening.

GG: ‘Cynthia’ and ‘Riot’ are two rocking tracks that the public have latched onto straight away. Do you have any songs that you’re particularly fond of?
JN: Personally, I think my favourite song on the album is ‘The Walk On By’, which will be our next - and I guess final - single of the record, so I was really glad that was one of the ones we could do a film clip for. But also ‘Scientist’ has one of probably my favourite choruses I’ve ever written, ‘Mystery Men’ is a song that James Boyd wrote and is just genius, you know. ’60s spy rock. I think it’s a pretty good mix and I’m just really glad ‘The Walk On By’ is on there because that’s a fun jamboree.

GG: Plans to conquer in 2012 and 2013?
JN: Well, I think we’re gonna try and jet to the UK for a couple of weeks because that would be fun.

GG: Ambitious. Financially ambitious.
JN: [Laughs]. Yes, ambitious bankrupt-er! Well we’ve got a lot of songs in the catalogue, witheveryone really being great songwriters as well, so it’s gonna be a good time to kind of refine down and see what would work and maybe get the skeletons around releasing a full length album. But with a real variety bag of songwriters on it this time, as opposed to just me and James Boyd. So that’ll be fun. Other than that, just lots more touring, maybe some more zany film clips, you just never know with Velociraptor.

THE WORLD WARRIORS TOUR DATES:

Thursday 4 October – GoodGod Small Club, Sydney
Saturday 6 October - The Patch, Wollongong
Thursday 11 October - The Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast
Friday 12 October - Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
Sunday 14 October - Buddah Bar, Byron Bay
Friday 19 October - The Tote, Melbourne
Saturday 20 October - Ed Castle, Adelaide
Saturday 27 October - The Hive, Brisbane

WORDS:
Grace Gaylard

By GRACIEG, 14 September 2012
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