By Harriet Kaplan
New York City’s Jeremy & The Harlequins are a Brooklyn-based 1950s and 1960s influenced rock band. The dynamic and rousing five-piece group uses the legacy of rock and roll’s past to make a creative template, infusing it’s own original sound.
In an recent email interview with BOC, Jeremy reflected on his career in the music business, how it has changed since the MTV salad days and radio, and how the band making an impact as independent artists. Jeremy & the Harlequins are currently promoting their debut album, In The Night, set for release in August 2016.
How long has the band been together, how did you all meet, and where are you from?
Jeremy Fury: Officially, we came together a week prior to recording our first record, American Dreamer. I think it was July of 2013. Unofficially, Craig and I had been playing together trying to get a band going for a number of years. Stevie and I previously played together in another band before that.
Does the band share common musical influences? Did you grow up listening to alot of the same music?
Jeremy: Yeah. That’s why we’re in a band together. Our common musical connections in the band our early 50’s rock n’ roll, doo wop, and Sun-era rockabilly. Besides those more obvious influences, everyone has their own additional influences. Patrick listens to a lot of reggae, 70’s punk, and some soul. Craig’s always been into 60’s Brit rock, but has been listening a lot to Lee Hazlewood recently. I’ve always had a thing for early 70’s British glam rock.
Who was your biggest heroes and sources of inspiration?
Jeremy: Buddy Holly and Richie Valens were two big heroes when I was really young. David Bowie was one of my biggest inspirations as well.
You’re rock n roll revivalists. What are you reviving?
Jeremy: I don’t know who coined that term. We didn’t set out to be ‘revivalists.’ We never said, “Let’s start a rock ‘n roll revival band.’ People say that about us, I guess it’s because rock ‘n roll has kind of disappeared from the modern pop music landscape for about 15 years. I think if we came out in 2001, people would have lumped us in with The Strokes and the White Stripes. If we came out in the 50’s, 60’s, and most of the 70’s, we would have just been called a rock ‘n roll band. I know we are kind of newer as a band, but all of us have been playing and touring together in bands for quite awhile. We don’t think of it as a new movement or anything, we’ve just evolved into this.
Do you think something is missing from music today? Or are you paying homage to the past?
Jeremy: We are doing what we are doing because we feel something is missing in music today. We wanted to make the band we would be excited to go see. I wouldn’t say that we aren’t paying homage to the past, I think that comes through, but it isn’t our main goal. We didn’t start a band to honor the greats, but we also know we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing if they didn’t come first.
Steve Van Zandt champions your band? How did that come about? What are you feelings about that?
Jeremy: It’s cool. He likes rock ‘n roll. We like rock ‘n roll. A friend of ours passed some of our music onto him a little over year ago and he picked one of our songs, Trip into the Light, as one of the Coolest Songs of 2015. We, of course, were pleased with that decision.
American Dreamer is your first full-length album. Can you tell me how you came up with songs? Is it a concept album?
Jeremy: Some of those songs I had written a number of years before we recorded that record. ‘You’re My Halo’ was written in 2003 and recorded by me and Stevie (Fury’s) previous band, We Are The Fury. After that record, I started working on our next record. ‘Some Days’ I wrote in 2008, a month after coming off tour supporting The New York Dolls. ‘Trip Into the Light’ I wrote right around the time We Are The Fury broke up in 2009. Both of those tunes I initially wrote for We Are The Fury and then that band broke up. ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Some Days’ were recorded, but never released, by a project Craig and I were putting together called Romans, but the band disbanded early on.
Onto Jeremy & The Harlequins, by 2012 I had about 30-40 songs I didn’t know what to do with. My brother, Stevie Fury, had come home from living in Paris for a few weeks during the summer of 2013. We started playing music and had the idea to record a new record. We sifted through all the tunes I had and we picked the best 10 songs to record. Those 10 songs became American Dreamer.
How did ‘Trip Into The Light’ get featured in Tom Cruise’s movie Edge of Tomorrow?
Jeremy: Some great people working with us and whole lot of luck.
Does that band want to be featured in more films or TV? Is that a goal?
Jeremy: Of course! We want our music to be heard. It’s not the 80’s or 90’s where people mainly hear new bands on the radio, or maybe MTV. People hear new music in so many places, whether it’s a commercial, a TV show, from a new band being at a festival, word of mouth, etc. The more places we have our music, the greater the chance people will hear our songs.
We don’t want to have our music be used by and in things we don’t support. But as for most films and television shows, we are usually excited by the idea.
Is it challenging being an independent band?
Jeremy: Yeah. I think it always was and always will be. I think the challenges for bands today are just different than the challenges for a band in the 80’s or 90’s. Then, if you wanted to make a record, you’d record a demo, then maybe get a label to give you some money for a better demo, then maybe get a full record deal. That could amount to millions of dollars, but it also was a few hundred thousand dollars to make a record back then. Now, you can make records for a few thousand dollars. I have friends on major labels that have songs on the radio they recorded in their bedroom. As for music videos, even ten years ago, a music video could cost 20-30k. Ten years before that videos were 200k-300k. Now because of where technology is at, you can do it for way less. Some of our videos we’ve made for $1000.
Has the band toured a lot?
Jeremy: Not as much as we would like to, but that will change. Our last full U.S. tour was in the Spring, we plan on going back out in the Fall.
Do you have a prefer working in the studio or touring?
Jeremy: I like them both, and I think one helps the other. I like the balance of both. After a lot of touring, I’m anxious to be in the studio or writing. After making a record, I want to get out on the radio and play.
Where are your favorite hangouts?
Wine bars, waterfronts, parks, recording studios, my apt.
What’s next for Jeremy & The Harlequins?
Jeremy: Our new album, Into the Night, comes out in August. We have some shows in and around the East Coast and Midwest. And look for us touring in the Fall!