A festival favourite, the one-man folk singer and loops (using effects pedals to replay riffs and rhythms he’s already played as he adds more to the mix) artist has been entertaining audiences for years but, surprisingly, he only released his debut album, Trading Change, this month.
Why did it take so long?
Loops says: “I’m a perfectionist. I wanted it to be everything I ever hoped for. I don’t think I was creatively ready for an album two years ago and I didn’t want something lacklustre. Even in art school I would set high standards and find myself disappointed with my work – and I didn’t want that.
I think people underestimate how much of a statement your first album makes; and if I was going to record something, it had to be good.”
And good it is. The Cape Town-based multi-instrumentalist has shown trememdous growth, both musically and as a person – the culmination of several years on the road.
“I felt a shift in the way that I understood and experienced music, and different sounding songs came from that. If I had put out an album a year ago it would have been the traditional Jeremy Loops sound, exactly what people would have expected. I have been playing the same songs for a long time and wanted to push the boundaries to create something fresh and exciting. I really surprised myself, and the fans seem to like it too.”
Loops’ music is steeped in folk, with added traces of hip hop, Balkan, jazz, rock and house. Early commercial successes include songs Mission To The Sun and Power, both of which were playlisted on major radio stations countrywide and are now included on Trading Change.
Loops has also toured extensively overseas, with his album recorded predominantly at Miloco Studios, home to acts like Coldplay, Florence And The Machine and The Temper Trap. But even with all the attention from industry bigshots, relocating has never really been an option for Loops.
“I wasn’t chasing this life,” he says.
Loops started his unexpected career on a yacht, playing to pass the time during tea breaks. Away from that setting, he had to rely on his guitar and loop pedal to provide everything from a backbeat to background vocals. Soon he was asked to perform for an audience, which continues to grow. Loops has played all the major South African music festivals, from Oppikoppi to Rocking The Daisies.
“South Africa is my home. I love it here,” he says.
His favourite song at the moment is Trip Fox, which was written in the last three weeks of recording the album.
“I am over the moon with the way Trading Change turned out. It couldn’t have been more perfect,” he says.
Though Loops’ career started as a solo act, on this album, he also incorporates diverse and complementary artistry from rapper Motheo Moleko, saxophonist Jamie Faull and singer Adelle Nqeto.