Coolangatta musician and artist Jay Jermyn was just telling me about his travels through Albania. Now he’s telling me that he sees the colour purple when listening to Led Zeppelin.
“Weird because Prince is always associated with the colour purple,” Jay laughs.
For Jay, a practitioner of all things artistic, I suppose discussing synaesthesia is commonplace. It’s insightful talk for a 25-year-old.
Seven years ago Jay unwrapped his first guitar and began travelling the fret board to this point; his band, Veople is on rotation on Triple J Unearthed, amassing an international following and more importantly, creating an experience-focused, cultural platform for other artists … and they’ve never even played a gig.
“How did Veople start?” I ask. Jay throws his head back with a laugh and says, “Ah! Good story.” It was a self-imposed challenge with fellow musician, Matt Powell. “Let’s write and record a song in one day!”
A day and a half later Veople was formed and the product of that session had been uploaded to Jay’s SoundCloud account to show his friends.
“After uploading Riviera, it ended up on Hillydilly. Then I got an email from Danger Village Music Publishing in L.A. asking if we were represented. All within three days,” Jay says. “It just went nuts.”
Although having built his portfolio website, Jay admits to lacking basic PR skills, “We’re still pretty bad. We’re not even on Spotify yet.”
But this insipidity towards the battlefront of social media and self-promotion is what makes Veople.
More interested in promoting a cultural awareness through experiential platforms, Veople direct their energy to the feeling. Opposed to the saturated industry’s writing for the sake of writing attitude, Veople only write when they need to. “The music is the priority, that’s why we do it. Once we finish a song, that’s it. We appreciate it. It allows us to wholly enjoy the experience.”
This experience is conveyed through such tunes as Riviera, Glass, and Canopy, a message well received by national and international audiences including community radio in Poland and Yorkshire, England.
As for the Gold Coast, you could say Veople epitomises a growing cultural scene. But for Jay, it started in Albania. Venturing to less-travelled countries exposed him to new cultures and new realisations.
“I came back and realised that art cultures weren’t always there – they were started. We can’t wait for it to happen on the Coast. Otherwise people will just keep going back to Berlin and New York.”
And Brisbane. Hundreds of the Coast’s starving artists merge onto the M1 come weekend to immerse themselves in the established Brisbane scene. Jay believes the Coast will evolve if people continue to support each other, a poignant undertone of his abstract multimedia graphics and paintings.
“If someone’s putting something on, people need to tell their friends and go. There won’t be any doubt in putting these events on if we support each other.”
It’s about appreciating art as a whole without defining its subcategories.
“Veople is about finding your place among the life-force,” Jay claims. Veople’s music illustrates this search. Track to track, Veople always opt for different sounds which reinforces their ethos, their ever-changing personality.
This personal locomotion is reflected in Jay’s artwork, too. The paint traces the blank canvas, flowing into colour to represent the journeys we take. “We start as one person. From adolescence to adulthood, we’re slowly changing and maybe we get left behind or become someone completely different. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing.”
“But how do you have time for both your art and music?” I ask.
“They’re one and the same.”
See more of Jay’s work at jayjermyn.com. Veople play NightQuarter, 2 September.
PHOTO CREDIT: Fran Miller