Following a breadth of warm and vibrant releases over the last couple of years, French-born but Dublin-based singer and songwriter Jeremy Engel has now returned to unveil his enigmatic new offering 'I Got Caught'.
Inspired by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Damien Rice, and Rory Gallagher, 'I Got Caught' showcases some of the most passionate moments of his career to date. With its light and airy direction, permeated with his own shimmering voice, it feels like he is set for much bigger things in the years to come.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background and what has inspired him most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
I fell in love with the guitar of my grandpa when I was 14. It was an old Spanish Admira guitar, and I was amazed by the magical sounds that would come out of this instrument. I learnt to play on that guitar, and I still play it today. It was a right-handed guitar, and I am left-handed but since we didn’t have the money to buy another instrument I decided I would learn this way. Until today I still play right-handed guitars.
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
The same music that I love today! I would mainly listen to 60s/70s rock, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughan, but also Django Reinhardt, Leonard Cohen or Jacques Brel. I also remember watching “Woodstock” literally every night for several years, I loved “Coming Into Los Angeles” by Arlo Guthrie!
What was the first album you remember owning?
“Harvest” by Neil Young, one the greatest album of all times, and I loved the vinyl crackles. This album celebrated its 50th anniversary a few weeks ago! Happy birthday!
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
That’s a tough one! I would say “A Million Miles Away” by Rory Gallagher. This song is just perfect from A to Z.
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
I cannot say I have any specific habits or rituals when it comes to songwriting. I just strive to stay tuned to the full richness of the world around me to help ideas flowing in. Most of the time they don’t, but sometimes the most productive act is to do nothing. I always carry a small recording device with me to capture any melody that pops up in my mind at any time and wherever I am.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
At the moment I am listening to Stromae and his new album, this artist from Belgium is a pure genius in the way that he renews the music without resorting to Autotune or stuff like that. I also listen to the soundtrack of “Into The Wild” by Eddie Vedder. I don’t know if it means I am becoming antisocial… Apart from that I started to listen a lot to opera music since I am really interested in lyrical singing techniques. I think it is important to try to decompartmentalize musical techniques and genres a bit like Freddie Mercury did.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
It would definitely be Glen Hansard, I like his energy so much and his artistic kinship with Leonard Cohen in his finesse to embody the music while expressing it with all the rawness of his physical body. I would totally open for him even if he is just busking in the street!
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
You get to “stand on the shoulders” of amazing artists who were here before you as they give you the gift of their experience, and you have this opportunity to do your best to use it and to honour it. And then sometimes a beautiful moment happens, someone comes to you and thank you sincerely for what you have shared, and in thanking you they thank all those great artists whose influence resonates in your music.
And what is the most frustrating part?
The most frustrating part is that you have to be more than a musician to learn how to navigate through the music industry. It makes it difficult to have your songs heard but it is part of the game. In today’s world, people do not have the patience anymore because they get overwhelmed by tons of information on social medias and they swipe left if the chorus of your song does not kick in after 15 seconds. But it is ok like that, I like to believe that my music is for those who wish to reclaim the time.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
It is a quote from Pierre-Auguste Renoir “Be a good craftsman; it won’t stop you from being a genius”.
Jeremy Engel's new single 'I Got Caught' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.