Jeremiah Castelo is a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles, CA, who is nurturing the growth of a musical genre which cross-breeds R&B with Progressive Rock and Electronic elements. Rhythm and Reds, as it has been called, pays homage to the “rhythm” in Rhythm and Blues, and yet adds a “rawness” not otherwise found in traditional R&B. His new album ”Every Part Of Mine” is out now.
Your music is far from mainstream…
When I create music, I don’t really look for a specific style or template to follow. I always find that music wants to go its own way. If I try to force any song to sound the way I want, it doesn’t sound as beautiful. The way I look at it is this: creating a melody is almost like riding a big untamed animal. You can guide it only so much to the left or only so much to the right, but try to force it a certain way and things get ugly fast. What I learned is that the more I let the melody flow in the direction it wants to go, the more beautiful it sounds. And I guess the reason that it results in something that sounds less mainstream, like you’re saying, is because I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, and it translates into the music that I make. I listen to mainstream music too, I do listen to pop, and stuff on the radio, but also music that is not so popular. I like jazz, I do like a lot of jazz artists, underground hip-hop music, I do also like a lot of pretty obscure electronic music. I listen to different styles and when I make my own music, you can hear the diversity. I guess that it works that way with every musician. What goes in, comes out, you know what I mean?
Do you consider yourself an artist or a musician?
I guess there is a difference between being an artist and being a musician. An artist could also be a musician. I was actually really into art before I was into music, and still am in fact. Mainly drawing and painting. I was always really into creating things is what it is. So by the time I had learned how to play the guitar, my desire to ‘create’ had shifted toward music. I of course started with cover songs, and then soon began making my own songs with simple chords. I then started to incorporate other instruments; drums, bass guitar, and it grew from there. In that sense, I do consider myself an artist.
Let’s talk about your album, Every Part Of Mine. These songs seem to be very personal. Is this music a part of you?
Yeah, it is very personal. I actually didn’t want my first album to be something so deep and personal. I feel as though the intimate stuff should be reserved for the later albums of an already established artist. But the whole album consists of songs written over a period of many years. Some songs were written a long time ago, some were written more recently. Most of the songs were written during a very dark period of my life. I definitely wasn’t feeling one hundred percent as a person, so my productivity as an independent artist was taking a back seat at the time. But my creativity was still there, so I was still writing songs. When I gathered myself together I noticed that all the songs that I’ve written in the past few years sounded different from each other, due to their attachment to different events. But although they sound different from each other, people have told me that there is something very familiar between the songs, and that’s because they were all written by the same person. By me. Since it is very personal, I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable to the listener. But I think honesty is an important part of art. So yeah, you are right, it is personal.
Your music is “dreamlike”. What are your dreams about the future?
I guess it’s weird because the music industry is changing so fast. Even five years ago, the goal of most musicians was to get a record deal, have an album recorded, and then go on tour to promote the album. But things have changed so much in such a short amount of time. I’m seeing that there are so many ways for artists to be successful and sustain themselves without having to go the old traditional route. Even the way we listen to music has changed. Rarely do you hear of someone buying an actual CD from the store. Its all online. Streaming stations such as Spotify or LastFM allow people to listen to music in any way they want. Where people used to buy full length albums, we now find people downloading individual songs. Listeners can pick a couple songs from one album, a couple from another, and few from another artist, and then one or two from even another, to make a completely new playlist of songs! Now that changes everything for the artist. The artist now has to consider that the listener may not even listen to the whole album. Perhaps it now makes sense for artists to release shorter albums more frequently instead of full length albums once a year. Or perhaps even getting rid of the whole album idea altogether, and just release individual songs as they’re written. I’m gonna be making music for ever. It’s such a part of who I am. I can honestly see myself doing this until I die. Being ‘successful’ is not as important to me as the reactions I see from people who really enjoy my music. No, its not exactly mainstream, and not everyone “gets” it, but those who appreciate it, really do. That makes my day.
There’s something in your music that makes it seem like a landscape…. and you’re like a painter. How are you coming up with this landscape? Is it derived from the place you live or does it come from inside you?
Landscape… That’s interesting. I get what you’re saying. It’s almost like each track has its own sound and color, and merged into one form a picture.
Like a picture. Where does this picture come from? If you lived in a different place, would it be different?
That’s an interesting question, I’ve never thought about it that way. Honestly I don’t think that it would be much different. I think that this landscape I created is a result of the sound I chose. And this sound comes from the inside. The people that I associate with do influence my music a lot though. So I think that when it comes to my choice of lyrics and the way I sing, it would be different. Because the people around me would be different. Also, the way I play the guitar may be the result of my surroundings, and the musicians and bands I have jammed with. I guess the theme of my music may have differed if I had lived in the mid-west or in the south as opposed to here in southern California. It probably would differ even more if I had lived in a different country. But I think this “landscape” idea would remain the same regardless of my geographical location, since after all, painting is something I love to do.
Read more about Jeremiah at http://www.psalmsandpsychoses.com and buy his album at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Every-Part-of-Mine/dp/B008RE5ERA