Four and a half years since leaving New Zealand, Jeremy Redmore is back and doing it in style. His new album The Brightest Flame is being released in five parts, telling what is described as a "tragic yet beautiful story" of lost love. The album recounts a year of upheaval in the former Midnight Youth singer's life, a period that followed his debut solo album, and his departure from the country and his music career. We ask him about how his return to creating music has been a way of healing.
Describe yourself as an artist in one sentence.
I am an artist who aspires to energise through song, performance and presentation – whether that's in an exciting, aggressive, nostalgic or broken-hearted way.
The Brightest Flame is described as your most vulnerable release yet. How hard was it to bare your soul so publicly and does it even frighten you in any way to do so?
This album was born of necessity and compulsion, both of which are easy to follow and because these songs are so truthful, and I am comfortable in myself, I am not fearful at all to be releasing them.
• SoundBites: Kane Strang, Sachi, Algiers
• SoundBites: The Delta Riggs, Aldous Harding, Elbow, Nadia Reid
• SoundBites: Princess Chelsea, Rhian Sheehan, Pacific Heights, Bartells
• SoundBites: The Nudge, Decades, Jupiter Project, Louis Baker
What made you decide to release the new album in this innovative way?
The concept of the album, that this is a musical journal of one year in my life, immediately lent itself to be released as a story and most stories have chapters – so, I thought, why can't music?
Tell us about the Brightest Flame metaphor, what's behind it?
The album title comes from a lyric in one of the songs, Fire and Snow, which explains it all really: "Constantly thinking where you'll be tomorrow, the brightest flame leaves the darkest shadow.."
Of your music, what's your favourite new track and favourite old track, and why.
I have a song on my new album called Southern Lights which I think has the beautiful simplicity that us songwriters strive for and captures that feeling of realising, despite all the wonderful places in the world you may see, your roots are in Aotearoa. Of my older songs, The Letter will always have a fond place in my heart as the song that showed me I could be a complete geek and still write and perform successful pop music.
Give one piece of advice for a youngster starting out in the music business.
If you want money or fame you have come to wrong place – for money, study finance, for fame, audition for Love Island. However, if you feel you cannot live without performing or creating, then work harder than everyone else on a path that that no one else is following and be kind.
What does success look like to you?
For me, success is having the means to create my next piece of work without sacrificing my wellbeing, intentions or the quality of the story I want to tell.
What's one thing you would change about the music industry if you could.
The idea that if someone creates music that does not reach a commercial level of success, then it wasn't worth doing – music, at its core, is a hobby full of self-expression or a community's expression and is an essential part of any great human culture that should always be encouraged.
What's your favourite cathartic album?
The Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit
You're curating a dream festival. Who's on the bill, alive or dead?
Prince, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Robyn, Aretha Franklin, The Shins, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Laura Marling, Sam Cooke, Fugees, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Leonard Cohen, Phoebe Bridgers, The Beach Boys, David Byrne, Sharon van Etten, Oasis, Sufjan Stevens, Arctic Monkeys, HAIM, Glen Hansard, Anderson .Paak, Split Enz, Nils Frahm, Nick Cave.
• The fourth part of The Brightest Flame is out this week, with the fifth and final part due March 20. Midnight Youth will reunite to play a support slot for My Chemical Romance on March 25.