Like something out of one of TV’s most beloved cult classics, Jeremy Voltz spun a tale of maturity and growth into a picture-perfect song, “Like the Very First Time.” We talked about the lead single from his October 2021 release, ‘Weekender,’ small screen inspirations, mutual uncouplings, and what he has in store for the rest of this year – and perhaps, beyond – in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: What initially got you intrigued by music? Was it an album, an artist, a music video?
Jeremy Voltz: Both my sisters did marching band in high school, so I had to too. I picked the clarinet and hated it. But then a kid at my school who played the drums moved away, and I asked to switch to drums to fill in, cause I was always tapping on stuff and fidgeting and annoying people, haha.
We bought a drum set and I became obsessed. I loved drums, I’d play along for hours every day to Zeppelin, DMB (Carter Beauford is my hero), Rush, etc…The drums were my first love, and they really influenced the way I sing and play guitar (which I got into later in high school).
Kendra: You’ve noted that the foundation for “Like the Very First Time” was laid back when you took part in Canada’s Music Incubator Artist Entrepreneurship Program. How did you get involved in that and what were some lasting lessons you took from it that you’re still taking advantage of today?
Jeremy Voltz: I applied to CMI through their website and was so happy when they accepted me into the program. It was an intensive eight-week course and I learned a ton about the industry, songwriting, and performing. I also made some incredible friends and professional relationships. I met my best friend, Oliver Charles, who’s been producing and co-writing my next album with me in the program. I also check in with Vel at CMI regularly, and his mentorship since the program has been invaluable, including helping me sign a publishing deal with Hyvetown Music.
My biggest takeaway from CMI was how many industry professionals all said the same thing: All that matters is the song. And the more I make music, the more I’ve come to believe that.
Kendra: “Like the Very First Time,” definitely has some roots in reality but it was your favorite show that led you towards the finish line. Do you think that you could write a whole record based on Buffy and Angel’s relationship from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer?’
Jeremy Voltz: Haha, I bet I could! I mean, having to kill your one true love and send him to hell for all eternity because he’s lost his soul and he’s killing your friends…that alone has to be worth a couple of songs, right?
Kendra: What I like about this song is that it shows that relationships don’t always have to end on a sour note. I talked to a singer recently who said after four years with someone she loved, they realized things had just run their course. I thought that was a great way to put it. For you though, what do you think is the best way to end things amicably?
Jeremy Voltz: Yeah, my first long-term relationship of four years ended mutually. We had just grown apart, and we were both different people than we were in the beginning. And whenever I look back on the relationship, all I remember are the good things. Of course, there were bad things though.
I think you have to realize that you can love someone and not want to be with them. But as long as you remember the love you have for them, you’ll want them to be happy, and you’ll know that breaking up is for the best. It’s a gift you’re giving them, so they can move on and find the right fit.
Kendra: People can hear “Like The Very First Time” on your October release, ‘Weekender.’ This is your first LP since 2016’s ‘Bend The Tracks.’ Looking back at that album and then ahead at this one – how do you feel you’ve grown overall as an artist?
Jeremy Voltz: It turns out ‘Bend the Tracks’ was actually 2018, but the date got screwed up with the distributors when the album switched ownership last year. Still trying to get that sorted out. But yeah, ‘Bend the Tracks’ was an interesting album, because it was commissioned specifically for sync-licensing by Nightingale Music, and I produced it all myself at home.
I leaned more into folk for that album, and it turns out I really liked writing folk songs. I learned a ton making that record, and was blown away by the success of the song “One Day at a Time,” which I wrote for a friend going through a tough time.
My sound has since matured, and I’m now working with incredibly talented people who can bring my sound forward several steps. Michael Wojewoda produced ‘Weekender,’ and he produced a lot of the Barenaked Ladies’ albums and has won several JUNO awards. So sonically, this new album sounds like a million bucks. But most importantly, I took the lessons I learned about songwriting from ‘Bend The Tracks,’ the storytelling, simplicity, and lyrical directness of folk music, and applied it to a band-centered, funky, indie-soul sound. And I think the result is poignant, thoughtful, emotional songs that still groove and have joyful musical moments. I’m really proud of this album!
Kendra: With ‘Weekender’ out in October, what else do you have planned as we head towards wrapping up this year?
Jeremy Voltz: Well, we just finished shooting the craziest music video I’ve ever been a part of for one of the tracks off of the album. We shot it over two nights in a spooky abandoned hotel! My sleep schedule still hasn’t recovered!. And I’m looking forward to playing an album release show at 3030 in Toronto on November 11th, showcasing the awesome performers on the album. Most importantly, I’m hoping to take a vacation at some point, Covid allowing.