Interview with Jeremiah McKinley

Today, we sat down with Jeremiah McKinley to talk music inspiration, music they grew up listening to and much more! Be sure to check out their music below after the interview on Spotify!

Interview:

What is your inspiration to write your music? Is it your surroundings?

That’s really hard to say. A lot of times I’ll be listening to an audiobook at work or hear an interesting turn of phrase. We enjoy telling stories, and a lot of the ones we tell are fictional, but we always make sure that they have a personal touch or a feeling. Something that we connect with on some level. We wrote a song last year just watching peaky blinders on Netflix called, “Gypsy Road.” It’s a song about being wary of the troubles that await you on this road. Not to trust in riches you can’t carry because they will only slow you down. It all started when I heard the line, ” What we lost in fire clears with the smoke.” And I wrote the response, ” we’ll pick the ashes clean, and roll on with your bones, On gypsy road, you can’t build no home, take what you need, can’t trust what you just can’t hold.” I listen to a lot of historical fiction books. Currently I am listening to one set in Juarez, Mexico. It sparked a new song I’m writing about a young man chasing a girl down to Juarez, where he gets sucked into the world of drug trafficking, and wakes up with no memory of how he’s gotten himself into this situation. A lot of our surroundings have inspired our sound. Growing up in North Carolina we have been surrounded by bluegrass, country and folk. It has really shaped our sound and our songwriting approach. It seems to me that the old folk songs usually tell such great stories that really sit with you. So that’s what we’ve set out to do. Make folk stories, with a blues rock sound.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
Our parents had a wide range of listening. We were exposed to a lot of great stuff from a lot of great genres. Led Zeppelin, Duran Duran, DC Talk, The B-52’s, Aerosmith, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, The Steve Miller Band, Bob Marley, Elvis, Nirvana, the list goes on. We are really blessed to have heard so many kinds of music. As a result of that we have a hard time sticking to one sound, and a lot of our songs wander into different territories. We decided we would let the songs take us where they wanted to go, whether it’s more jazz or folk or rock. I still have a lot of the older 60’s and 70’s music on repeat when I am out and about.
Is there someone you looked up as a hero?

Definitely our parents. They are very hard working and selfless people. They are always filling up their time with what they can do for others, or helping someone who may be in need. They have both always set an amazing example of how to conduct yourself and enjoy life. Our house is always filled with laughter, and no one at our house will let you take yourself too seriously. Our father is a carpenter and our mother a middle school Spanish teacher. At night when we would get home from school, a lot of the times we would end up working jobs with our father, framing houses to building cabinets. I am always very appreciative of those experiences we got as children learning how to fix and make things, not to mention getting to spend a lot of time with him. We still get to hang out with our pops plenty, he plays the drums on all of our records, and there is no one else I’d rather make music with than my family. Our mother, it turns out, plays piano, and that would have been really helpful to know when I myself was learning. I was sitting down practicing when she walked in one day and started playing beside me. We are very lucky to have been dealt the parents we have. They are very supportive and have great taste in music.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing today?
Most definitely painting. I was a fine arts major in college and have always loved creating things. There is something really satisfying about taking a picture or idea in your mind and trying to capture it or reproduce it the best you can. Thats really what I love about making music. Taking words and sounds in your head and trying to share how you see the world. Half the fun of starting this band is all the artistic opportunities that it affords. I can design album covers, and make merchandise designs.
What advice do you have for our fans out there that want to create music?

What are you waiting for? There are always going to be a million excuses to not try something or not go after what you want to do, but you don’t need anyone’s permission to get to work on what you want to do. We grew up in a very blue collar family where hard work and self reliance matter. If you want to make music, start making it. We’re all still just figuring it out as we go. Getting out of college I had never picked up a guitar but had always wanted to try. I had a little spare money and pulled the trigger. Within a couple of days I was writing my own music. And Jeremiah McKinley was born. Looking back I wish I would have started sooner because I can not imagine wanting to do anything else.

Music: