I feel that the second part of this two-part question is more difficult to answer.
Leaving aside one’s own endless, internal questions, these days, or perhaps ever since I left the confines of formal education, most of the difficult questions I’m asked are easy enough to swerve or to shrug off.
‘Do you love me?’
‘How would you explain the fabric of space-time?’
‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’
All difficult questions, but easier, I feel, to answer than this one.
This is the first full length record that I have released, and therefore everything, musically at least, up until now has been leading up to this, and so the implication, simplified for my over-complicating brain, is:
‘Why do you do what you do?’
As it is arguable, and in fact scientifically the case, that everything is connected; mostly on a very tenuous, insignificant level, but on rare and wonderful occasions this rationale can be the source of moments of clarity that are beautiful and profound.
And where the craft is something as abstract as music, and in this instance specifically relating to a space-themed semi-concept album, the answer is not immediate.
Neither is it an elaborate abstraction about an epiphanous dream I once had where I was floating in outer space and everything became clear – the album has enough pretentiousness in itself. I feel like the answer involves exploring certain areas of my psyche that have been left under-explored, perhaps purposefully.
So I’m going to start with the first part, and come back to the second.
As the album’s title ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’ suggests, there is a cosmic theme that runs through the record, connecting the parts – the individual songs – into one cohesive body. It was never a conscious decision during the writing process that this theme would manifest itself in the end product (although I would say that it was probably always present on an unconscious level).
The songs written in the latter stages of the process included imagery and ideas about space and the cosmos, both because that was what I happened to be into at the time, and also because in each song that they are used, I felt that this kind of imagery was the most appropriate way to convey the song’s message.
For example, the ‘robot extraterrestrials’ in ‘Robot Love’ are used as a counterpoint to the concept of love as a human emotion; the objective of the song was to underline this foremost human characteristic at a time when the prevalence of hatred and misplaced anger in society is deeply troubling.
Once all of the songs were written and in place it was clear in what direction we were going to go with the album production: lots of cosmic-sounding synths, strings and percussion (not that it is possible to hear anything in space, but we use our imagination well).
These were then combined with the more acoustic instrumentation, and the clear fact I was going to indulge this by semi-seriously referring to the album’s genre as ‘space-folk’.
In terms of the songs that are more grounded or ‘earthly’, which populate the middle of the album, all in all they still fit into the overarching theme – love, relationships, hangovers, friends’ weddings, as it is arguable, and in fact on could say scientifically the case, that everything is connected; mostly on a very tenuous, insignificant level, but on rare and wonderful occasions, this rationale can be the source of moments of clarity that are beautiful and profound.
And besides, there is little merit in getting lost in learning about how to solve the mysteries of the cosmos without bringing it back to what it could all possibly mean in the micro and everyday.
Above all of this, or perhaps behind it all, is a semi-conscious desire or drive to present a perception or understanding of the world, its place in the universe, and all the tiny minutiae within it through my individual lens and the medium of song; and through this I hope that it connects with people who might feel the same, or indeed differently, as empathy is not a one-way street.
And I think in that you have the answer to why I wrote this album ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’, or perhaps this explains why anyone creates anything artistically.
In essence it is a call to the world to say ‘this is what I think and feel’, and to see if anyone responds in kind, or otherwise.
Jeremy Tuplin is a Somerset-born London-based singer-songwriter who has released two EPs and one full length album to date. Tour dates and more can be found at http://www.jeremytuplin.com/