Jeremy Troy Is A Space Funk Pioneer
Written by Vocalo Radio on May 2, 2023
American-born, Denmark-raised artist Jeremy Troy just released his debut single “Flower” leading up to the rollout for his EP Ceremonies, but there is a lot more to this rising “sound scientist” than meets the eye.
23-year-old artist Jeremy Troy Carrier, known professionally as Jeremy Troy, was born in Louisiana but raised in Århus, Denmark, after he moved there with his mom when he was only two years old. Even though Troy just started releasing music with his debut single “Flower,” he’s been around music his whole life with musicians on both sides of his family — including Grammy Award-winning zydeco musicians in the Carrier family on his dad’s side.
His upbringing in Århus and his family name both have an impact on Troy as an artist. He feels Scandinavian sound informs parts of the way he sings, and though he doesn’t necessarily follow Danish culture as a whole, he feels it has influence on his artistry — and even goes so far as to say his music couldn’t exist without it.
“I don’t think that my music sounds Danish at all, but my music most likely wouldn’t have the same sound if I never lived in Denmark,” he said.
Troy is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer and rapper, who works to explore all forms and genres of music but refers to his current style as “Space Funk.” Troy doesn’t only make music to make songs, but as a form of discovery and dubs himself a “sound scientist.”
“It’s more like a study of complex communication through abstract sound waves, in a language that is much more complex and surpasses the human verbal language,” he explained.
His single “Flower,” which was featured on Vocalo’s “Poised To Break Through” playlist for April, explores a groovy funk sound, but he says his upcoming EP won’t focus on one specific genre and will instead “merge all of the different styles of music [he] love[s] into one collected sound.”
Troy hasn’t announced the release date for his EP yet, but noted the first single from the project will be released on May 12.
We virtually heard from Jeremy Troy about the making of “Flower,” his familial and cultural artistic influences, self-expression through fashion and what it means to be a “sound scientist.”
“We are all lost, and will all be found.”– Jeremy Troy
How does someone born in Louisiana end up in Århus, Denmark? When did you move there?
Well my mom is Danish, so her side of the family lives in Denmark. She lived in Louisiana with my father when I was born, but when they got divorced, she moved back to Denmark and I moved with her. This already happened when I was 2 or 3 years old, so even though I was born in Louisiana, I pretty much grew up in Århus. So I feel like I’m just as much from Århus as from Louisiana.
How does living in Denmark influence your sound, if at all?
Since I grew up in Denmark, it of course had an influence on my sound or inspiration, at least. I kind of feel like commercial Danish music culture in some sense mimics American music culture, but there is definitely a Scandinavian sound, though. I think that the Scandinavian sound has influenced a part of the way that I sing.
In general the whole experience of growing up in Denmark must have been influential. It’s hard to pin down specifically how, but it definitely gave me another angle of perceiving the world than I would have in Louisiana.
I think it’s hard to talk directly about how my sound gets influenced by living in Denmark, though. I think it’s about how my personality and identity gets influenced by experiences in Danish culture, norms and values, which then influence my sound on an abstract and subconscious level. I can’t help being influenced by everything around me on some level, but I try to be very mindful about which things I allow to influence me and what I want to be influenced by.
An influence could also be to reject the influence, if that makes sense? I don’t necessarily like or follow Danish norms and culture, and I don’t think that my music sounds Danish at all, but my music most likely wouldn’t have the same sound if I never lived in Denmark. So in that case, I would have to reject a Danish sound or influence in order to find a non-danish sound. But this specific non-Danish sound couldn’t have existed without a danish influence. It would have to have experienced an initial Danish influence, which is now rejected. Haha, I don’t know man …
Coming from an older music family, how does that affect your approach toward making music? If at all.
Hmm, I don’t think it affects my approach directly. Or actually, yes it does, because it’s in my DNA … So I’m probably not fully aware of how it truly affects me. I just do.
And I think it has affected my approach by making me feel like I was made for this. Literally. And because my family is in music, I have always received 100% support from them. My mother’s side of the family in Denmark are also musicians, so I’ve received understanding and support all round.
Do you feel like you have a sort of family name you need to live up to, coming from the Carrier family?
Not in a pressured way. It’s more like I’m proud, respectful and thankful for the elders who came before. I don’t really feel like I can not live up to my family name. That’s the only thing I can do. Since childhood I’ve always had a pretty uncompromising attitude and mindset in my pursuit of a life in music, and my passion to share love and empowerment to the community through my music. Ironically, I believe that the Carrier name is present in the way that I’m carrying myself, and therefore I’m already living up to it.
Of course, there’s also big achievements like Grammy Awards in the name, so I’m not trying to sound overconfident in that sense, haha. But if you knew my family, I think you would understand.
Is there any reason why you don’t use the Carrier name professionally? Elaborate.
Actually really early in my artistic journey, I had a short period where I used Carrier, or CVRRIER, as my producer/beat-maker name. But I never released anything and didn’t produce anything that got released, so that name never existed outside of my own mind and the audio file names on my computer. And then I got away from the idea about using two different names.
Early on, I also kind of wanted to create an artist name that wasn’t my real name, but I just couldn’t escape the fact that my real name already sounded like an artist name, so it felt like a shame not to use it. I’m pretty sure that my father actually thought of this when my parents named me … I think that “Jeremy Troy” sounds pretty dope by itself, though, so I guess the only reason for not using the Carrier name professionally is that it would be too long for my taste. I would define it like this: A Carrier is what I am. Jeremy Troy is who I am.
“I’m very serious about music, and it definitely is a science for me.”– Jeremy Troy
What’s the story behind your single “Flower,” which was featured on our “Poised To Break Through” playlist for April?
Before I wrote “Flower,” I was in a pretty dark phase of my life, where I was very depressed and pretty confused about who and what I was supposed to be. As I said earlier, I always knew that I wanted to be a musician and an artist, but in this period of time I had a very hard time making music. I couldn’t figure out what kind of music I wanted to make, so I would desperately search for something that felt right, which resulted in countless projects that failed. It wasn’t the cause of my depressive state of mind, but just added even more weight to it.
But as I gradually got better with a more balanced mind and body, I eventually reached a turning point where I finally started seeing a path form. I still didn’t know exactly where to go, and what kind of music I wanted to make, but I started feeling very optimistic about life. This paradox of being kind of lost in life, but at the same time feeling very optimistic finally sparked some inspiration in me that wasn’t forced.
This is what led me to write “Flower.” The song is a story about my own turning point, and a story about infinite optimism, no matter how lost you might feel. It was originally just for myself, but I really hope that some people who might have similar feelings can use it as I have used it. And the instrumental part of the track, of course, manifests as a funky groove that forces your body to move.
We are all lost, and will all be found.
RELATED: Poised To Break Through: April 2023
What does your process look like when it comes to making songs like “Flower”?
My process when creating music can be very different, depending on what sparks the inspiration. Sometimes it’s lyrics, sometimes it’s a bass line or drums and sometimes it’s just a feeling. I usually record everything myself, and I often just start recording whatever idea I have at the moment very fast, and then trust my intuition to arrange the song on the go. I trust the process, and improvisation has always been a part of my workflow. And I like to work alone, because it really enables me to trust my intuition and play with ideas without anyone in the room to impress.
“Flower” was a weird process, though. Not how my process usually looks. I actually wrote the song back in 2019, but it only existed as a demo until I recorded it with my band two or three years later. The first demo was more electronic. It was basically a house track, but had exactly the same bass line, chord progressions and lyrics as the new version. I had pretty much forgotten about the track until my bassist Philip started talking about it. He then started pressuring me to bring it to rehearsal, and insisted that he had to play that bass line soon. I’m very good at moving on to new music, and losing interest in my older music, but Phil was very persistent! So I told the band we were gonna try it out at the next rehearsal, and yo, when we played that song as a live band I was totally sold. We had to record it. Thanks, Phil!
You displayed a beautiful funk sound in your debut single. Can we expect more of this on the upcoming EP, or will you be exploring other sounds on this project? What else can you tell us about the EP?
You can expect a little bit of everything. It has the funk, but I am always exploring other sounds. The songs on the EP have their own story each while still consisting of the same elements. I would describe the project as an attempt to merge all of the different styles of music I love into one collected sound. Even though it has a clear sound, it’s obviously still hard to define the style or genre of the project, but that’s one of the things I really like about it.
The title of the EP will be Ceremonies, and the first single from the project will be released on 12 May!
You’ve been making music and performing for quite a while. What makes now the time you wanted to start releasing music?
I’ve been wanting to release music for as long as I’ve been making it, and I’ve also recorded many projects that could, but probably never will be released.
What can I say? I’m a perfectionist, which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it really has pushed me to evolve immensely and very fast, before releasing something that I would already have outgrown a month later. And a curse because I’m truly my own worst enemy. I have very high expectations of myself, so I’m rarely satisfied with the work I’ve done. But I still think that it’s a good thing, and I’m glad that I’ve taken the time I needed and didn’t release anything until now.
I’ve never had one specific style of music that I wanted to make, so every project I have made in the past has been very different. I’ve spent my time as a recording and performing artist, patiently sharpening my skills in every way, and exploring what I truly want to do as an artist. It has also enabled me to build my foundation as an artist by performing and actually slowly making a name of myself, without having to define myself as a specific kind of artist. But now I finally feel ready to be a releasing artist, because all the artistic expressions and styles that I’ve explored are starting to merge into one unique style that I am truly proud of. Don’t expect all of my music to sound like “Flower,” though, but it will definitely still have the grooviness!
We saw that you did an electronic solo concert the other day! Is there a reason why you don’t release your other music?
It was actually an experimental improv concert with two sets. The first set was improvised on the spot, and in the second set I performed tracks from my upcoming EP! So the first set was made of tracks that don’t even exist, and the second set was with existing tracks that will be released later this year. It wasn’t possible to bring the band with me this time, so I used the opportunity to experiment with an electronic solo setup.
I will definitely also release the electronic music I’m making. It’s generally going to be a mixture of both worlds, as you will also hear on my upcoming EP. The concert was electronic, but I still had acoustic drums and instruments in the setup. I try to mix it all together. So I will release my other music, but “Flower” seemed like a good place to start!
We noticed you know how to play a plethora of instruments. If you had to pick one, which one would be your favorite and why?
Uhhh that’s a hard one. That stuff can switch every week for me … I was originally a drummer, so that’s where I feel most at home, but I am very curious and can’t stop exploring new things. I just had some months with the guitar as my favorite, but now I’m looking for a new favorite. At the moment, I actually obsess more about my studio setup and routing of analog gear than my instruments. I guess I’m more like a technician right now, so my favorite instrument must be signal flow.
With such a diverse skill set when it comes to making music, what’s your favorite type of music to make?
Uhh that’s also a hard one. But I think I’ve already answered this question. No specific type of music, I just love blending different types of music. Right now I would define my personal favorite type of music to make as a blend of psych rock and what I like to call “Space Funk.” “Space Funk” would actually, at the moment, be my best attempt at naming my genre or style.
Why do you call yourself a “sound scientist”?
Because my reason for making music is not necessarily only to make songs. It’s more like a study of complex communication through abstract sound waves, in a language that is much more complex and surpasses the human verbal language. I’m very serious about music, and it definitely is a science for me. In some ways I have a similar workflow to what a scientist would have. Music such as “Flower” is a groovy “song,” but I’ve also had a project where I obsessed over what frequencies affect what feelings and parts of the body.
I work on many things that the world doesn’t see. Maybe someone will find my sound scientific notes after my death and release them, haha.
We saw on your Facebook you were a former pilot. Can you fly? Or is “pilot” referring to something else?
Hahahah! Well no, I don’t know how to fly … not planes, at least. But yes, my Facebook says that I was a former pilot at F16. F16 is a plane, but it’s also an education in Århus, where young creative souls like me can work on their project-making skills. So you learn how to create your own project whatever it might be. It could be events, art, a business or, yeah, just literally whatever you want to create. So you’re a “pilot” while you’re attending F16.
Your fashion sense is also one of one. Can you break it down for us?
Yeah, I love decorating my body and I’m usually always overdressed for everything. I find inspiration in many things. Usually not people, but rather concepts or cultures. So when I wear eye makeup, for instance, it could be a feminine or androgynous concept, but it could just as well be mimicking a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
But for me, fashion is a way of channeling my inner world and making it physical. Like a painting or a song that you can wear. I usually dress after what emotional state I’m in, or what vibe I want to create in myself. I’m not trying to dress a certain way or follow a certain trend, it’s very personal for me and also a way of communication. Like with my music, I try to merge every part of my current being with my fashion, but the specific outfit I wear says a lot about what I am trying to achieve or how I feel at the moment. Sometimes I dress like an anime character, in the sense that I will wear the same or small variation of exactly the same outfit for a long period of time. It’s like different forms, and sometimes I have to stay in a specific form, until it’s not needed anymore.
Keep up with Jeremy Troy on Instagram, and listen to “Flower” on Spotify below.
Interview and written introduction by Omi Salisbury
Answers edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca
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