Jeremy and the Harlequins Interview

With a look and sound fit for a ‘70s rock ‘n’ roll band, Jeremy and the Harlequins are a blast from the past. Consisting of brothers Jeremy Fury (singer) and Stephen Fury (drummer), Craig Bonich (guitar), Patrick Meyer (guitar), and Nathan Cogan (bass), the band has drawn its inspiration from classic rock bands to produce a raw sound, rare in the digital age. After a two-day recording session, Jeremy and the Harlequins finished American Dreamer, which was released in February and will be released on vinyl in June.
Cliché: How’d you pick the Harlequins as your band name?
Jeremy Fury: I had been thinking about the name the Harlequins for a while. I was reading this book called The Traveler from the Fourth Realm Trilogy, and in the book, the harlequins are the heroes. I thought it was a cool band name, and I thought it related to the sound we were going to be doing.
How would you describe the sound that you were going for?
Early rock ‘n’ roll. Everything was stripped down. It’s kind of nostalgic and a little throwback. It borrows from the ‘60s and some early ‘70s glam rock stuff.
Who would you say your musical influences are?
There are so many. The obvious ones are Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley, but also T. Rex, David Bowie, the Clash, and Gene Vincent.
How long has the band played together?
That’s a tricky question. Our drummer, who is my brother, and I have been in bands since I was 12. We were in another band, and I met Craig when we were on the road on tour years ago. We’ve been playing together for about five years. But as far as Jeremy and the Harlequins in this lineup, we have been playing together for about two years.
In February, you guys released American Dreamer, which was written and recorded in a week’s time. How was that process?
It was fast and fun, and every stage we had been going through in the years we’ve all been playing music culminated at that point. Even though it was only a few days recording and a few days for pre-production, the endpoint and the beginning were what we had been working towards. Everything came really naturally when we were working on the songs. We didn’t have a chance to overthink it. I’ve made records in the past where you have so much time to make it that you end up changing your mind and adding too many bells and whistles on a song that doesn’t need it. Because of our limitations with budget and time, I feel like for the sound we were going for, it was an asset to have those limitations. Sometimes you look at limitations as a curse, but sometimes it can be a big blessing. It made it more stripped down and raw, and I think that emotion is evident on the record.
What made you guys decide to do that in such a short time?
We didn’t decide it. We had no idea it was going to happen or what was going to even happen after we made the record. My brother was living in Paris at the time. He was in school and working part-time as a chef. He came back for a few weeks to visit the family for the summer. I was at my wits end. The band I had been playing with broke up, and I had been trying to get something off the ground for a long time, so my brother recommended we work on tunes. We started working on a bunch of songs that I had written over the past eight years. We picked the 10 best ones that fit what we were going for. A day after we started working on the songs, we had a friend of ours come play bass. I was playing guitar and singing at that point. Then I called Craig in New York and said we need to make this record because we only had so much time before my brother left. He said he could come the following week if we booked a studio, so we found a studio for five days later in Detroit. And then a day before Craig came out, he met another guitar player, and he said he would be awesome to play with. He hopped in the van. They came to Ohio, which is where we grew up, and it is about an hour from Detroit. We spent four to five days working on the songs and only had two days booked in the studio. It wasn’t a fun experiment; it was just the time we had before my brother left, other guys had to go back to work, and others were going on tour with another band. If it didn’t work, it wasn’t going to happen.
What do you think that process lent to the music?
If we had more time, I don’t know if it would be better or worse. Some people might think it’s too raw or sounds too throwback, but it gave it its sound because of the urgency. In previous recording processes, I’ve spent two weeks on vocals, and this time, I spent two and a half hours on vocals. It was a totally different process. More than anything, sound-wise, we were trying to strip everything down. Since digital technology is so cheap and accessible, I feel like a lot of musicians and bands are utilizing it. That’s great for them, but for me, I want to go in the opposite direction of what I hear. I think the way we recorded American Dreamer was to do it as organic and raw as possible.
I read that you had written the single “You’re My Halo” a few years prior. So where’d that come from?
That song was actually on a record from a band our drummer and I were in called We Are the Fury, and the record was called Venus. We didn’t plan on using any old songs. That was the last one we chose to record. We started thinking about the record, and we decided we wanted one that had that “Earth Angel” feel. I was trying to write a new song, but then my brother had the idea to rework “You’re My Halo.” The essence and the structure and the lyrics are all the same. The only things that are different are the guitar tone and some part octaves.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Just different producers. We are self-sufficient in how production stuff goes, but I think someone like Mark Ronson, who is big in the pop world and knows how to record great songs that also have a throwback influence, and James Ford, who did records for Haim and Arctic Monkeys, would be fun. If we did have an outside producer, I’d want it to be someone who would bring something different to our sound that we didn’t think about.
So what’s next?
We’re going to have some more shows in the New York area and the Midwest. We are putting out American Dreamer on vinyl in June. There will be new music and videos. Our job as a band is going to be playing new shows and recording new music. Hopefully you can expect some new stuff to come out in the next few months.
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Jeremy and the Harlequins Interview: Photographed by Adam Erick Wallace

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