Momentum can be a little intimidating unless you own it and run with it, and Jeremih, finally, is doing just that.
His latest project, the appropriately-named Late Nights: Europe, is the result of several by chance encounters turned stellar mixtape cuts, completed earlier this summer while on his first official european tour. Recording completely on the road for the first time, with almost all sessions taking place on his tour bus or in hotel closets, Jeremih literally stepped out of his studio-centric comfort zone and put full trust in “just having fun.” Combined with executive production from Soundz (“Woosah”), the result is pretty great.
Even more exciting is that he shows no signs of slowing down. Though he has at least a month of doctor-ordered rest ahead of him (resulting in the delayed start to his first official U.S. headlining tour), his eagerness to power through is palpable. He already has plans to link up and continue working with PARTYNEXTDOOR, and is nearing completion of his next album, Later That Night, which he describes as “the best work” he’s made in his Late Nights series. He says he's almost done with the project and that it should be coming this fall, emphasizing that his music just does better in the colder months.
Over the phone from L.A., Jeremih detailed the making of Late Nights: Europe and what it was like to reunite with Ty Dolla $ign and Krept & Konan. He also gave an exciting update on Late Night Party and let us know when to expect the final installment of the Late Nights trilogy (and who we might hear on it). Read the conversation below.
How did recording overseas affect your sound?
JEREMIH: I absolutely love being overseas and seeing things that I’ve never seen before, or going places that I’ve always seen and never been before. This was fairly new to me, as far as how I’ve recorded my albums traditionally, but, just knowing where we was, and that the people were heavily in tune with Late Nights: The Album, it just made me feel good, and more confident just knowing that whatever I was doing was right and I didn’t want to stop it. So, the first time recording on the road, I just wanted to continue to make the tour fun for me, which is, you know, what I love to do for fun is make music.
This tape has an overall darker, more sensual sound, like more like "Rated R," "Woosah," or "Actin Up," and less like "Oui." It's also even more confident than usual. Why?
Going to Paris and just hearing the ladies speak in their tone and language — it was sexy. I didn’t want to stray away from what I know best, great records like “Rated R” or “Woosah.” I felt like those are my “ladies’ favorites” when it comes to my songs — not that “Oui” isn’t — “Oui” was specifically made for an emotion. But this whole entire tour is the “Late Nights Tour.” Every time we recorded, it was after all of my shows, most of which were done by midnight. Most of the songs are just influenced by the vibes of the night, and every spot that we went to was exactly what we called the songs where we recorded them.
“Dubai” was the very first song that was on the tape even though I know it’s not in Europe. It was just a song that was before the actual European tour started. It was one of those one-offs in the club so I just wanted to tee it up real quick because that’s how we all felt. We were amped and excited to go overseas and we just all planned on coming over to “fuck this shit up.” That’s really what all those feelings were inspired by.
How’d you and Ty Dolla $ign link up for “Paris (Who Taught You)?”
Crazily, on the latter end of the tour, we had to come back to London, we had two Koko’s dates. But there was a huge festival out there, Wireless Festival, that [Ty Dolla $ign] and I were a part of, as well as Big Sean. I ran into him, and Kehlani.
Basically, everybody that was on this tape was people that I had bumped into over the course of two and a half weeks in Europe. So when I bumped into [Ty] at Wireless festival, I was just playing him songs. He was just playing some of his new shit and I was just playing him a couple records. The night after Wireless Festival, I’m like “man, you know, who can I get on this?” I just sent him that one song [“Paris (Who Taught You)”]. It was an empty last verse, and I was like “man, I bet Ty’ll body this song.” I haven’t really heard a bad song from Ty. He’s one of the few r&b artists that I listen to that I’m a fan of. It’s not a competition thing. I enjoy making music with people that enjoy making it as much as I do. I felt like every time we’ve linked up, we haven’t failed yet. He sent me his verse back in about 24 hours.
It’s so crazy. Everybody who damn near got on the tape pretty much sent me their verses in a matter of 24 hours. And K Camp, I had hit him and he sent me a verse, no joke, in about 20 minutes after I sent him the song. The last feature we got on the tape actually was Wiz Khalifa. Every song definitely has a different aesthetic to it, but just knowing that people were just having fun, I’m assuming, when they were recording, that’s what it’s all about.
Do you have plans to work with Ty in the future?
Of course! You know I’m working on my Trilogy to this whole Late Nights experience, which is Later That Night — I’ve got a couple records that are incomplete. Sometimes I have some people specifically on my mind that I will want to hop on a song, but [Ty Dolla $ign] definitely is a person I wouldn’t mind not only doing more music with, but possibly even one day doing a project, or something together, musician to musician. I even was thinking about maybe putting together an artist type of band, as crazy as it sounds. He plays the bass well and other instruments and maybe me on the keys. Just thinking ahead maybe for some kind of dope piece or part of an awards show, or something. He’s just one of those people that I definitely would want to collab with a lot more, and he always comes through. Definitely.
Tell me about how “London” (featuring Krept & Konan and Stefflon Don) came together.
I met Krept & Konan a year or two ago when I dropped “Don’t Tell ‘Em” and they laid verses on the remix for the U.K. edition. It turned out being a hell of an experience when I came back to London, because the song had gotten so big out there that we actually ended up performing together, closing the MOBO awards. To be from America, from Southside of Chicago, getting to do that was definitely a memory for me. Luckily, later on that night, we went to the studio after the MOBO awards and ended up creating what was soon to be their single called “Freak Of The Week.” There’s definitely history between me and Krept & Konan. Knowing that we were coming to London, I was like “man, we might as well let them hop on something.” What I didn’t know was this young lady named Stefflon Don, who I had met through a friend of mine.
She came to the hotel room, and our studio setup was literally a small mic in the closet, with a sheet behind it, with my Giuseppes over the sheets to keep them from falling over the mic, definitely a hood stu. But she came in, and she said she had some Jamaican descent, and I could tell immediately that she definitely had the potential to be somebody special, knowing that we travel the world so much and meet a lot of girls that try to be something, but really aren’t. She proved me wrong, definitely. She came in and started doing some freestyles, I was piecing the song together, and, just to hear a girl say, “you have to marry my nana before I ride the banana,” was kinda like, a very “sneaky freaky” that she had brought to the table. We definitely kept that for the hook, and that night, the song was done, as far as me and her. The very next day, we ended up just going to [Krept & Konan’s] studio and they knocked out their verses. Like I said, most of the songs were done in 24 hours time. That [“London”] happens to be one of my favorites on the tape for sure.
Did she make you feel more comfortable jumping into the island sound that’s on the song?
I can’t say I’ve never touched any island feels before, whether it was from “Birthday Sex” to “I Like” to even hopping on “Nasty,” that joint that I’ve got with Kid Ink and Spice. It’s not that i’m unfamiliar with or I feel uncomfortable with singing [like that], I personally just always do what I believe feels the best on a beat, on a production, coming from a producer. Starting off as a producer I’ve just always done what feels best to me vocally on the track. When we were all in there [recording] she definitely made it more comfortable and made it more believable, for her to do that. It would be like a call and response, back and forth, you know, from me to her, it worked out definitely, perfectly.
Chance The Rapper was rumored to be on the tape, but he didn’t end up on it. What happened to that song? Will we ever hear it?
When I got back [to the U.S.], a day or two before I put out the tape, I bumped into Chance. Being on tour and gone for 30 days, I really should have just sent him the songs I wanted him to get on. I had a Pitchfork Festival performance on my birthday, and when we went into the studio that night, I played damn near everything for him. He didn’t know really what to get on, he was just like “man, I’ll get on whatever.” So I threw him like two to three songs while we were at the studio. I was upstairs and he was downstairs. The song he was going to get on was “Stockholm.” I actually ended up leaving the verse blank because I felt comfortable enough to let people just appreciate the instrumentation for once, but even now, there’s a possibility for [the Chance collaboration] to happen, but I’d rather just use him for my Later That Night album.
What about your rumored PARTYNEXTDOOR collaborative project?
Well I know he just dropped P3. It’s definitely different than what we’ve got so far, but, that just shows the versatility of PARTYNEXTDOOR, knowing that he’s behind a lot of your favorite records that are out right now that other people have represented. We’ve got about a solid eight songs that we’ve done. He’s actually out here right now in L.A., and I plan on getting up with him this week, just to continue to build, but I believe [the collaborative project] is definitely something special. I don’t want to speak too much on it, but that will be called Late Night Party, which goes hand in hand with what I’m doing and of course with what he’s doing. We just gotta link up and continue to just knock out, you know, the vibes. And right now, like I said, I feel like it’s definitely, it’s not too different from Later That Night, it’s not too different from what he’s doing, but I think it’s the best of both of us, so we’ll see how that goes, and, y’all should be getting that soon. I know he was working on his album, and right now I feel like it’s a good time to get back in and finish what we started.
You recently announced your U.S. tour is delayed — what are you up to?
I had to get surgery on my foot, and I’m gonna have to be off my feet for at least a month and a half, so I didn’t want to go on a tour with a cast. It just didn’t make sense to me. I want to give my fans the best of what I want them to see. It will be my first official Jeremih U.S. tour, as Europe’s tour was previously. I can’t wait to see how my U.S. fans [react], just seeing how receptive they were overseas. Every show went crazy. I’m looking forward to see what the US is talkin’ about.