JEREMY ZUCKER Explains Symbolisms In Music Videos "Always, I'll Care" & "Not Ur Friend"
Ai dela Cruz
Some artists take a few years and maybe a couple of EPs before releasing an album. But this guy waited ever so patiently for his time to come.
After introducing his music through eight (I repeat, eight) EPs and more than 15 singles that have garnered over two billion total streams worldwide, Jeremy Zucker is finally releasing his much-anticipated debut album love is not dying on April 17!
love is not dying, april 17th pic.twitter.com/GQHV4ELSdY
— (´༎ຶོρ༎ຶོ`) (@jeremyzucker) March 30, 2020
Thanks to our friends from MCA Music, I got to interview Jeremy on the phone, straight from his home in Brooklyn where he wrote, recorded, and produced the album!
First of all, there's no need to worry even though he's in New York—one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus. He's safe at home, in self-quarantine, and observing social distancing just like the rest of us.
"We're also pretty much on lockdown. We're trying not to infect anybody or get infected ourselves. Everyone's working from home remotely. Thank God for the internet. In my social circle, everyone's doing social distancing, no one's really hanging out," he assures his Filipino fans.
There was something really genuine about how he fondly reminisced about his last visit in the Philippines six months ago: "Yeah, I remember I went to the MYX headquarters where I filmed that thing, right? My show in Manila was the last show of my tour, I think. Was it Karpos Live? That was one of my funnest shows ever, I think especially because my Filipino fans are like... some of the first international support that I got was from the Philippines." Awww!
Aside from being sentimental, the 24-year-old "comethru" hitmaker proves he's also multitalented, having directed and edited most of his music videos, including "always, i'll care" (AIC): "I directed it with my friend Stefan (Kohli). I just had a clear vision of what I wanted the video to look like. He’s a really close friend so it was really easy to collaborate with him and sort of make it come alive."
always, i’ll care
— (´༎ຶོρ༎ຶོ`) (@jeremyzucker) February 7, 2020
"I decided to direct it because I have a decent background in film. I took a couple of film classes in college and I’ve been making videos ever since I was a kid. In my mind, it’s like really similar to making music—the way you film and record and edit. There’s like a lot of similarities between editing videos and editing music, so I just thought it’ll be fun and I knew that I would be able to do it in the way that I envisioned it," the former Molecular Biology major shared.
Courtesy: Jeremy Zucker
Shot at a beautiful beach in Malibu in just one day, the AIC music video opens with a fluffy bunny cuddled in Jeremy's arms. When I asked about what it symbolizes, he laughed as he admitted, "I just wanted like a really wholesome image and I wanted to start the video with like a really compelling, really cute thing. I knew that I wanted to have an animal in it from the beginning."
— Duara (@cattoplays) March 20, 2020
Apparently, it wasn't originally supposed to be a bunny as Jeremy revealed, "I wanted to get like a baby chick in it ‘cause it’s such a symbol for purity and wholesomeness, but we couldn’t get a baby chick, unfortunately, so we got a bunny and that almost worked, I think, ‘cause bunnies are super cute."
It's no wonder he wanted a wholesome element, since he calls the song "an ode to platonic love": "It’s a song that I wrote about my friend who would always call me like, I guess, during the worst times when I feel so busy and I feel like I couldn't really respond to her because of what I was doing, and just working and stuff. And I would always feel really guilty when I wouldn’t return her calls or text immediately. But no matter what, she always sort of understood that things are really crazy and she never once really got offended."
"I would call her, out of the blue, after like a couple of days when I’m in the right mind space to respond to her and she would love me just as much. So I sort of wrote that song, realizing that if you care about someone, you’re not gonna worry if they don’t text you back that day, you know? ‘Cause everyone is doing their stuff. So that’s where the chorus is from: 'I’ll be better than I was before despite every text of yours ignored.' It was sort of like my way of explaining to myself or telling myself that I wanted to be a better friend to her," the singer-songwriter shared about his platonic girl friend who, by the way, is well aware that the song is about her.
Courtesy: Jeremy Zucker
Unlike the AIC video filled with love and fluffy cuteness, Jeremy's video for his lead single "not ur friend" (NUF) provides a totally different vibe: "It's funny, AIC and NUF sort of represent very opposite feelings about two different people."
"NUF is really a song about refusing to be weighed down by somebody that makes your life difficult, so anyone that’s involved in a toxic friendship or relationship or any sort of uneven relationship or somebody who’s taking too much from you or just not reciprocating the energy that you’re giving them," he described. Got someone in your life who fits the description?
Here's what needs to be done, according to Jeremy: "It’s really just about sort of cutting that person out of your life and not in an aggressive or negative way. It’s more just like the fact that you’re better off without somebody. And it’s about the freedom that comes from making that decision yourself."
Courtesy: Jeremy Zucker
No wonder the music video features the young artist doing just that. "We wanted to depict this person I’m saying 'not ur friend' to but not in a negative light, so we didn’t really focus on them too much. It’s really all about the emotion that I’m giving to the camera, sort of carefree, nonchalant thing, saying, 'I don’t need you in my life and I’m chilling,'" he explained.
There also seems to be several symbolisms involved in the video, and Jeremy generously shared the meaning behind each one: "The head in the couch is sort of symbolic of being used or almost just being a wallflower in a situation where you’d rather not be, or like no one’s really paying attention to you."
As for my personal-favorite slow-mo scene where he's seen relaxing on a rotating car's windshield, here's why he did it: "The windshield shot, we just thought was really, really goofy and funny. And it’s like somebody’s driving the car and doing donuts and it’s so hectic and I’m just like sitting there smushed against the windshield like, 'Here for the ride!' So that’s like the toxicity that I guess we’re representing a little bit."
In case you didn't notice, Jeremy didn't seem to have anything tying him down while he was on the hood of the car. When I asked him about it, he laughed and revealed, "No, I wasn't strapped on. I actually just laid down and held on for dear life!" Whoa.
Before ending our conversation, Jeremy left a special message for all his Filipino fans: "Thank you, guys, so much for listening and for supporting me online and streaming my music and showing me love when I came to see you, guys, six months ago. I’m trying my hardest to get back there as soon as I can. I want to play music and hang out and do meet-and-greets and all that stuff so I’m looking forward to it and I’ll see you, guys, soon."
Looking forward to your next visit, Jeremy! Can't wait to hear the rest of your debut album love is not dying on April 17!