Thursday, January 12, 2012

An EXCLUSIVE interview with GRAFITTI6's JAMIE SCOTT!






     Regardless of what you may have heard, the music industry is alive and well and cranking out tunes by the hundreds, if not thousands, each and every week. From DIY efforts recorded in small bedrooms around the world to big budget studio recordings funded by major labels, the parade of tunes can make your head spin. Trying to find something that connects to head, heart and soul can be a bit of a chore, though. But when that song hits you, it feels like a momentous mix of Christmas and the Fourth of July. Graffiti6’s U.S. debut single “Free” is one of those songs.
     Released towards the end of 2011, “Free” is the perfect combination of modern and retro styles: a production that blends electronics and acoustic Pop with a melody that sounds like it’s straight off a vintage Northern Soul single. Vocalist Jamie Scott’s heartfelt vocals and TommyD’s pristine production add a timeless quality to “Free”, ensuring that it’s magic will sound just as captivating 10 years from now.
     The British duo’s full length debut, Colours, expands upon the musical blueprint of “Free” by adding even more genres and creating one delicious Pop pie of an album. From Soul to Pop, Electro to Folk, Colours is as perfect as modern Pop music gets. It is an album that will satisfy music fans looking for something with substance yet it is slick enough to shift millions of units. Colours is the kind of album that bridges the gap between the cool and the commercial. It’s jam packed full of songs that are sophisticated yet easy to love.
     While both of Graffiti6’s members have made a name for themselves in the business (including TommyD’s production work and two albums from Jamie Scott & The Town), this collaboration is perhaps the most fully realized outing that either has been involved with. The album has been long in the making (they began working together in 2008) but it has been worth the wait. Judging by the reaction from audiences so far, its probably safe to say that Jamie and Tommy will have to leave their solo careers on the backburner and concentrate on this project full time.
     Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to catch up with Jamie to discuss the band, the album and more…


SPAZ: Your debut album, Colours, is just about to drop. How are you feeling about the album and the reaction you have encountered so far?
JAMIE SCOTT: Really excited because I have been waiting for the album to be released in the U.S. for a while now and the reaction we have got so far from playing shows and touring America has been overwhelming

SPAZ: Pop music today seems more about style over substance, yet Graffiti6 bucks the trend and puts the heart and soul back into the music. Did you realize that you were doing something a little different when you began putting the album together?
JAMIE: I think we never really sat down and questioned what we were writing and producing. That was really the reason it flowed like it did. But it’s cool to hear people say that about our music

SPAZ: When writing for the album, where did you draw your greatest inspiration from? Does it tend to be music or other forms of art that inspire you?
JAMIE: The inspiration lyrically for the album and for anything that we wrote or I've written for myself has always been from personal experience. In terms of musical inspiration, I think everyone has influences but the idea is that you find your own style I suppose. The collaboration between Tommy and myself became a mix of genres because of our eclectic mix of influences.

SPAZ: While the album is lushly produced, the songs remain the primary focus. Are the songs usually born on an acoustic guitar, or perhaps based around a studio-created groove? Maybe a bit of both? JAMIE: Most of the album was written on the guitar or wurly first before any production took place but there were a few tracks like “Colours” and “Calm The Storm” that we were just jamming in the studio and became songs.

SPAZ: Production-wise, when putting together the album, did you both work out each track together or did you lay down the basics and let Tommy D take it to the next level?
JAMIE: We pretty much worked together on everything. That became the signature sound of what we were doing. It was the chemistry we both had when playing together.

SPAZ: Is there a difference between your approach to songwriting in the context of Graffiti6 versus your solo material?
JAMIE: No, not really. It's still about writing a good song.

SPAZ: Were there moments when a song would take a completely different direction than what you imagined when writing it? And were there times when you had to set a song aside because you had two differing opinions and couldn’t reach a compromise?
JAMIE: We only recorded 17 songs in all. 12 made the album, a further 3 made the EP and the remaining tracks were the ones that we both weren't convinced about. So yes, I would say that is correct. IN terms of direction, we both worked together so much on the album, that was really never an issue.

SPAZ: The album is very cohesive yet takes many detours down various musical paths including House, R&B, Pop, etc. Where do you think Graffiti6 fits in?
JAMIE: We've already seen the album as a merge of Folk, Blues and Northern Soul but after touring we have had so many different references that I'm not sure any more. But I suppose that's the whole point of music - you take your own personal view on things.

SPAZ: When you write a song like “Free”, which is by far the best single of 2011, at which point did you realize “OK, I think we might have something here?”
JAMIE: The minute we first started writing the verse, actually. I felt that something was really special about it already.

SPAZ: Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse in regards to Graffiti6?
JAMIE: When we first released the record on our own label in the UK, the internet was actually a blessing because it enabled us to reach a lot of people without spending much money that we didn't have.

SPAZ: What’s next for Graffiti6?
JAMIE: Touring America, hopefully, for the rest of the year and playing to big crowds after the record comes out.

SPAZ: What is currently spinning on your CD and DVD players?
JAMIE: (CD) Lewis Taylor’s Bitter Sweet and Ryan Adams’ new record. (DVD) Flight Of The Conchords.

Thanks to Jamie Scott
Special thanks to Jacki Feldstein, Alexis Goldberg and Richard Wilson



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