Just one month into 2012, and Jamie Scott is already having a banner year. After a few fantastic singles and one hell of a teaser EP, the singer-songwriter and half of the buzzed-about duo Graffiti6’s full-length debut, Colours, has finally been released in the U.S. We caught up with our newest straight-guy crush as the group crisscrossed America to talk psychedelic soul, bad relationships and what the hell “Graffiti6” means anyway in our web exclusive extended chat with Jamie Scott:
How did you and Tommy D initially come together, since you both were already working on your individual careers?
We met through my last A&R guy, the last person I was signed to with Jamie Scott & The Town. He knew us both and thought we’d get along really well, so he suggested we meet, and we did. We started writing some music, and there was really no game plan until we had five or six tracks all in this style, and then we thought, “Shit, we need to finish this as an album and give it a collaboration name.” But it was initially just very much hanging out and talking about music.
What was the first song you did together?
The first track was actually “Stare Into The Sun.” And the second track was “Annie You Save Me.” So we were onto something from the very early stages. [Laughs]
Is there any significance to the name Graffiti6?
No. None whatsoever. [Laughs] The only significance is that we decided to make up a name because we felt like this was the first time we were thinking about something too much. So we decided to leave it up to fate and just point to two random words in a book. I pointed to one, Tommy pointed to another, and that’s how Graffiti6 came to be.
So something that was essentially meaningless came to represent unique sound and even style, as you guys bring awesome visual elements to your album art and videos.
Yeah, that’s thanks to Jimi Crayon, who is our art director, you could say. He does our graphics and art direction for anything we do. He is amazing!
You’ve released some tracks independently, but now graffiti6 is finally set for a major-label release. any nerves?
Yeah, it’s an amazing feeling. We set the foundation for the album ourselves, but I think because there’s a major involved now, you feel a bit like you achieved even more. We set out to write music and make something that was enjoyable for ourselves and have fun, but now to have a major supporting us and bringing this to America, I couldn’t feel more lucky.
Is it important to you to tap the American market?
I wouldn’t say it’s important to us; I’d say it’s an ambition that I think most musicians and artists have at some point in their life. You want to come to America, the biggest market there is, and get as many people as possible to know your music. I’ve been in the U.K. for a long time, so this feels like a refreshing change.
There are lots of different sounds and genres on Colours. how do you describe the album?
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I always come from a folk point of view because everything in terms of writing started in a folk manner. But with Tommy coming in and bringing his sounds, especially the drums, it definitely brought a psychedelic-soul feel. I read someone once describe us as “psychedelic Northern soul-folk,” and I thought that was kinda perfect.
And you do have such a soulful tone to your voice. were the greats of the ’60s and ’70s your influence growing up?
Yeah, my parents were into that music. My mom is actually a guitar player, a real Carole King, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor fan. West Coast folk music. And my dad was a big soul fan, so I grew up on those amazing singers: Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye.
The fantastic first single, “free,” has been on repeat for months at the Instinct offices. is there someone or something in particular that inspired the song?
There is, actually. I think “Free” and “Over You,” out of all the songs on this record, really reference the last record I did, because the whole point of “Free” is that you are basically saying to this person that has a massive hold on you, “You need to be the one to break this off, because I don’t think I can.” “Free” is asking that person to please set me free.
Do you have a favorite track off Colours?
I think my favorite track is “Over You.”
Any hints on what the next single will be?
No, not yet. But I think “Stare Into The Sun” and “Annie” have always been our other choices, so probably one of those in some order.
"Stare Into The Sun" got picked up and used as the promotional song for the newspaper in the U.K., but it wasn't originally written for that, right?
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I know judging by the name of the newspaper [The Sun] it could be seen otherwise, but we wrote that a long time before they payed us. [Laughs]
What’s the difference between the singer-songwriter of Jamie Scott & The Town and Jamie Scott from Graffiti6?
Jamie Scott & The Town music was written pretty much on the guitar to start and then played the tracks for what was then the band Travis, who played on the last album with me. Graffiti6 is very much different. I’ll come up with an idea and then get together with Tommy, who will bring his ideas and elements to it, and the sound comes together. It’s a real specific way that we write the stuff. It’s kinda cool the way that happens, because I feel like there are no boundaries. Take a song like “Goodbye Geoffrey Drake,” which really would have fit on my own album, but yet what we did in production makes it sound right for this album. I think that has to do with the chemistry between us both.
We’re fresh into the new year and you guys have a new album, but what else are you hoping for in 2012?
It would be really great to get a tour of our own, maybe toward summer. We’ve been on tour supporting Ximena and will be with Augustana, but we’d love to get out there again on our own.