BULLETT: So you previously made your mark in the industry as a solo artist delving into soul/pop songs. Can you tell me a bit about these experiences and how that influences Graffiti6?
Jamie Scott: I was signed when I was 19 to do my first solo record and that lasted around 3 or 4 years. I made a lot of records and then made an album that never came out. It was an experience that I learned a lot from. I worked with Toby Smith from the band, Jamiroquai, a lot. I learned my first bit of the trade making records and those sorts of things.
So, how did all this early stuff influence Graffiti6?
Well, I think that it didn’t really necessarily influence Graffiti6, but it set me up for learning to deal with people in the music industry, and learning different scenarios. As a young guy in the music industry you start to learn the trade of making records. So, by the time I signed to Universal when I was 23 and put out the record Park Bench Theories which was my first solo record, I really knew what I wanted to do as an artist. So when I met Tommy, I’d established exactly what I had wanted to do as a solo artist before I met him, and it really helped Graffiti 6, because the whole point of Graffiti6 is a collaboration between folk music, what I was writing before, and Tommy’s influence, so there was a little more hip-hop and dance on top of that.
What made you want to collaborate and create an album with TommyD ?
We connected because I knew someone that knew Tommy really well and they thought that we would work together really well. And, that definitely was the case. The first time we worked together was on the single Stare into the Sun and then a collaboration really happened after that, mostly because we both enjoyed making music together. After we’d written about four or five songs, we realized we loved them all so we sort of let it turn into a project.
The two of you have very different influences. You are influenced by folk artists such as Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens. Tommy seems to be to more into hip hop and rappers such as Run DMC and Public Enemy. How do you manage to blend those influences in your music?
I think that a lot of that is down to the chemistry, I suppose, between the both of us in the studio. That’s the reason Graffiti6 is something that we enjoy so much. We got into the studio with no intentions and nothing, really, to write for specifically. And by the time we had written two or three songs, we kind of felt like we could do anything and it was still fitting into this Graffiti6 sound that we had going for us. I don’t know what it was, but, as a writer I felt an amazing privilege because I could basically do what I want and Tommy would start bringing it back into the sound of the album.
What do you think each of you brings to the table, in regards to the sound you produce?
I think the whole point of what we do is that it’s a collaboration and this record and a lot of these songs would have sounded very differently if I would have made this record as my next solo record rather than a collaboration with a producer and a writer. We only wrote seventeen songs in all; twelve [songs] are on the album, Colours, three were on the EP that we released earlier in the year, and two we both weren’t decided about and I think neither of us thought that those songs were completely finished so we didn’t finish them. That was about as much thought that was put into it. The only thing we ever thought about was a band name, and in the end, that was sounding so contrite that we decided to play it by chance and we decided to choose two completely random words and that was “graffiti” and “six.”
Is it hard sometimes to agree on some songs?
Well, it happened twice out of seventeen [songs], so no, not that much. I think that we have really similar tastes in music, so there’s only a few bands that, say, I love that Tommy doesn’t like at all, and there’s only a few instances we’ve been working in the studio where I would not be hearing something in the same way that Tommy was. And, that’s bound to happen every now and again when you’re in a collaboration that you’re doing everything – it’s just the two of you. So, it was very easy to make that album and that’s about as much as I can describe the process because, normally albums you have times where you’re not sure about this, you’re not sure about that. But that album came together without any thought, and it just kind of finished itself.
I read that as a teenager you never were much into pop music or mainstream artists that other teenagers would listen to. But ironically your music is featured in very popular shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill and you have collaborated with artists such as Nicole Scherzinger and Enrique Iglesias. How do you explain that dichotomy?
I think that it’s because, you’re somewhat born with an ear to write melodies or catchy hooks in songs; maybe that’s something you’re born with as a songwriter. I suppose when I listened to pop music when I was 13 – I was still quite young, and I think all throughout secondary school I listened to a lot of modern music and I slowly got into Nirvana. I started listening to the Foo Fighters, and I started listening to Pop Radio. I’m still always influenced by modern-day singers like Bryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright,and Bon Iver, but I also listen to a lot of pop music like Amy Winehouse and Adele. I think I just love a good tune, I love lyrics that cut you and mean something and I think that my love for that, and the fact that I love singing is really where I have the ability to write a lot of songs that are appealling.
What’s your one guilty pleasure?
I’m quite a big fan of ABBA! Is that a guilty pleasure, would you say?
I would say so.
The artwork used for your album cover was created by Jimi Crayon, a well known graffiti artist. Can you tell us why you chose graffiti to represent your aesthetic?
Well, actually, funny enough, it has nothing to do with our band names. I think Jimi was just someone that we met really early on in the project. Choosing artwork is normally a procedure that takes a long time because there’s as much thought that is put into designing artwork as is in music. So, because I’m not a visual artist, it’s always one of those things that I’ve really not looked forward to. And when we met Jimi, it was almost like we had met someone that could completely take that off our hands but still be as involved as us in the project, and actually make us look forward to getting to those moments. And now, the minute we need a new album cover or video or anything, we turn to Jimi and I’m completely excited about how he’s going to interpret it. And I think it’s because there’s something about his artwork that represents the music we were writing.
How is it connected to your music?
Art is often an expression. We’ve never asked him to do anything, like, ‘Can you make it like this?’ We just said, alright, this is our song, and then he’s got a very distinctive style that he basically adapted to our music. How the art connects to it, I think, is up to the viewer to establish for themselves. I mean, some people might not like it. But as far as me and Tommy are concerned, we’ve thought that there was something really striking and really memorable about his artwork.
What’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects?
Well, I’m back in the UK at the moment, doing a lot of writing with a few other artists, and then I’m back to the U.S. next week for a tour. Our album’s out on January 24th. So, we’re just looking forward to that, and looking forward to getting back on the road.