[TMN Exclusive Interview] An In-Depth Discussion with Jaymes Young + Phaeleh – Distraction (Jaymes Young Mix)

Jaymes Young
Phaeleh
Distraction (Jaymes Young Mix)

Countless times over the past year we’ve alluded to the reemergence of R&B and the redefining of its barriers that’s come as a result. Labeled as a renaissance by some, and molded for a new generation, much of the credit for the genre’s new identity can be given to internet pioneers like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. Back in 2010 when those two artists first burst onto the scene, very little was known about them at the time, yet they ultimately achieved success by letting their music act as their voice.

Emulating the model set by those who came before him, Jaymes Young‘s early offerings came with little to no information about the man himself. There’s a real beauty to that recent strategy however, because it allows us as listeners to judge the artist through the quality of their music rather than any other baggage they may have. Dark Star really allowed us to peer into Young’s soul, but it didn’t really provide us many clues as to who the 22 year old really was. Now that we’ve seen his body of work however, it’s time to get a deeper understanding of the man behind the microphone.

We had an opportunity to sit down with Jaymes last month, and we were able to cover a wide array of topics, ranging from his first tour with London Grammar to dressing up like a gummy worm. Check out what he had to say below.

TMN: Let’s kick things off by talking about Dark Star, which you just dropped in August. That was one hell of an intro to your music. How’s the reception been so far? Has it been overwhelming at all?

JY: In ways it has been overwhelming, and also in ways it wasn’t. I think personally, that was one of those moments that kind of had been a long time coming [for me], where I was putting out a piece of music that I felt strongly about and that I knew was definitely my introduction into the professional world of music. So, in that way, I kind of had high expectations in that I wanted it to do well, but at the same time the response that it received was definitely overwhelming. And I mean, I still wake up sometimes and say that’s really cool that that happened.

TMN: How hyped were you when you found out “Dark Star” made it to the top of the HypeMachine charts?

JY: Well, this is kind of embarrassing, but I had never heard of HypeMachine before. (laughs)

TMN: (Laughs) That’s ok. HypeMachine is more of a blogosphere thing so that’s understandable.

JY: Yeah, and I’m more into blogs now, and that’s such a naive thing if only because I’ve become directly involved with them. But I’m a little bit more aware now, and looking back, it means more, because I know how cool that is.

TMN: Talk to us a little bit about the process that went into that mixtape. Were you at any particular crossroads in your life that inspired the writing process?

JY: You know, I came down to Los Angeles from Seattle to write and I actually really didn’t have an artist career in mind, so I think I kind of actually just started writing music that was a little bit truer to myself, because I wasn’t necessarily worried about releasing it or anything like that.

TMN: That’s cool, because you let it all out through a much more organic process. That way it wasn’t like you were forcing anything, or trying to produce a certain sound.

JY: Yeah, I would definitely agree. I wasn’t trying to force something, I was just trying to take the feelings, the inspiration that I had, and lay them out as a song.

TMN: Let’s take a trip back to the early years, what first drove you to get into music? Do you come from a musical background, and how long have you been singing and songwriting?

JY: Man, it’s been a better part of a decade for sure. I’ve been pretty crazy about playing guitar and writing lyrics basically for 9-10 years, since I was about 14. I guess the first thing that got me into it was boredom to be honest. I had a lot of passion as a young kid, and I didn’t know where to put it. I had a lot of inspiration and ideas and I didn’t really have an outlet, so when I picked up the guitar, it was completely one of those Aha moments. The lightbulb went on in my head, and I literally never stopped from the first day I picked up the guitar.

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Pre-show Talks with St. Lucia [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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St. Lucia
Too Close

If you’ve been paying attention to the blogosphere for the past few years, you’re probably quite familiar with South African trop-pop front man Jean-Philip Grobler. Charting track after track on Hype Machine, this Brooklyn based front man continually crafts dance inducing electro pop. We had the pleasure of chatting with him for a few minutes before their set in Denver with Two Door Cinema Club.

TMN: Thanks for taking some time to walk with us today. Welcome back to Colorado! How’s the tour with Two Door Cinema Club going so far?

St. Lucia: It’s going good. The long drives have just started. We drove from Chicago to Denver over like, a day and a half, which was intense but nice. I enjoy seeing the countryside and stuff. Yeah, and they’re really nice guys. The crowds have been very welcoming and very nice to us.

TMN: That’s good to hear. So, since we’re an online music publication, and one that feeds into Hype Machine, we’ve noticed your songs are seemingly always charting in the popular section. Do you pay any attention to Hype Machine?

St. Lucia: I do to an extent. It’s stopped being as important to me because I think when you’re first starting out as a band, your song charting on Hype Machine is a huge thing. But it’s also murky waters, like, What does it mean? I definitely do pay attention to it, but it’s stopped mattering to me as much.

TMN: Let’s talk about your musical roots for a little bit. You’re originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. When you were a kid there, you performed with the Drakensberg Choir School. Was this where you really developed your affinity for performing live music, or was this more so something that your parents made you do?

St. Lucia: It was never something my parents forced me to do; it was something I was just attracted to from an early age. My mom told me that I could sing before I could talk. When she was like, cooking or doing something, she would put me in front of the music video channel and I would apparently just like, sing and dance to it. [Laughs] But yeah, I think that definitely had something to do with it. We toured a lot. We did international tours and a whole bunch of stuff. Yeah, doing that I guess on some level made me realize how much I enjoyed performing music.

TMN: Alright, so you moved to New York just a few years ago, Brooklyn to be specific, and started St. Lucia. We have to ask, where’d the band name come from?

I literally closed my eyes, put a pen on a map of South Africa, and the fifth try was St. Lucia. There’s a St. Lucia in South Africa, and I used to go there on vacation as a child. The moment that I put the pen down, it just like, connected all the dots for me: the fact that I used to go [“there”: to St. Lucia] as a child—it was nostalgic, and the music felt nostalgic; and the music had this kind of tropical thing to it. It all just kind of made sense in that moment.

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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (November 2013 Round #4)

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The week of Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, however, we shouldn’t confine it to just one day of the week. We should sprinkle it throughout our entire lifespan. Once a day, take the time to appreciate the things you do have, even if it is as small as say your favorite song of all time or indie music, the internet and blogs, or even free weekly playlists…..Sometimes it’s the little things that get us through the day and if we only paid attention to them a little more, the bigger picture might make sense.

And because it wouldn’t be appropriate to tell you to give thanks and not reciprocate…..We’d also like to take a minute to share. We are thankful for our followers, our listeners, our readers, and those who accidentally stumble upon the Ninja, even if they never come back. We are grateful for the artists who give us awesome material to post and the internet for allowing us to share. We couldn’t do it without you….so Thank You for being you.

Hozier
Angel Of Small Death & The Codeine Scene
Mind Not The Timid
The White Oak
NONONO
NONONO x Scared
Sean Christopher
Everything
Love Like Birds
Sailorboy
Snow Mantled Love
If You Want To (WATERBEAR REMIX)
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Marika Hackman – Wolf [TMN PREMIERE]

Marika Hackman by Pip for Dirty Hit Records
Marika Hackman
Wolf

London based youngster Marika Hackman is back with another release from her upcoming EP, Sugar Blind. Produced by Charlie Andrew (Alt-J), this EP marks a significant stride forward in Marika’s songwriting. Due for release December 9th on Dirty Hit Records, “Wolf,” has us swooning; echanted with her brooding tone.

The ominous repeating vocal samples set the tone for this wickedly dark tune. With subtle guitar pics, eerie synths and downlplayed percussion we find ourselves getting beautifully lost in this gem. Aptly named, this haunting journey comes to fruition through Marika’s non-traditional vocals, which illustrate quite a cautionary tale.

If you’re in the the UK next month. Make sure to catch her live at one of these five shows. And, once you’re done picking up tickets, pre-order Sugar Blind and receive an instant download of her track, “Cinnamon.”

Dec 10th – The Hope, Brighton
Dec 11th – Lexington, London
Dec 12th – Portland Arms, Cambridge
Dec 13th – Gullivers, Manchester
Dec 14th – The Birdcage, Bristol

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[Psychedelic] Temples – Mesmerise

Temples
Temples
Mesmerise

“Mesmerise”. If the title hasn’t given you a clue as to what type of band this is, perhaps these following song titles will: “Colours to Life”,  “Prisms”, and “Ankh” (meaning, key of life).

If you’re thinking of a British band that rocks just the optimal level of late sixties/early seventies sounds, you’re right. Formed in Kettering, Northamptonshire last year, Temples, is best known for their psychedelic vibes. We’re pretty certain we haven’t captured too many fans from the 60’s on our site, but we know that Pink Floyd, The Doors, or The Beatles have not gone unnoticed in your music escapades.  So Temples could be just right up your alley for a break away from the current electronic or indie scene.

Their debut album Sun Structures will be released in less than four months, on Februrary 10th, 2014, while “Mesmerise” will be released on Heavenly Records, January 13th, 2014.

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[Psych-Pop] Au.Ra – Spare the Thought

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Au.Ra
Spare The Thought

We’re not sure how we could have missed learning about the London-based duo, Au.Ra when they had introduced their noteworthy debut single, “Sun” last November. But we’re glad we came across their new track, “Spare the Thought” this week. The track exudes a mellow, psychedelic–toned intro that that fans of Washed Out are sure to appreciate. It’s a definite tune that you could see yourself unwinding to as the sun burns out and the waves collide.

Comprised of Tim Jenkins and Tom Crandles, this musical pair’s tracks can now be purchased on a 7″ from LebensStrasse Records .

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[Folk] Micky P Kerr – Dreamers Club EP

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Hailing from Leeds, this shaggy haired troubador has been playing acoustic shows since he was merely 20 years old. Equipped with an accoustic guitar, Micky P Kerr slowly crafted a sound that we would come to know and love today. Buried within his soft, intricate folk stylings are meticulously crafted lyrics, often carrying resemblance of early protest songs in their structure and soundscape.

Coming up on November 28th, Dreamers Club EP, is set to release as the first concept EP in a set of two recorded at Green Mount Studio in Leeds. The soon to be released four track gem features songs ranging in different folk compositions, giving you a full story in just four short songs.

First up on the EP is the title track, “Dreamers”, which boasts a charisma that beckons on Simon and Garfunkle. Scrupulously combining soft finger picking and pitch perfect humming, Kerr creates a marriage between guitar and vocals that encapsulates what can be so enchanting about just a man and his guitar.

“Lazy Ambition,” takes on a personality that would be apt for a smokey 60’s music festival, offering up boisterous saloon style piano chords which couple with his sing-a-long style lyrics. The tempo is picked up from the previous, offering up a joyfully danceable tune.

“The Increase of Insanity,” takes a more serious tone, with Kerr displaying a spoken word style song. In this thought provoking gem, we hear those early protest folk stylings really shine through.

In closing, we have “I Don’t Know,” which brings it all back together with deep interpersonal reflection being brought to life with playful instrumentation. It’s the perfect cap to four intensely tied together songs, all showcasing different abilities in Kerr’s musical repertoire.

Take a listen below, then preorder the EP on itunes so you can have it in your hands the day it comes out.

Dreamers Club
Lazy Ambition
The Increase of Insanity
I Dont Know
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