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.