From TNT Magazine
Jamie T is one of the UK’s most exciting musicians of the last year. He talks moshing at acoustic shows, blowing £5000 and sucking at the didgeridoo. It’s 9am in Sydney and around midnight in London, and Jamie T, the affable lad, feels bad that I’ve only just woken up and he’s in full swing.
Well maybe a bit past full swing, but still okay. I just got home an hour ago. I went and saw a friend play an acoustic show. So I’ve had a good night.
Anyone we’d know?
Nah, but he’s acoustic, folk kinda stuff.
I was on your myspace yesterday.
Well he’s in my top eight friends. His name is The Turncoat.
I was listening to him last night.
He’s got a great tune called “Port Arthur” about Tasmania. I don’t know exactly what Australian Folk is but he’s right into it. It’s kinda upbeat folk.
Well I was listening to a song of his with didgeridoo on it.
That’s on my new mixed tape. It’s called “Messerschmitt”. He has a mate called Grant who plays didgeridoo really well so he got him in to do that.
Is Grant able to get up with him and play live?
Yeah, they played with us at the Hammersmith Palais, which is this really cool venue and we played a gig there and he got up and played it. Someone gave me one while I was in Australia but I don’t know how to play it, it’s crazy man.
I was at your Sydney show and you mentioned your didgeridoo. How’s it going?
There’s no point man. I can play anything that is like a keyboard, guitar, bass – I can’t play anything properly but anything that is wind, I can’t get a thing out of them.
Your small shows were great...
It was great. I had a really good time and met so many cool people. We ate some great food which helps when you’ve had a party the night before. This time I’m bringing my friends with me and it should be great.
How do the two shows differ – your solo shows and an evening with the Pacemakers?
Oh man, immensely. When you play acoustically the best possible outcome for the audience is quite quiet and listening to you, whereas playing in a band the best thing is to get people screaming. We’ve always tried to have a party and fuck shit up.
Well your acoustic set down here wasn’t too quiet.
That’s the thing that’s weird. When I started if I could shut a crowd up it was good ‘cos it meant they were listening to me. But it’s strange ‘cos I’m playing acoustically and people were dancing about. That’s almost better than people shutting up. I had a good laugh.
You were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, but Klaxons eventually won. As a result you had to postpone your Australian shows until October. Does the Mercury Prize mean a lot to you?
These things are complicated. It was lovely to be running against the bands that are involved cos they are all fucking wicked bands but as awards go, you speak to those bands and they don’t give a fuck – music isn’t a competition. Getting nominated was a fucking nightmare though ‘cos it meant cancelling shows in Australia. I had a dilemma cos I didn’t wanna fuck these people off. So we came up with a compromise, move it back so I could get this thing over and done with and get to Australia. I’d rather be playing shows than going to some fucking awards show. No disrespect, all my friends are saying that’s quite an accolade but it’s a nightmare when you’re trying to play shows to people and someone is telling you you have to go and do this whole malarky.
Although the £20,000 would have been nice.
I was thinking about it the other day, chatting to a friend of mine and when we were about 15 she got five grand of inheritance and we literally spent it all. She was like you wanna spend my money with me and I was like “Cool let’s do it” and we fucking rinsed it. And I said I tell ya what, if I do win 20 grand we’ll go out with five grand and blow it. It’ll be a right laugh.
Are you the type of musician that needs to be always recording, always creating?
I think so. It’s one of the things I enjoy doing. When you record something you enjoy listening to it back and I find it frustrating to be away from it for too long.
Is it a type of venting?
It’s everything – from writing lyrics that you believe in, and writing music behind it. It’s on many different levels.
Musically who’s influenced you?
Let me look at my computer ‘cos I got loads of music on here. Finlay Quay, you got Finlay Quay over there? Beastie Boys, Massive Attack, Paul Weller. Joey Thunder and the Heartbreakers – a massive band. And you better stick Tom Waits in there. There’s a band called DFL that were on Grand Royal, and another called Bran Van 3000 that I really like.
I love Bran Van 3000.
Yeah man. Both albums are sick. No one gives a shit about them but I love ‘em.
And they just disappeared.
Yeah, but I know someone that knows someone that knows someone and they are trying to get it back on track.
Who passed these bands down to you? Do you have an older brother?
I have an older brother but he was a musical thicko until a few years ago. I think he introduced me to Guns N Roses and the Beastie Boys but I had friends that were down with good shit. So I think it was my friends. When they find a band they’re like, “You’ve gotta listen to this, you’ll shit yourself when you hear this.”
How have you been received in the US?
We’ve only played five or so shows there to be honest. I treat everywhere the same way. It doesn’t matter about the country, it matters about the gig you’re paying. The people inside the venue. Whether a country is getting you, is just too big-scheme-of-things to worry about. I had one guy tell me America didn’t need me ‘cos they already had the Beastie Boys. I was like, ‘Yeah that’s cool, dickhead.’ I’m a big fan of the Beastie Boys. I can’t complain.
Will you get to see much of Australia?
We’re only there for a week and I’ve seen the schedule, it’s like gig, promotion, gig, promotion. But I’ve always thought to get to know a city you’ve got to drink in the bars and clubs and fortunately that’s where I play, so we get to see enough.
Live review from Amsterdam's Melkweg (15/02/10).
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