With his genius lyric writing, energetic performances and ska, rock & electro blend of a unique sound, we speak to South Londoner Jamie T ahead of his tour in Australia. Here he fills us in on the need for fresh socks, cigarettes and his festival highlights as well as more on his new album Tricks.
Hi Hannah, how are you doing?
I’m good, thanks. How are you?
Where are you right now?
I am in Berlin. I’ve just played a show somewhere in Berlin.
How long are you in Germany for?
Just tonight. We leave in a couple of hours I think.
Where to next?
You know what? I’m not quite sure off the top of my head. Maybe Prague but I might have made that up. So, I don’t know.
So, you’re touring ‘Trick’ at the moment, yes?
That’s right, yeah.
How’s the show going down at the moment with everyone? Are you enjoying it or are you ready to play something else?
I’m enjoying it. You know, we haven’t been on tour all that long really so I’m still very much enjoying playing it. I don’t really tend to get sick and tired of playing stuff. I get eager to come up with new things but I’m always happy to play things. But it still feels quite fresh which is kind of good.
What did you want to put across with this album?
How long have you got? I don’t know. It’s just an album in a sense. I was just trying to enjoy myself and I think for us, we’d been touring quite a lot the year before with the album beforehand, Carry On The Grudge, and I definitely felt I wanted to write a record that took playing live into account, if that makes sense? So, I wrote this album more on guitar than I had before because I think after playing and being on tour for so long, I wanted to write an album that was more written for playing live. Some of the other albums, I didn’t really necessarily think about playing them live. That was in my head for sure.
Do you ever write songs while you’re on tour?
I do, yeah. I’m having problems doing that at the moment because I’ve been struggling a bit with my voice. So, when I’m not on stage, I tend to not really be able to sing. Or I try not to because I’ve got to save it for doing gigs at night. But I try to write a bit on tour. I just jot things down more at the moment, to be honest, rather than picking up the guitar or anything like that. Because I’ve got to look after my delicate, little voice.
Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
I don’t know really. It’s a hard question. Whenever anyone asks me it, my mind just empties of anything. But I heard a band yesterday that I really like, a new band called Pinegrove. They’re somewhere from The States, a newish band. I’ve just heard their music and I thought it sounded really fresh. So, I suppose Pinegrove. There you go. I try and keep my eyes and ears open to new stuff. I think that’s always the most inspiring.
You’re heading out to Australia again in the New Year. You were there last year, weren’t you? In the New Year?
We were there last year but I’m not sure it was over the New Year. I can’t quite remember off the top of my head. It’s quite quick for us to be back so soon after having an album out. It normally takes us at least three years. So, it’s quite quick for us, that’s for sure.
Do you enjoy playing in Australia?
Yeah. I appreciate it now. The more I go to Australia, the more I like it. I always liked Melbourne. Sydney took a while but now I really like it. And we’ve done the Falls Festival before which we’re going to do this time. We did it about seven years ago and it was super fun. I’ve got really fond memories of playing it. It was mental. So, I’m looking forward to it.
Do you think you’ll get any extra time there or is it just in and out playing?
I’m not sure at the moment. My schedule keeps changing. But I might have a few days in Perth by the end of the tour. I’m not sure yet. But I always have a couple of days at the beginning of the tour. I tend to fly out a few days early to try and reaclimatise because obviously, it’s so far. So, I always have a nice time walking around the city before the circus starts.
Seeing as you travel a lot, what are the things you can’t go on tour without?
There’s nothing you can’t go on tour without Darlin’. But the one thing I do like having is fresh socks. So, I try and get fresh sports socks put on the rider because there’s nothing better than a pair of brand new socks. That’s about it. I’m pretty easy to please really. Socks and – yeah, that’s it. And a pack of cigarettes. That’s me happy.
Where would you say is the strangest place you’ve ever had to do a gig?
Talking of that area of the world, on the Falls Festival we went and played in Tasmania and that was pretty crazy. I just never thought I would end up there really. We played in the middle of the woods on New Year’s Eve and it rained in the middle of our set. Anywhere else in the world, that would be a bad thing but it was amazing. So, that was pretty cool. I’ve played a lot of sets in a lot of strange back rooms where you never know. And you never quite remember until you’re in the room again and you’re like ‘I’ve been here before.’ I don’t know. The whole thing’s a blur to me, to be honest.
Where would you say has been a massive highlight for you to play?
I’ve always loved playing festivals anywhere really but a highlight for me would be Glastonbury a couple of years ago. I think it was 2015, 2014. I don’t know. That was a big, big highlight. That always comes up in conversation with the band and we all have fond memories of that.
Did you do many festivals over the summer?
Not this summer. We didn’t do any. But in years past, when we’re on the go, we tend to do our fair share of festivals in Europe and the UK. And obviously, this time around in Australia which will be a nice change.
What’s your favourite track from the album to perform?
It changes quite a lot but at the moment I think the favourite to perform is probably Tinfoil Boy off the album. I’m quite enjoying that at the moment.
What can audiences at Falls Festival and the sideshows hope to get from your performance?
I don’t know. We like to play a mix of everything we’ve done really and try to play a bit for everyone. So, hopefully it’s going to be a mixed extravaganza spanning a decade.
Jamie T Australia Tour Dates
You can catch Jamie T Live in Australia at the following venues in early January 2017.
Find out more here
By Hannah Shakir