Two very well respected musicians you may not have heard of (yet) are singer/songwriter Jamie Scott and producer Tommy D of Graffiti6. While Jamie has made a successful solo career out of his former band Jamie Scott & The Town, Tommy has produced music for the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West and Kylie Minogue. The collaboration began in 2008 and resulted in a collection of tracks called Stare In To The Sun with the title track ending up as the theme song to a television ad campaign for The Sun newspaper in Britain. The exposure was so positive that Jamie and Tommy decided to carry on with the project and now they have released their own, self-released EP called Stone In My Heart in March. The group is constantly hard at work on new music with a full-length record titled Colours on the way soon. We had the opportunity to speak to producer Tommy D all about the collaboration, how it came together and the values of releasing their music over the internet rather than on a major record label.

Graffiti6 is a collaboration between yourself and Jamie Scott which began about a year and a half ago. How did this alliance come about in the first place?
Tommy D: It came about through a mutual friend of ours who suggested we worked together on some ideas and I really liked Jamie’s solo stuff and he didn’t know very much about me so he turned up at my house and we just got straight into it. And I wasn’t expecting Jamie to be the sort of person he was, I was expecting him to be more like a sort of a folky, soul boy, folky like singer-songwriter, but he wasn’t at all and we worked on a track together and we finished that and we’re like “you know what, I think we’re on to something really special here, I think we’ll carry on and see where we can take it.” And it’s taken me to a band and on my way to something special.

The sound of the project is very eclectic ranging from pop to soul to hip hop beats. How would you describe the sound of Graffit6?
Tommy D: Um, I think, that’s a really difficult question and I’m sure a lot of people say that but you know if you can imagine, I mean we have a really broad spectrum of tastes me and Jamie, me in particular, everything from classical music through to just sort of death metal. Jamie’s much more of a singer-songwriter type and it’s really a case of like, I think the one thing that brings us together is that we both love writing songs and writing pop hooks and things like that and tying all that up with soul and our love of soul and that’s the thing that really brings us together. There isn’t really anyone… because there’s only two of us making the music so it makes it really easy to sort of spin around with different styles and different ideas, you can sit there and be really eclectic. It doesn’t really have any kind of preconceived idea, we don’t sit there and say “let’s do a rock record, let’s do a pop record, let’s do a this record,” we just pick of instruments and we go.

Where did this name Graffiti6 come from? What is the story behind it?
Tommy D: Um, we kind of threw around a lot of random words and Graffiti6 came out of that. I think the name works, the name kind of fits with the style and theme of the music and not only that, but I think there’s a sort of element about graffiti that I think… you know graffiti I think is a no rules, kind of constantly organic, constantly changing kind of art form and I kind of feel that that’s what the music is like, that’s what our music is like, it’s constantly changing, constantly evolving.

So far you’ve released a four song EP called Stone In My Heart released this past March. Are you pleased with how the EP turned out and how it’s been received?
Tommy D: Uh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I mean we’re always coming up with tracks, we’ve got a new one coming out next week called “Annie Save Me” and then we’ve got the track “Staring Into the Sun” coming out towards the end of the summer. We just finished the album but we’re constantly moving, constantly coming up with new tracks and putting them out and trying to keep people excited about what we’re doing. And every time we go into the studio, three tracks on the album came about in the last three to four weeks of us finishing the album. So every time we set foot in the studio for two or three days we come up with a couple of tracks and we have a very high level of standard for quality for things to come out. So yeah, I love the music we come up with, I think it’s fantastic with all the variation with it and I just love it when we do it live.

You have a full-length album on the way soon. What can you tell us about the record and when can we expect to see it?
Tommy D: It’s the best record ever. [laughs] It will blow your mind; it will be the one record that everyone will be playing. I’m really proud of it, I think we’re doing something that not a lot of people are doing and we love the results so far. I think if people are looking for something sort of different than what they might regularly listen to then they’ll love this record and the tracks on it, we’re really pleased with how it’s turning out.

How do you and Jamie go about writing songs? Do you collaborate together or does one of you contribute more than the other?
Tommy D: Um, I don’t know how it works really, we just sort of, we have a variation of ways of how we do things. Sometimes Jamie might have an idea and then he’ll bring that to me and we’ll work on that and other times we just sort of pick up instruments and we start jamming. The one thing that we always do is strip the song right back to just acoustic guitars and vocals and just work on the song and get the song exactly like that, work on the song like a songwriter. If the song inspires you for three, three and a half minutes then you’ve done a good job you know…

You initially considered signing a record deal with a label, but instead you chose to release your music on your own. What attracted you towards releasing your music this way on your own terms?
Tommy D: We were just interested in doing things our way. We had this kind of feeling that with this album we’re doing that we had to go out and prove to everyone that we could do things on our own terms and we felt that one way that we could do that was to keep total control. I think the also the other thing with what we’ve seen from the industry, Jamie’s had a couple of deals and I’ve worked with many artists that I’ve seen get messed around by record companies and major record companies are fantastic, they’re great but I think that we wanted to make sure that we would like live and die by our own sword, we’ll get out there and do our thing.

And I think in this modern day and age, you know five or ten years ago a major record company could really help you along the way but with the internet now with MySpace and everything, you know the blogs, it’s so easy to be able to go and pull a track out, tell everyone to you know go on MySpace to hear my new track and get reaction to that from people. People can hear it, they come to the gigs, they sing along, they know the track and then you know, you’re encouraging them to invest in the band in other ways than just the traditional way of doing it.

I mean we’re not stupid, I mean you need a major record company to… you want to do a worldwide campaign and capitalize on everything in the world and markets worldwide; you’ve got to do it with a major record company. We’re just focusing on the internet right now and we’re having success outside now, we now have a German fan club, a Japanese fan club, an American fan club and those people are doing a great job in promoting our music in their country. And when the time comes we’ll do something, we’ll work something out but we like being independent, we want to preach that concept to the world as well, it’s good to be independent musically it’s great, you can get out there and do your own thing. As long as people are supporting you it’s great.

Now there is perhaps an unofficial third member of Graffiti6, artist Jimi Crayon. What exactly is Jimi’s role within the project?
Tommy D: He’s official, he’s not unofficial, he’s the dark shadowy figure in the group. Jimi was someone that we came across early on and we just instantly fell in love with him and his design and what he does. We asked if he could design a logo for us and he designed a logo and from that point on it was like “look you know, I just have this idea, this really great idea to have somebody actually involved in the band all the time who would be in charge of doing artistic stuff and I think it’s a condition of music that it’s so strong with the internet that it has to have a look and a feel.” And I like the idea of something growing as we progress musically, the artwork progresses and you know I have this romantic notion that in ten years time when they look back at four, five or six albums they’ll see how the music has progressed and how the artwork’s progressed.

And I think that’s really a great interesting concept and I think it’s an interesting concept for people to get into the music just as much into the art. Not many bands do that you know, a lot of bands, they do an album and then the art director comes in and he plays around with lots of different looks that are cool at the moment you know and so each album has a completely different look to the last.

You have a couple of shows in The Netherlands and then a couple in the UK. What are your more long-term touring plans like?
Tommy D: Ah, to headline Glastonbury within three years, that’s the biggest touring request I have. [laughs] We’ve already gotten a lot of interest in Europe and America and Japan and it’s just a case that it’s only a matter of time before we start getting out there and touring to those places. We have an amazing band, really, really good who take the music up to another level and I just can’t wait for people to see it because I just think it’s going to blow people’s minds. The Dutch shows are going to be really great because they’re the first place really outside the UK that really embraced us and really took us to their heart and that’s amazing so yeah, I’m looking forward to it.

What are your more long-term plans for Graffiti6 itself? Is this something you’d like to be doing in five years time?
Tommy D: Oh absolutely, we see Graffiti6 as being like an umbrella project for lots of different things, we’re going to be bringing other artists through under the Graffiti6 moniker. I mean it’s a collaboration between me and Jamie but we’ll do other things outside of Graffiti6, Jamie I’m sure will do another solo album, I’ll produce stuff for people, we’ll produce people together as Graffiti6 but the most important thing is the concept which is to try and encourage artists to do it themselves, to make music themselves and try and find ways of promoting themselves without necessarily needing major record company backing.

It costs record companies too much to sign people to development deals, it cost them too much money so you have to do it yourself, you have to go out there and develop what you’re doing yourself and find your own market and find your own crowd. When you sign to a record company they don’t provide an audience for you, you have to make that audience for yourself and I think the thing that we’re always saying is we are building our fan base, we’re going out there and we’re telling people about the music we’re making and it’s up to them whether they like it or not and at the moment it seems like they like it.  [ END ]