Jaymes Young has returned. Returned as a purveyor of warmly evocative alt pop with smooth, electro R&B edges and heady emotions on flagrant display with his debut full-length album, Feel Something, out on Please Rewind/Atlantic Records. Picking up where he left off after his 2014 Habits Of My Heart EP, this year finds Jaymes not only releasing new music but, once again, bringing that music to his fans who have missed his heart-ful and heartbreaking brand of storytelling…like his 2015 collaboration with Phoebe Ryan, “We Won’t.”
Feel Something is a good look and sound on Jaymes: It’s the product of pure artistic progression and composed of connective, heart-on-sleeve songs and the tricky art of tackling some oft challenging emotions. It’s good stuff and he’s sharing it all on his Feel Something Tour, so we put five questions to Jaymes:
High Voltage: First things: congratulations on the album Feel Something and heading out on your first headlining tour. Even in these strange musical times, those are still two important personal and professional milestones. So you’re getting back on the road with this Feel Something Tour and – as opposed to being a supporting act or a guest – this time you’re the host. If nothing else, that usually means better craft services to look forward to, but what else are you looking forward to experiencing on the road?
Jaymes Young: I’m looking forward to actually seeing fans. It’s one thing seeing your music grow from behind a myriad of digital veils, but it’s another to meet them face to face and to feel their energy. I’m also excited to have more time on stage. An opening set can go by really fast, so it’s nice to have a longer set where you can acknowledge what’s happening around you and experience it for longer.
HV: In listening to songs on the album like “Stoned On You,” “Sugar Burn,” “Naked”…all of them, actually, it seems that you still write/operate from a very particular and emotional headspace. It’s been a little over three years between the Dark Star EP and Feel Something and time tends to bear out artistic change or growth: how or where do you think you’ve grown (or changed) as musician and songwriter?
Jaymes: I think over the course of these last 2-3 years I’ve begun to realize what I want out of my life and my experience with music. You have to go down a few paths before you find one that feels right. Honestly I don’t think I’m there yet, on that path, but I feel really close, and that’s got me excited. I’ve certainly had a lot of growth in the studio, and in production, but I keep reminding myself that songwriting is really what I enjoy doing the most, so I always want to come back to that as a way of keeping myself grounded.
HV: You’ve lived in Los Angeles for a while now and wondering if – in any way – you’ve become a product of your environment, if living in LA has affected of shaped your songwriting, recording or even subject matter.
Jaymes: Living in LA has totally affected the way I write and make music, but I think you’ve got to let your environment creep into your creativity at least a little bit if you want your art to properly reflect your reality. That’s just a way of embracing a certain direction, and at the end of the day, you can go any direction that you want.
HV: Since the live experience means taking these songs that sound perfect in recorded form and making them emote just as effectively – if not more so – on stage, have there been any particular challenges in translating any of the songs live?
Jaymes: Well I haven’t been on the road since 2014, and I’ve self produced the album, so I’m feeling challenged to get back into the tour groove, in general. To directly answer the question; yes, it’s challenging to take something that’s created in one way, and to re-create it in an entirely different way, and in a time crunch. You have to strip back all the production and decide what instrumental parts of the songs can be played and what to cut. I’m learning a lot about myself through the process and what I really care about when it comes to performing live and giving the best that I can give while on stage.
HV: Final question: I mentioned “emotional headspace” because Feel Something is about as on point an album title as it gets: anyone who listens to the album will, indeed, feel many somethings so how would you describe the emotional headspace of this record? And why did you call it Feel Something? Sorry, that was two questions.
Jaymes: I wrote the title track of this album very late in the process, and didn’t know until it was done that it would be a candidate for the album title. It only became clear after we had started putting the album art together that Feel Something was just the obvious choice. For me, I don’t know if there’s a particular headspace on the album, it’s more so a spectrum of emotions in one place. The title, Feel Something, is very over arching, as opposed to the song “Feel Something” which has a more focused point.
Jaymes Young’s Feel Something Tour is currently underway so check for tour dates HERE.