Back in 2008, Jamie Scott was a solo artist trying to gain attention for his simple, melodic folk tunes. But then a friend introduced him to producer and DJ Tommy D (who had already made a name for himself as a beatmaker for the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys), and though they came from drastically different backgrounds, the Brits managed to come together for a fresh, funky collaboration they call [artist id="3798200"]Graffiti6[/artist].
The group became an immediate hit in their home country with their debut single "Stare Into the Sun," and their first album Colours has gained an audience on the shores of the United States. The duo knew they had something right away, as "Stare Into the Sun" — a hit single in the U.K. — was the first thing the two worked on.
"We hooked up for the first time two years ago," Scott explained to MTV News. "I was doing a solo project at the time, more of an acoustic folk kind of thing. We got along, and the first song we did was 'Stare Into the Sun.' I just enjoyed it so much, it was something so different to what I had been doing before."
"Stare Into the Sun" takes Scott's sense of melody and marries it to Tommy D's playful blend of hip-hop and post-Mark Ronson dance beats. "Tommy was a DJ when he was younger, and he was really heavily into hip-hop music and dance music, and I come from a more folk background," Scott said. "That's why I enjoy the project so much. It's a sound and era of music that I had never gotten into myself."
Graffiti6 doesn't end at the pair's deep sonic textures, however. In the modern tradition of Gorillaz, Graffiti6 have an unofficial third member in Jimi Crayon, a graphic artist who has mapped out a keen visual approach (one that borrows heavily from the early days of hip-hop and modern street art). Crayon also directed the psychedelic tongue-in-cheek pastiche video for "Stare Into the Sun." "We were really lucky that we met Jimi Crayon," Scott said. "He's a wicked guy and really talented, and everything is taken care of artwork-wise. We just turned up for the video, and the result was quite funky."
But rather than create a huge spectacle in the live setting, Graffiti6 tap into a pretty pure rock place. They have been known to perform many of the tracks from Colours in an acoustic format with three-part harmonies (a nod to Scott's folk-inflected past). The singer is particularly proud of the group's approach onstage. "I write a lot of the songs on an acoustic guitar, and the album sounds great in the studio," Scott said. "The live show kind of exists right in the middle of those two, which is quite cool."
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