Jaymes McFarland – Going With The Flow
I can’t tell, where or when I stumbled upon Jaymes McFarland’s amazing music but I know exactly how his track “Two more minutes” caught me from the very first second when I heard it first. I started some research about this guy immediately but except for two tracks and some Twitter and Facebook posts there wasn’t much about him on the net. Well, you might know, that your good old Werner doesn’t like this state of ignorance at all, so I decided to send a carrier pigeon with some interview questions to Jaymes in sunny California, which he instantly returned to me.
Please enjoy our little conversation and remember where you read and heard it first!
Hey, Jaymes. Welcome on bushwah! Let’s start with telling us a little bit about you. You were born and living in Seattle. Is there anything more we should know about you?
I was born and raised just outside of Seattle, I just turned 22 and moved to Thousand Oaks CA, where I’m furthering my career. I grew up with 3 siblings, divorced parents. Moved from school to school, and house to house for a while, but in general had a comfortable upbringing. My family (extended) is so very numerous, I couldn’t get through half the names. There isn’t anyone in my immediate family who is extensively musically creative but there is more to be said about my extended family; Many of my cousins, uncles and aunts are well-practiced musicians and singers.
When did you start with music and what was your first instrument? Did you ever play in a band?
Growing up I had strong musical influence from my parents who listened to bands like cold-play and modest mouse, and there was unusual influence by some classical and rock. I was never into sports when I was younger, I just went with the flow of things instead, picked up the guitar one day and found out it was quite a lovely feeling. Guitar was my first instrument, then I sang later. I played in a few bands over the years which was difficult. I was always a little controlling because I felt importance in my intent and vision, so I decided to go solo.
After these first steps, did you attend music or art school or are you a self-taught musician? Would you prefer the one or the other way when you look back?
I am all self-taught, there are things I wish I had learned, I do regret not learning certain techniques in regards to singing and playing guitar. On the other hand, I am very happy with the freedom that learning on my own allowed me to enjoy. It has always been a pleasure to find music, rather than to be taught how to play music, and what music to play. I guess… the greatest discoveries are those that you make yourself.
That leads us to your working process. Can you please give us a brief description of it? Is it the music that comes first or an idea for the lyrics? Are there other musicians involved in the recordings?
Music verse lyrics – either comes first, it is always whatever is inspiring. A guitar riff, a synth, the reverberations in a room, or certain words. Certain emotions have always inspired me to write lyrics and music. I love to throw up songs (it all just comes out pretty quickly) and I’m usually happy with it that way with perhaps some tweaking later on. I don’t work with many other musicians these days, unless it’s for another artist’s project. I do work with other producers in LA.
Okay, let’s get back to your inspirations: what are your main influences and idols in music as in arts in general?
Some of my major influences and idols: Coldplay, Justin Timberlake, Iron & Wine, Elliiott Smith, Maroon 5, Zeppelin. I’ve forgotten many of my influences over the years, hah, but my roots are in there somewhere… subconsciously. Seattle is known for grunge, and I can say that bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and countless others did have an effect on my lyrical content, I went through phases of grunge myself as an artist. I’ve always loved visual art, and comedians as well.
As you just mentioned, Seattle is the synonym for Grunge and Post-Grunge from the mid-80s until the 90s. What is the Seattle music scene like today? How did the city inspire and influence your work?
Many people immediately make that connection with Seattle, and I do not resent that fact. However, I am convinced that Seattle is making a new name for itself.
There is a growing hip-hop underground in Seattle (that may seem surprising to some) who represent the green state and all of its rainy affiliations. I’m sure you may have heard of Macklemore to name one.
There is a metal scene spawned from the grunge era, and a strong folk indie-scene too. I know a whole lot of talented musicians from that area. There is a growing electronic and dub-step scene as well, especially in folks who are just coming out of high school. Electronic music is just whats hip, as the kids call it.
A friend of mine from Seattle sings in a band called Hot Bodies In Motion. They recently had a track in the movie “Abducted”. They’re a catchy blues rock group, and you should check em out.
You already released two tracks on soundcloud earlier this year: “Two more minutes” and “Let you go”. I was excited to see how both songs cover the situation of holding on to someone from totally different points of view. Did you work on the songs simultaneously? What kind of reactions did you get on these songs yet?
Two More Minutes and Let you go were un-related, but I can see the relation you drew between the two.
The reactions have been wonderful, I got into the electronic scene a bit with those two songs, but I decided to keep the lyrical and emotional substance. Just because genres and ways of communicating change, doesn’t mean that basic human language and understanding will. I was happy with the response from both of those tracks, more-so with Two More Minutes. I think it was a song that affected people more with its lyrics and that is generally what I intend to do.
What was your favorite album this year, which our reader definitely should listen to and why?
My favorite album this year, I don’t know if I’ve had one yet! It’s been very interesting for me. I’ve listened to Torches by Foster The People, and there is something about that album I can relate to. The bonding of electronic, indie, pop, lyrical substance, live and triggered instruments. I think most importantly I’ve discovered an entire wealth of singles and albums by bands I’ve never heard of, and I strongly encourage people to do some YouTube surfing no matter how nerdy it seems, or how old you are. And also give some local artists where you live some attention, it’s about the music that you haven’t heard yet in your own neighborhood, I think many people would be pleasantly surprised.
Jaymes, what are your plans for the future? Will there be an album or a tour you already can tell us about?
This year I plan on getting my foot in the door with some artists and producers here while I’m in the LA area. I’ve been writing a lot for other artists to sing, and you can expect to hear those tracks within a year or less. I’m letting my artistry age a bit before coming out with a brand new project and name, exactly when?… I can’t say.
Finally, please complete the following sentences:
- Nothing is better than … Cali weather.
- One day … I WILL see you at a show.
- If I had only two more minutes … I would enjoy it.
- One of my next songs … will be much better promoted, and enjoyed by many more listeners than any of its predecessors.
- Please never ask me to … talk about politics!
Thank you so much for this interview, Jaymes!
photos © Dennis Elbert