It’s not often that a brand new artist will sign to a major label with their very first batch of songs before even playing a show. However, Sydney’s newest alternative pop solo act Mossy, real name Jamie Timony, actor, singer, songwriter extraordinaire, has managed to do just that, having inked a deal with local label I OH YOU (DMA’s Violent Soho) and dropping his debut single Electric Chair in February.
Mossy dropped his self-titled debut EP just five days ago, so we took some time to find out about the man behind the music, and where he’s going from here.
Where am I finding you?
I’m just having a coffee at my local coffee shop!
Three days on from the EP release, has anything happened that you didn’t expect about releasing music?
Not really to be honest, I’ve just been hanging out. I was in Perth when the EP came out which was fun. A novelty to be away from home really. I had some acting work over there.
So you still act on the side?
Not necessarily on the side. It’s more of a joint venture.
So when did music start to take more priority for you?
Probably about five years ago I would say. In my early twenties I started doing music every day and it became more of a focus for me.
What did songwriting first look like for you?
Just the same way that most people do. I was learning keys from a really young age but I didn’t start writing until I was a teenager. I had a keyboard set up in the garage and I would just play music like that. With the Mossy stuff however, I had been playing in bands for a while and I was just eager to start writing material for my own project with which I could control the creative output and everything that came with it. I play in a band called These New South Whales and used to be in another band called Rapids, but yeah, I guess that’s that.
How do you train yourself to create music for your own projects, as well as for punk bands?
They are both very different like you said, so it makes it a little less challenging. When I’m writing by myself I tend to write stuff that sounds like Mossy and when I’m with the other boys, I write stuff that sounds like These New South Whales.
Do you prefer writing by yourself over collectively?
I think both are really important to do. They both have their advantages. I really enjoy collaborating because it’s fun. You bounce off each other, and people have ideas that you would never have come up with. I really enjoy the vocals, to sing over what other people are doing. When it’s just yourself, I guess you have the benefit of time and space. You don’t have to agree with other people over what might sound good at any particular time.
When you write alone, do you find it harder to settle on an idea?
No I don’t, I let go of over-analysing. These New South Whales was helpful with doing that, because when we started we didn’t give a fuck about how it would sound. We started the band as a joke, just to play a joke show, and we didn’t give a fuck about the music. But we have maintained that ethos throughout, and we do care a little bit more about it now, but I don’t over-analyse the Mossy stuff – I just go with my gut feeling on it.
How much music did you write for this EP?
I probably wrote between 30-40 songs. There’s still a bunch sitting around. I was writing for a couple of years. On the EP my favorite song is Waterfall, but I’m really proud of the whole thing.
Who were you listening to when putting this all together?
I was listening to a lot of Tom Waits at the start. He’s got some beautiful stuff on this album of his called Small Change. It has some really beautiful changes and chord progressions. He’s also a really unique storyteller. I listened to lots of Leonard Cohen for the same reasons, it’s just very romantic. I’d say they were the two main ones at the start. I also listened to a lot of hip-hop.
I read elsewhere that you listened to lots of hip-hop. Did that rub off on this EP at all?
I think the sound of the drums and the rhythm section in general. I like big, slower beats.
How are you planning to present this live?
There are five of us in a live band with a couple of synths, some live guitar, bass and drums. They are all just really close friends from around the way. Dean, who will play keys in the band, was the producer of the EP.
Did you guys collaborate on the recording, or was this something that you dictated?
It was quite collaborative because I’m close with Dean. We worked hard on the beats and making them sound good and all. We had a great working relationship. It was good because we just bounced off each other, and also Will, who plays guitar in Mossy, was there for a majority of the time. He was really great to be able to bounce ideas off. Will and I co-wrote Ginsberg together, which was really helpful.
So how did this deal with I Oh You come about?
I just sent an earlier version of Electric Chair to them, and they really enjoyed it and kept me in the loop. I guess that’s how it came about. I definitely wanted to sign to a label.
Why go with a label and not go independent in the internet age?
I think it just means that you have more support from the get go in terms of putting it out. The music market is so swamped that anyone that you can have that can help push it is a real benefit.
What plans are on the horizon for both touring and a album release?
I’m writing more songs at the moment, and it will take a little while, but I’m hoping to have an LP out next year. Some of the stuff that I’ve been writing is really different to the EP, so I’m just going to see where it all takes me. I wanna tour as much as I possibly can because I really enjoy playing shows. I’d love to go overseas and do Europe and America…that’d be great if I’m lucky enough.
Mossy will be playing at the Oxford Circus in Sydney on Friday, 27th of May – details here.