“Where Is Jamie T?” Long before noughties indie nostalgia became a‚Ä®fully-fledged revival, a small Twitter campaign was bubbling, pondering where one of London’s most beloved songsmiths had got to. The forensic billboard of evidence mapped various sightings; his 2014 album “Carry On The Grudge’, a low-key campaign for 2016’s “Trick’, the odd tagged appearance on Carl Barat or Miles Kane’s Instagram page. But since a B-sides and rarities album in 2018, the trail had gone cold, the break even longer than the one he took in 2009. Fans wanted new music, but they also wanted to know that he was alright - to hear word from a musician whose work made them feel as if they were checking in on a mate.
It’s now 2022 and, having seen him with our own eyes, DIY are happy to clear the matter up: Jamie T is doing just fine, and Jamie T is about to release one of the best indie records of the year. What kept him so long?
“Well, I never stopped writing,” he begins of July’s “The Theory of Whatever’. “It takes me years to write a record; it’s well documented how many tracks I make for an album, and obviously we’ve been through a pandemic too. It’s not like I’m faffing around doing nonsense, but I don’t feel the need to keep a diary of things. Really what people want, hopefully, is songs. I work hard, and I release albums as soon as they’re ready.” He smiles. “It’s time, you know?”
Meeting Jamie Treays is a much more comfortable experience than you might expect. Much has been made in the past of how “elusive’ he is with the press, how deeply he dislikes talking about himself. Sat in an East London pub with a pint in hand, discomfort is probably a more accurate term than dislike - a thoughtful tentativeness rather than a full-on fear. The last few years appear to have been kind to him; his trademark double-denim and battered Nikes are now topped off with grown-up glasses, and he fidgets a lot less than the nervy teenager of the early noughties, much more at ease with being centre of attention. He takes to DIY’s deeply meta photoshoot like a champ, rolling up a newspaper in his back pocket to take home to his partner as a souvenir of “a particularly weird day at the office”. As it turns out, he’s no stranger to a novelty costume.
“During the pandemic, I bought a lot of fancy dress stuff online. And drank a lot. You know how it goes! Wake up in the morning, put your Harry Potter outfit on, get drunk again, play ping pong without a ping pong table. A bit like a student theme night.”
One thing he didn’t fill his time with was social media. Dipping in and out only when strictly necessary, he completely missed any campaigns for his return, only breaking cover in January to announce a 15th anniversary re-pressing of his debut album, “Panic Prevention’. It was, of course, an instant sell-out; the sound of scrappy adolescence, it’s become a classic of the genre, uniting enthusiasts of both indie and grime.
“That whole album, I have really fond memories of,” he says. “I wrote a song the other day actually with a mate of mine, and I was sitting there thinking that it sounded like “Panic Prevention’. He said to me, “Nah, it sounds like someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing’. But that’s exactly what that album is! It’s someone who doesn’t know but is trying their damnedest to figure it out. It’s charming in that regard, I think.”
As featured in the May 2022 issue of DIY, out now. Scroll down to get your copy.