I write a lot about the emotional kind of torment that as a young kid that you put yourself through. No one asks you to put yourself through the self-loathing or the self-analysis that I put myself through and a lot of other teenagers put themselves through. – Jack Garratt
Jack Garratt is a British singer-songwriter who can play many instruments simultaneously on stage as we got to see at Osheaga this year. He’s been promoting his debut album Phase and sat down with us to discuss music, the inspiration behind his songs, his experiences memorable experiences on tour.
Confront: What do you think of Osheaga so far?
Jack: I literally have just arrived. I tell you what, it’s a very well organized festival from what I’ve seen.
Confront: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it yet?
Jack: I would not describe it, I would instead show them. I’ve always said that. it’s difficult to describe my music. On a basic sense you could call it electronic or soul music, or you could call it alternative-pop I guess. But I would also rather not call it any of those because I don’t think it is any of those. I’d instead just pick a couple songs and play them to someone. I feel like that’s the best way to figure out whether you like something or not anyway, through the experience.
Confront: What was the main source of inspiration for Phase and what message does it convey?
Jack: Phase has kind of been about a time in my growth as an adult. It’s about a maturity level up that I went through. When I was a kid, I would kind of sacrifice myself for the sake of other people, or sacrifice my emotions for people who didn’t really care or ask me to. I was doing it for myself to get the attention, and it would never really work out for the best. It took me a while to realize that’s why I was doing that and I wasted a lot of my childhood and adolescence just doing stupid shit.
I write a lot about the emotional kind of torment that as a young kid that you put yourself through. No one asks you to put yourself through the self-loathing or the self-analysis that I put myself through and a lot of other teenagers put themselves through. The album is pretty much around that idea and how difficult and self-inflicted that time is and how impossible it can feel to get out of it.
Confront: Which of your song’s is the most meaningful to you right now?
Jack: I always have a lot of love for “I Know What I Do,” simply because that was one of the last songs I wrote for the album. It’s one of the most recent ones for me in terms of its placement in my life and what it means to the people I wrote it about.
Confront: What was it like to tour with Mumford and Sons?
Jack: It was great, really good. Those guys are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met in my life. It’s kind of unbelievable. I learned so much on that tour. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the music or the records that they’ve released, the show is probably one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. The way it works, the way they treat the crew, the way the crew treats each other, they way they treat their fans… it was one of the most inspiring tours that I’ve been fortunate enough to work on, simply because everyone was there for the right reasons, because they love what they do. You can’t help but get infected by that kind of attitude.
Confront: How does touring in North America compare to the UK and Europe?
Jack: The drives are longer. For me every show is different no matter where you are. It’s impossible to dissect a country in its counties or cities or states.
Confront: Is there a memorable city so far?
Jack: I just came from Australia, I did a festival out there called Splendour In The Grass, and it was unbelievable. I didn’t know, but apparently Australia has been very supportive of me and the album, so I kind of went not knowing what to expect and I got a lot in return from it. A lot of people came to that show. Very heartwarming and surprising.
Confront: What advice would you give to aspiring singer/songwriters?
Jack: Trust yourself. I wish I’d had someone instil that kind of confidence in me at a younger age. It’s important to make mistakes, even if the mistakes you make are from your decisions. It doesn’t mean that you’re therefore not allowed to make decisions for yourself in the future. Part of growing up and being artistic is throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. Sometimes it doesn’t and sometimes it does. But no matter what, whatever you throw, it’s your shit – own the artistry that you wanna create. Do it. Be confident.
Confront: What would you say is your motto these days?
Jack: I am the least important person when it comes to everything that I do. Everything that I do, I am the most important person to myself in the sense that if I die it all stops. But I am the least important person when it comes to playing a show, when it comes to making a record and doing everything. I’m here for my own reasons but I am also here to be a part of something greater than myself, and I remind myself of that every day.