Those who know Jamie Timony as the frontman of Sydney punk act These New South Whales might describe him as vicious, virile, volatile – all the v’s.
But, after sitting with him at a pub in Newtown, it becomes apparent he is none of these things.
While they undoubtedly sit bubbling under the surface, the man in front of me is someone else altogether – charming, articulate and at ease. This is MOSSY.
We caught up with MOSSY off the back of his first ‘real’ show that launched one of the best records of the year so far. His debut EP is a collection of spacious, masterfully crafted tunes recorded in a windowless New York basement.
HAPPY: Hey man, so how did the show go last week?
JAMIE: Yeah it was great man, a lot of fun. We all had such a good time.
HAPPY: Who are the guys you’re playing with?
JAMIE: So, a guy called Leroy Bressington [from Cabins], he’s playing bass and a bit of bass synth and Will Shepard [from These New South Whales] plays guitar, Dean Tuza, who actually produced the record plays synths and my mate Michael Hassett plays drums.
HAPPY: And with a new band, has it been pretty hard translating the record to a live setting?
JAMIE: Yeah it took a while to work it all out. We had to re-learn all the parts and everything because so much of it we hadn’t played in so long. It actually turned out to be pretty challenging, but ended up being more rewarding, learning everything again and having it actually come together.
HAPPY: It would have been nice doing it alongside your mates too. Was there ever a plan to get in some sort of session guys backing you up?
JAMIE: No I definitely always wanted my friends to play in the band but at times I was pretty unsure of how it would work out, or who it was going to be. So yeah, I’m definitely glad it worked that I have four friends in there, it makes everything… easier?
HAPPY: And when did this whole thing start? When did MOSSY come into fruition?
JAMIE: I started writing stuff by myself in about 2013, and I’ve spent the last couple of years writing and constantly demoing and tracking new ideas.
HAPPY: Was it always intended to be a solo thing?
JAMIE: Well I was actually working quite a bit with Will, who plays guitar, and also Dean who produced the record. But yeah, it’s a solo project.
HAPPY: How did you and Dean start working together?
JAMIE: I just met Dean from hanging out around Rec Studios. He was working out of there at the time. He had a room.
HAPPY: And how did you guys end up in New York?
JAMIE: Dean actually had access to a studio over there. It was quite big and the guy who owned it kind of gave us an open invitation to work and live in it. We wrote most of the record there – the majority of it.
HAPPY: It does sound incredibly well produced. Were you tracking a lot of the instruments yourself?
JAMIE: I played all the synths, then we got different people in to play all the other instruments. There were some cool vintage analog synths there, and that’s mainly what I was writing everything on. And the majority of the guitar parts were played by Will. Will was over there for the majority of the time with us.
HAPPY: You’ve been shooting some stuff with Kris Moyes. How did you start working with him?
JAMIE: I was always a fan of his videos, and about a year or so ago I sent him a few demos which ended up being this sort of email friendship. I had a bit of a discussion with Kris about what the song [Electric Chair] was about and he took it as inspiration for some ideas for a video. So that was all very much his idea. But we collaborated a lot with the performance and all that sort of stuff.
HAPPY: How did you end up coming into I OH YOU’s arms?
JAMIE: Umm… I don’t really remember actually.
HAPPY: Had everything been recorded already?
JAMIE: Yep. Yeah everything had already been recorded, and I think – honestly I don’t quite remember – but I think I sent Johann [Ponniah] Electric Chair – and uh, that was that. I’ve been stoked, it’s been absolutely great.
HAPPY: And on the record you were working with Stu White and Dave Kahne. How did they fit into the picture?
JAMIE: Yeah Stu, he mixed it. He was actually working in the studio next door to us in New York so we became friends with him and he ended up doing some spec mixes on a few of the tracks. It ended up sounding great. It just kind of happened. It was one of those fortuitous situations. And he’s such a brilliant mixer and engineer, so we were really lucky to have him in the end.
HAPPY: Was there anything you were listening to in the studio that influenced the atmosphere?
JAMIE: Oh a bunch of stuff man. At the start of the record I was listening to a lot of Tom Waits. I’d had just been introduced to him and I was really loving his album. I was also listening to a bit of Leonard Cohen too. And some King Krule; I really like King Krule.
HAPPY: A couple of crooners in there. How about the Ginsberg reference? Were you reading a lot of his work at the time?
JAMIE: Yeah I had just started getting into Allen Ginsberg, and there was some of the work that he did that just really struck me – it hit home really hard, which is always a really nice experience when that happens. And it was just quite inspired by it. Obviously it inspired the song Ginsberg, but I’d say in a way it inspired the entire process. I was kind of getting into a lot of the beat generation stuff, some Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs as well.
MOSSY’s self-titled debut EP is out now via I OH YOU.
Read the full interview in our upcoming Happy Mag Issue #3