Draper is fun. Loads of fun. He’s a blast.
The French-born British artist is on a total high. “I try to get as much done as I can,” he laughs, before reeling off a jam-packed diary of shows, festivals, recording sessions and releases, without even threatening to pause for thought. In truth, Draper gets stuff done because he loves it. He loves everything. All of it. You’d be hard-pressed to find something he hates. Much like the music he makes, Jamie Draper is upbeat, optimistic and full of colour. He! Loves! Everything!
The 25-year-old first found his way into the industry producing and writing for other artists, before slowly moving into crafting his own, personal brand of sun-soaked electro-pop. He’s been steadily releasing original music since 2010 and while he’s experimented with different sounds and approaches, the underlying mantra has never changed.
“There’s a time and a place for sad, down-tempo music, but that’s not what I’m aiming to provide.
“I don’t like writing sad music. I want it to be upbeat, positive – that’s exactly the idea. I’m not super happy all the time, like a smiley face emoji or whatever, but what I like about writing positive and happy music is that people will listen to it and then feel that, and that’s a great feeling to have.”
Despite having been in the game a few years now (his debut solo release, The Introduction EP, was at the tender age of 18), there are no signs of such an enthusiasm waning. For someone with a few years on the clock, Draper still discusses his music with the audible buzz of a pre-teen following their first ever go with a musical instrument. In a hybrid kind of transaction, it’s a buoyancy that comes from and feeds into the sounds he puts out simultaneously (“I like to be brought out and energised by my music, and give that energy back”).
Latest release, Luminous, is a fine example of where he’s currently at. The EP is a six-track cohort of edgy pop meeting uptempo electronica, that sees Draper doing what he’s spent the last few years fine-tuning; it’s playful, beaming musical escapism, driven by synths, hooks and an unwavering desire to be somewhere a little more fun. I.O.U, the most recent of the record’s singles, is joyfully encompassing of such an idea – it’s upbeat, unwavering fun.
“I’m on the up and I love absolutely every second of what I do,” he admits. “I love what I’m doing and I don’t ever feel like I need to take a break – I don’t want to take a break! It’s a self-made career and you get back what you put in. I love it.
“The worst thing you can do is plateau. The biggest fear is that what you write won’t supersede what came before. You always want it to be bigger. It has to be the best you can possibly write.”
With Draper, you always know that it’s going to be. He enjoys it too much to be go about it half-heartedly – from talking to him, it’s fair to say this approach applies to most walks of life. It’s all about movement, progress (“you should never feel like you’ve written your masterpiece”) and adaptation, with an emphasis always on the kinetic. “It’s such a fast-moving thing. You’ve got to be so active with it,” he admits – and he’s right. Draper’s a producer with the wide-eyed hunger of someone much younger, but the grinning wisdom of someone who’s already been there and done it. With summer fast approaching and ready to provide the perfect environment for them, expect to hear more of Jamie Draper’s sounds. They’ll take you somewhere – and you’ll be all the better for it.
Photos by Courtney Farrell.
Volume #17 is go. Order it here.
Words by Niall Flynn