Jamie Woon, making "the new pop music" with layered and looping vocals, a laptop computer, a guitar, and sometimes a live band
February 17, 2012 1:46 PM   Subscribe

It's only been about 12 years since Jamie Woon picked up a guitar and started writing songs, but he's progressed from his days of being a fan of Brit-pop, and his current work has been classified as sobstep, dubpop, and lovestep, or simply "the new pop music." "At the heart of what I do is R&B, it's groove-based vocal-led music, and I try to sing about things that are close to my heart and that matter to me," says Woon. His sound has garnered a lot of praise, including placing 4th in The Sound of 2011, the annual British music industry poll. More of Woon's background and music inside.

Jamie is the son of celtic singer and backing vocalist, Mae McKenna, and nephew to Hugh McKenna (aka The Professor) and Ted McKenna of glam-rockers The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

Jamie Woon started playing guitar at age 15, and wrote his first song the next year, then inspired by Radiohead. Woon was a student at London School for Performing Arts & Technology, which is often called the BRIT School, around the same time as Amy Winehouse (Woon opened for her, once, in 2008, though it sounds like a chance connection rather than school chums re-uniting).

Woon's first single is a song called "Robots," officially released in 2007, but Archive.org has a version from 2004, which shows more of the singer-songwriter and Brit-pop influences. His first video, "Wayfaring Stranger", is also from 2007, but features a more haunted sound, composed of layered vocals. The style would become his signature, as seen in his second music video, for his song "Spirits," and this live cover of Robyn's "Every Heartbeat." For a more polished look at Woon playing guitar and singing, here he is playing his own track "Missing Person," live in a corn field. These last three clips come from 2008.

"Wayfaring Stranger" was Woon's second single, including Burial Remix and Stitch Remix of the title track, and an acoustic version of "Gravity" (which would be reworked for Woon's debut album, but we'll get there in a moment). This came out in 2007, and in 2009 Jamie collaborated with another "post-dubstep" producer Subeena on her track "Solidify."

In 2010, Woon released "Night Air" (video) on his own Candent Songs label, which is (thus far) home to Jamie alone. "Lay Luck" (official video, alternative video) came out in 2011, ahead of his debut album, Mirrorwriting (streaming on MySpace), which featured production from Burial, who was credited as William Bevan, "because if Burial was on the tracks it would have sounded very different." (Tangent: Woon credits Burial with his broader success, in this 2010 Fact Mag interview, due to Burial's mix of "Wayfaring Stranger" in 2007.) The second single from the album is now out, featuring "Slowburning" as a b-side track.

More videos and audio available on Jamie Woon's YouTube channel.
posted by filthy light thief (19 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Weird, the Discogs link to Mae McKenna numerous credits is borked, but apparently on the Discogs end. You can get there yourself, starting with Mae McKenna's profile page, then click on Credits on the left side of the page.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:51 PM on February 17, 2012

> sobstep, dubpop, and lovestep, or simply "the new pop music."

I knew we were coming up on Peak Subgenre.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:58 PM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]

I do love the idea of sobstep, tho.

lovestep + brostep = bromancestep, which is really a tautology.
posted by LMGM at 1:59 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


But srsly, Jamie Woon has created some lovely stuff thus far. I first noticed him when the Ramadanman mix of "Night Air" came out.
posted by LMGM at 2:01 PM on February 17, 2012

or simply "the new pop music."

<Paul Morley>*cries*</Paul Morley>
posted by octobersurprise at 2:05 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ramadanman Remix of "Night Air"

Solomun Remix of "Night Air"

OK, I'll be going now…
posted by LMGM at 2:06 PM on February 17, 2012

3rd-rate James Blake.
posted by univac at 2:18 PM on February 17, 2012

For you, I present about an hour of James Blake live.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:25 PM on February 17, 2012

Thank you.
posted by univac at 2:25 PM on February 17, 2012

And another 17 minutes, from NPR (via).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:29 PM on February 17, 2012

I would stab myself in the leg to be remixed by Burial.
posted by koeselitz at 2:38 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oooh, a lovestep mixset or two, presenting "an emotional take on the muscular dancefloor stylings of 2step garage." And then there's Coki's "Lovestep" track (radio rip), a lost Coki dub from back in 2009.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:14 PM on February 17, 2012

And Dub Pop posts on Floridub, though it's mostly dub(step) remixes of pop tunes. "Sobstep" seems to be a limited term, from my super-quick search efforts.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:18 PM on February 17, 2012

*waits patiently for intoactivevolcanostep to catch on*
posted by jonmc at 4:41 PM on February 17, 2012

oh, arthur brown had the intoactivevolcanostep thing down decades ago
posted by pyramid termite at 5:31 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

and i like "lady luck" - nice groove
posted by pyramid termite at 5:33 PM on February 17, 2012

hudson mohawke's remix of lady luck is swell. more boom-bap. enjoy it.
posted by raihan_ at 6:40 PM on February 17, 2012

First saw Jamie Woon about four years ago at the Troubadour in Earls Court. Thoroughly nice bloke and a genuine talent, very pleased for his success. However, went to see him last year with my flatmate. It was really, well... dull, and we left early (which we hadn't done in years). Maybe we caught him at a bad gig.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 3:59 AM on February 18, 2012

Thanks for posting, I've heard his stuff plenty of times, but knew nothing about him. Mirrorwriting is now on my shopping list.
posted by El Brendano at 2:44 AM on February 19, 2012

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