We’re barely a month into 2016 and Jack Garratt has already picked up two big accolades, winning the Brits Critics’ Choice award and the BBC Sound of 2016 poll. Previous years’ winners have gone on to dominate the airwaves that year and, more often than not, they’ve also bagged themselves a number one album in the process. Ahead of the release of Phase, we spoke to the multi-instrumentalist about his forthcoming record, finding his own style and the items dominating his wardrobe right now.
Jack Garratt's style file
By Sam Higgins, 16 February 2016
Describe your style
It’s difficult because there’s a very obvious definition of a hipster wearing a hat and having a beard, like I do. But I just dress in what makes me feel confident and I won’t stop that because maybe I look like other people. I love me an arrogant colour, though. I’m a big fan of Tyler the Creator’s Golf Wang range – the pastel palette is really interesting and the clothes are unisex, which is great.
Favourite thing in your wardrobe?
When I performed on Conan in America, I had a black bomber with a ‘J’ on it specially made for the performance. I just love it as it’s not too over the top and obviously it’s very personal having my initial on it. I’m hoping to get a few more made as I enjoy wearing them and feeling good on stage.
Were you part of any sub-cultures as a kid?
Oh god, all of them – all of them at the same time. I got in to the emo scene, straightened my hair and wore guyliner. I joined a punk-ska band – I played trombone in it and used to wear lots of baggy skater stuff with skinny jeans and converse. I grew my hair out, had an afro and wore suits. I did not know who I was until about four years ago. I am not kidding – I was trying so hard to impress people whose opinions did not matter and I wasn’t trying to impress the one opinion that did, myself. So it’s funny that, for the first time in my 24 years so far, I feel confident in the way that I look and it’s something that people sh*t on me for because I have a beard and wear hats and unfortunately for some people that’s just the worst.
What's it like to be a 20-something these days?
I think we’re the last generation to appreciate what it means to own music. I remember holding CDs and my dad’s vinyls in my hand and it felt like I was holding a memory – that’s how powerful music is. And I feel like kids growing up now are losing that sense of ownership. Streaming is incredible but you’re renting music. The album that defines your summer of being a 14-year-old is not an album you’ve bought and will be able to listen to when you’re 24 because, if you don’t have your subscription, it’s all gone.
What can we expect from your debut album, Phase?
I intended to make an album that is only the best I can produce in that moment and I feel like I have. It’s the best I can be to my own standards and that’s all l should ever live up to, I think. I’ve tried not to waste any notes – every detail, every minuscule piece of information on this record is there for a reason. It all gets summed up by one the greatest pop punk records of all time by Sum 41 – All Killer, No Filler – and that’s exactly what I want it to be.
Do you feel a sense of expectation having won both the BBC Sound of 2016 and Brits Critics’ Choice award?
I’m not putting any pressure on myself to do anything other than just the best that I can do. The pressure comes from people asking me if there’s pressure because they want me to either fail or succeed because that’s more interesting for them. For me, the most interesting thing is the music and just being the best musician I can be. If someone wants to sh*t on me, I can’t stop them from sh*tting on me. But I can definitely just put an umbrella up and let them sh*t on their own socks.
Jack Garratt’s debut album Phase is out 19 February.