An Interview With Jamie Lenman: “I think I might have inadvertently joined a band”

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Jamie Lenman, Gloucester, Photo Credit CPe FOTO

Ahead of a sell out show at Gloucester Guildhall Rock Sins was lucky enough to catch up with the legend that is Jamie Lenman. After three attempts at rescheduling dates through various restrictions and lockdowns, to finally attend the show was incredible.

From holding tickets from October 2020 to sitting down in a room full of people to appreciate live music felt so special. Acoustic shows have a hugely intimate feeling; but there was an extra special atmosphere within Gloucester Guildhall. The entire room erupted with excitement with the first note being played and seeing Jamie walk on stage.

Rock Sins: So this tour has been a LONG time in the making, I’ve had tickets since the end of October last year and then the November lockdown happened. How does it feel to finally be on tour? 

Jamie Lenman: He locked us down just before my birthday – nightmare.  I had a dinner booked at a restaurant in Southend, you can play crazy golf and eat burgers at the same time.  It’s really nice. I had two dates because of how it got rescheduled, this is the third lot of dates. It’s a miracle my agent managed to get them in the same month. The first two in Brighton and Southampton were two weeks ago. So I did a little WOAH we’re on tour…. then we’re not. I’ve been at home for two weeks. I got all excited and into tour mode, it took me quite a while to be at home and off tour mode then we’re in tour mode again. Now we’ve got that climb up again, I’m excited. 

 Photo Credit CPe FOTO 

Have you had a highlight of the tour so far? 

Oh man, I know its a real stupid thing to say, but just playing, just seeing the people. That’s true and that’s the correct answer. BUT, it’s also a really dull thing to say. So I’m also going to say it was really nice to meet the support acts. Tom Bryant in Southampton. I really like to meet the support acts, if there’s no support acts what’re you gonna do but its nice to get to chat a bit. I don’t often get to see their shows, you know where it’s seated it would be kinda weird for me to stroll in like “Hello” so yeah that was a highlight. BUT ACTUALLY scratch that even, forget Tom Bryant, the lasagne we just had. It was ridiculous! Fuck Tom Bryant, its the lasagne. 

With it being an acoustic tour, have you got a favourite song to play acoustically? 

Yeah, do you know what i really enjoy playing a song that I wrote after my revolver record came out. I played it on the tour and everyone was like “Oh that’s a great song, put it in your next record” and I didn’t. Everyday trolling. It was really popular people were asking about it so i thought I’d break it out on this tour. It’s called “Bad Friend.” I sing it with Katie, she comes and does a few numbers with me. That’s my current favourite but it might change. 

Jamie Lenman on Stage in Gloucester, July 2021, photo credit CPe FOTO
 Photo Credit CPe FOTO 

How are seated gigs comparing to having a room full of people stood dancing around? 

Well because its acoustic, I think it suits a seated show really well. I did an electric show a couple weeks ago. That was more of a musical than an electric show, people were seated then and it was a bit weird. If I was playing rough and heavy stuff like the set i did at Download that would’ve been weird if everyone was seated. But i find it fits quite well, plus its a good way to space things out. This place (Gloucester Guildhall) is huge. I last played here on my last electric tour in 2019. We sold about 100 tickets which is pretty good considering I hadn’t been to Gloucester in about 10 years. 100 people in that room is not a lot to fill out the space, so I’m in favour of spacing out. In fact when we go back to electric gigs i think I’m going to ask everyone to space out. 

There have been so many livestream gigs that have acted as a stop gap this last 18 months, do you think they’re something that’s here to stay? 

Yeah, I think people were doing livestream gigs before the pandemic happened. Lots of people were making a regular thing out of them. Definitely they’ll stick around, people are a lot better with the concept of live gigs. They won’t be as prevalent, maybe they’ll serve a different function. At the moment they’re a stop gap. 

Have you got a favoruite live stream you’ve watched? I was lucky to review Weezer do one with a full orchestra and it was phenomenal. 

I watched the Haggard Cat one, they’re my buddies so I did tune into that. Everything they do is great. That had a nice feel to it. I cant remember if I’ve seen any other live stream shows. Not over the pandemic no. I was so busy doing them myself I really didn’t have much time to tune into everyone else’s.

You were definitely busy pulling separation event together for audio tree. How was that? 

It was huge. It was an enormous undertaking. I think my management only suggested I do it so it would keep me quiet for 3 months. Because once they told me I was like ORGANISE ORGANISE ORGANISE. It was great, it went like clockwork, i really couldn’t believe it. For me the really exciting bit was all the guest stars i got in, hearing those songs transformed by people like Will, and Damien and Jen and also doing new songs live. To premiere two new tracks just for the live show was quite exciting. It was fucking great. It was a lot of work. It flattened me for the first 3 months of the year but i needed a project to work on. 

One of the first pilot events to come back was Download, and I guess its one of those things you cant put into words with seeing live music finally return, what was it like to be a part of that? 

It was like a normal gig. Because it was so normal, everyone had been tested before they went in and as you know that meant there was 0 restrictions. It was almost like your brain removed the intervening 18 months. Everyone sorta snapped back into it. So I didn’t really keep clocking and going wow its been 18 months. I’ll do that more here because of the way everyone is seated out and it will remind me what’s going on. But at download I forgot there was a pandemic at all. So instead of this huge revolutionary moment, it was just business as usual. But the gig itself was fucking fantastic. It was probably my favourite Download because I’m maybe like 1% bit agoraphobic. Big festivals like Download freak me out a little bit. You’ve gotta get a bus between the stage and your dressing room. It’s like getting a bus between your bedroom and the kitchen. So be able to just jump across was great for me. That’s why i like 2000 Trees because its compact and more like a village festival. So to have a cute baby Download was just my style. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with the big one next year but i had the time of my fucking life, the show was great. At your own shows you get a sound check and you get time to sit around and think about stuff. But festivals you don’t really get that you’re chucked on to do it. Then normally something happens like your arm breaks or your lead dissolves, actually none of that happened this year, i dunno why, just a fluke. On top of it being a nice gig for me, it was technically a good show too. 

Now live music is properly making its return, who are you most looking forward to seeing, either as a show or just catching up with people? 

I mean that was one of the nice things about Download. I didn’t realise how many buddies were gonna be there and i kinda had forgotten that aspect of festivals and shows. You walk around every corner and there’s somebody. My local pub venue is the Boiler Room in Guildford. They have loads of good gigs on all the time. They’ve got Haggard Cat on and I think we’re going to that, they’ve got St Pierre Snake Invasion. I had Damien singing on separation, so I’m looking forward to seeing snakes. Those are the two that instantly spring to mind, we went there the other day to do a life drawing class and i saw the posters on the wall and thought Oh shit! Gigs. I’m sure there will be more to come. 

What smaller bands or artists have you been really digging recently? 

There’s loads actually. I went to sing on Sick Joys record the other day, they’re nice lads. In fact it was my old manager Barney who used to manage Rueben. He’s managing Sick Joy so it was cool to hangout with them. They introduced me to We Are Knuckle Dragger who are from the North East. They’re no longer around, I think actually the singer is no longer with us which is a shame. I did find some band on Facebook the other day – I was like ‘The fuck is this! It was great and I emailed my buddy Mark who’s from a band called Broker and he was like “that’s my chum!” So as far as small UK bands goes its those. Wargasm as well. Good buddies of mine. I’m looking forward to what there record might sound like, I’ve heard their singles and they’re great. Again, Sam from Wargasm came down for the Separation event. This is the thing, anyone you ask me about I’ll be like ah i heard this thing and that was the whole point of the separation event. I’m looking forward to what Ithaca pull out the bag. So basically the answer is look at the line up for separation event and that’s what I’m excited about. 

Outside of music, how have you kept busy the last year and a bit? 

I’ve been very lucky, I’ve been very busy since lockdown happened, I have an alternative career as a designer and illlustrater, in fact as luck would have it, i have my latest one here for Doctor Who Magazine! I don’t even have to pay for it would you believe it?! They pay me! I even drew myself in there, how embarrassing. This is the kinda thing that’s been keeping me busy. I write reviews for the Doctor Who mag as well and i write articles. But i also have various commissions that have come in. Doctor Who mag is regular work you know every month. I did some book illustrations for a chum, I did some animations for Harper Collins. They’ve got a series for some language books. Some months its nothing and you’re eating beans for every meal and then some months it all comes and you can’t even get out because you’re so busy. But that’s the life of the freelancer, you don’t even have to get up and go out to get to the office. 

What have you got on the cards for the rest of 2021? 

Well I’d like to make another record, last time we made a record it was around Christmas 2019. So its coming up for 2 years and I’ve got a lot of stuff. I’m always writing music and not all of it comes out the same. I might write a really soft song, I might do really heavy song. That’s how you know its like muscle memory, so I’d like to make a record soon before the end of the year. What shape that might take i cant tell. I emailed a couple of chums when i was in a midnight reverie. I eat a lot of junk food then I stay up til about 4am and I send a lot of people a lot of weird emails. I email producers like why don’t we collaborate on this! I think I might have inadvertently joined a band as well. So at some point i’ll have to go and follow up on that which will be exciting. I don’t have much on in August, few shows in September and I wanna go on holiday in October but for August I’m sorta sticking around and I’d like to fill that with as much music as possible. So I’m gonna try and travel around a bit, meet some producers, meet some other musicians and try make some music of some description before making a real album toward the end of this year/start of next year but you cant really tell. There’s a couple bits I can’t really tell you about because you never know. I don’t like to be a secretive man but if it doesn’t happen I look like a wannabe! There’s lots of stuff on the cards. I mean i think everyone should listen to my live singles that I brought out, powerless and mistakes. That’s my most current thing is getting people to go give that a listen.

Jamie Lenman’s newest singles, Powerless and Mistakes, can be listened to below:

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