‘Listening to us is like having your underwear ripped off.’ – Interview with Imperial Leisure


After catching up with two of Imperial Leisure’s members, drummer Scott Vining and vocalist Denis Smith, Jennifer Isles found out a little more about what is behind the music and vibe of the band. Their sound is one that will not be forgotten too soon, whether your kegs remain intact or not is a different matter.

Imperial Leisure by Grove Watson

“Listening to us is like having your underwear ripped off – hurts a little, but you like it,” says Denis when pressed on what to expect when you listen to Imperial Leisure. The band’s music is always changing and of late they have been expanding sonically with their collection of horns and moving from; “the fast lunatic energy of Ska and Punk adding in larger sounds, electronic wizardry and meaningful melodies to take us into the next album and beyond.”

Playing some brand new tracks from their upcoming release as well as mixing up a lot from their current LP; The Art Of Saying Nothing, fans will not want to miss the gig at The Flapper on Thursday 11th March. So, how did Imperial Leisure start out and where did it all begin?

“It began at a happy place in our memories,” quips Scott. “A few years ago, when a bunch of mates decided music was being too serious and people needed a band that would allow them to let loose and have fun.”

“I blame the parents,” says Denis. “Most of us met at school, we used to have a band but got bored of that and started Imperial Leisure, got some horns involved and gigged our asses off, most of the time outside in parks and on the street!”

Describe yourselves in three words

Scott: “Damn, bloody, good or fast, hard, fun or sex, horns, rock and roll.”
Denis: “Musical melting pot.”

The horns are a massive feature in your music, how did this come about, it works so well in your songs?

Scott: “We started using them to create the in-your-face party sound that we wanted, and it gave us some unique performance opportunities for solos and improvising. ”

Denis: “The Art of Saying Nothing featured a two man brass section Mark Rudland and Rob O’Neale, we were really lucky to happen upon them, they can both play like gods but they understood the big picture and how they could fit into it.”

Where’s the best place you guys have performed at?

Scott: “Glastonbury 2008, because of the response we got from over two thousand soon-to-be-fans!”

Denis: “In a carpark in Camden, and Glastonbury weren’t too shabby either!”

Scott:”The last time we played Birmingham the gig was the best on the tour thanks to a load of our own fans and going back there solely for our own supporters is going to be great.”

“London is a good laugh but we need to get out more,” admits Denis. “There’s something special about rocking up to a place you ain’t from and ripping it up.”

Your album ‘The Art Of Saying Nothing’ is out now, what can people expect from it?

Scott: “The Art Of Saying Nothing is about having a good time – that’s it. However you want to do it; going out, getting drunk, chasing girls or staying in and dancing in your bedroom. Either way, this album lets you take that Imperial Leisure gig that you remember home with you.”

Denis: “If you are depressed, get a cheap bottle of Cava, stick us on nice and loud and expect to have a laugh.”

The Art of Saying Nothing - out now

What are your plans for 2010?

Scott: “That’s where our new album comes in. Due out later this year, it shows the next evolution of Imperial Leisure without losing our trademark energy. We also don’t have an album title yet, so any suggestions….?”

Denis: “To vote for the first time, release new Album and ask my ex to marry me…….again. ”

Get down to The Flapper this Thursday evening (11th March) to see Imperial Leisure perform along with the excellent Tempting Rosie and Fistful of Dynamite. Advance tickets £7 from here.

Jennifer Isles

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