On­wards and up­wards

Twelve months ago, The Leisure So­ci­ety’s Nick Hem­ming was work­ing a dull day job. Now, with an Ivor Novello nom­i­na­tion in the bag and an avalanche of crit­i­cal praise en­gulf­ing the band, it seems the sky’s the limit. He lets Kevin Court­ney in on the se­cret

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

WHEN NICK Hem­ming was dumped by his girl­friend of nine years, it was just the kick up the arse he needed. For a start, it spurred him into leav­ing the cosy co­coon of his home­town of Bur­ton-On-Trent and move to Lon­don; it fo­cused his mind on his new band, The Leisure So­ci­ety; and fi­nally, it in­spired him to write an al­bum’s worth of soul-bar­ing acous­tic pop songs, one of which, The Last of the Melt­ing Snow, was nom­i­nated for an Ivor Novello award in 2009, the first time an un­signed artist has been nom­i­nated.

At the time, Hem­ming was work­ing a me­nial day job, try­ing to scrape to­gether the money to make a new al­bum and keep his merry band of troubadours on the road. Sud­denly, this shy, skinny young man was thrust into the lime­light and be­ing men­tioned in the same breath as the mighty El­bow. The band’s self-recorded al­bum, Sleeper, has re­cently been re-re­leased on Full Time Hobby along with their six-song EP, A Prod­uct of the Ego Drain, which fea­tures a star­tling, baroque ver­sion of Gary Numan’s Cars.

Hem­ming formed his first band in BurtonOn-Trent with his mates Paddy Con­si­dine and Shane Mead­ows, both of whom went on to suc­cess in the film in­dus­try, the for­mer as an ac­tor ( In Amer­ica, Hot Fuzz, The Bourne Ul­ti­ma­tum), the lat­ter as di­rec­tor of such hits as This Is Eng­land and Dead Man’s Shoes. He also did time with neo-psy­che­delic band The Tele­scopes, but it is with The Leisure So­ci­ety that Hem­ming has fi­nally found some­thing worth pour­ing his soul into. So, for all you Jilted Johns out there, here’s the Nick Hem­ming guide to get­ting over a bro­ken heart.

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“To get the pub­lic­ity that was gen­er­ated by get­ting the nom­i­na­tion, there was no way you could pos­si­bly com­plain about that. Even be­fore the Ivor hap­pened, we got a lot of sup­port, es­pe­cially from Mark Rad­cliffe and Guy Gar­vey. The Ivors was just kind of the ic­ing on the cake re­ally.

“I got some re­ally nice e-mails af­ter­wards from peo­ple – I got one from Steve Har­ley of Cock­ney Rebel. It was bizarre meet­ing all th­ese peo­ple. We met up with Brian Eno the other week, he’s a huge fan of the al­bum.” “The Ivors helped kind of, in a way, be­cause I was sud­denly thrust from some­body who was ter­ri­fied of do­ing an in­ter­view to some­body who’s had TV cam­eras turn­ing up at work and na­tional press and stuff. So it was kind of bap­tism by fire, re­ally.”

The Leisure So­ci­ety: William Calder­bank, Chris­tian Hardy Mike Sid­dell, Nick Hem­ming, Dar­ren Bone­hill, He­len Whi­taker, Se­bas­tian Hank­ins

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