In rock music, it’s pretty rare to find a genuinely nice guy. Sure, you’ve got your Dave Grohls and Andrew W.K.s, but finding a really genuine, down to Earth bloke is almost as rare as catching faecal matter from a rocking horse. Well, we guess we must be the luckiest bunch of headbangers in the whole world because we have Jamie Lenman.
You may not be familiar with the Droog-esque, white-suit-sporting, Dr-Who-loving, moustache mad man. For someone with such a long, fruitful career dating back to the early naughties with, for our money, the best Brit-Rock band of all time, Reuben. Releasing his critically acclaimed second solo effort, Devolver, last year, Jamie Lenman is once again proving that he is still one of the most vital voices in British rock music. Having recently been announced for this year’s instalment of 2000 Trees, a festival somewhat synonymous with himself and Reuben, we sat down to chat all things Trees as well as the new tracks featuring a certain Justine Jones of Employed To Serve and Andrew Groves of British heavyweights, Arcane Roots.
“IT ALMOST FEELS LIKE REUBEN ALL OVER AGAIN…”
“It was a very organic process.” Mentions Lenman, “I first met Justine and the rest of the guys at 2000 Trees. I was trying to eat a burger, sitting on top of a bin, and we got chatting. I invited them to play at Lenmania, and Justine ended up singing a song with us. When we got recording, I figured who would be better to sing on the track than someone who’s even better at screaming than me?”. Something that has always been impressive about Lenman is his ability to turn his hand to so many different styles of music. Be it the fully blown scream-a-thons, or the far more subdued melodic side of things, Lenman always seems to have all bases covered. “It was kind of an accident. It would have been nice to have had these tracks for the album, but I’m not sure where they would have fitted as they are both heavier and lighter than the actual record.”
When discussing the other newly released track Irrelevant -a reworked version of the title track from Devolver-, it feels as though Lenman is overly excited to be exploring new worlds within the genre boundaries of rock music. With the first foray into heavy electronics, it makes a welcome change from the big rock tunes that make up the bulk of the previous record. “I really like that track. It’s not usually how I go about doing things, Andrew [Groves of Arcane Roots] produced it, so its mostly his sound.”
“they don’t need me to sell tickets.”
Possibly the biggest change since Lenman’s first solo record, Muscle Memory was released is the fact that he is now playing as a two-piece band (along with long-serving drummer Dan Kavanagh). A far cry from the expansive Heavy/Mellow band that toured Muscle Memory, everything feels far more stripped back and raw. “It kind of feels like being back in the band [Reuben] again. The only difference is, i’ve given myself more to do and decided to play bass at the same time as playing guitar. When you strip it back to just a two piece, it feels really cool, a bit of a challenge.”
As an artist, Lenman has always had a fruitful relationship with 2000 Trees. His previous band, Reuben, were due to headline the festival back in 2008, however broke up before they could play. This spawned the heralded Camp Reuben, a campsite to celebrate the career of one of the best British rock bands to ever exist. As a solo artist, Lenman has played the last two years of the festival. When asked about going back to 2000 Trees this year Lenman stated, “I feel incredibly flattered. I was a little hesitant at first as I’ve played the last 2 years, I was very aware of spreading myself a bit too thin. But then they kept asking and saying ‘I hear what you’re saying, but just come and play’ and I was like ‘Oh go on then’. They don’t need me to sell tickets, so it feels flattering to be asked to come back.”
Jamie Lenman is one of the UK’s most important artists that the underground scene has to offer. Without his songwriting, many of the UK’s most vital bands would not exist. Catch him playing a forest session at 2000 Trees this year!