This week Soundsphere’s Dom Smith sits down for a (virtual) chat with Jamie Lenman to chat about his new record, ‘King of Clubs’, mental health, Reuben, his development as a person and much more.
Asking about the new record ‘King of Clubs’ which has just been released recently, Jamie says: “It sort of feels a bit like my birthday today, because my phones been ringing off the hook with lots of text messages and congrats and really like the record buddy, from close friends.” He is also very happy that people are loving the deep cuts and not just the singles, tracks that are mentioned such as ‘Sleep Mission’ he sees akin to stoner jams. “I’ve been really happy that people have seemed to have picked up on the harder-edged tracks, the deeper cuts, which is nice.”
The definition of success is a hard one to answer for most artists, but his view of success is a bit different. He has adjusted his ideas of what success is since he first started, and readjusted his view of what it means to be an artist, “Success to me meant being able to live for music, to live off art, for that to be your job, for that to be your life,” he says. Jamie has been very successful as a solo artist, and with that success comes confidence, but it wasn’t always that way.
After going on tour by himself, he was shaken by a different world of touring. By the time ‘Devolver’ came out, he had gained so much confidence, by lopping off his locks and having no fear onstage. He wouldn’t have been able to get there without the album ‘Muscle Memory’, where he felt slightly less confident in his solo abilities. “‘Muscle Memory’ was a slightly shambolic but incredibly necessary step into getting where I am now.”
We also speak about the more difficult days that we all face, we ask Jamie about his experiences of mental health. “I certainly do have them like anyone does, and I had a long period just prior to the release of ‘Muscle Memory’ where I felt very bad for seven years actually.”
After being made redundant from the illustrations work he did for the Guardian a few years ago, it was a dark time for him, as it would be for anyone. In terms of what helped him, he talks about how he woke up not wanting to get out of bed and realising he needs to go for a run, as advised by his personal trainer. “There’s a lot to be said of the physical mind benefit of getting dressed.” Indeed, Jamie found what worked was exercise and creative outlets like drawing, citing that they had been very beneficial to his mental health during these times.
Leading on from the topic of mental health, comparing your success to others can also have its downsides. Questions like: What if I’m not good enough? I’m never gonna get there? In terms of comparing yourself to others, Jamie gives some good advice: “It’s not about what’s better or worse, it’s just about what’s different and again you learn as you get older without wanting to sound patronising that there is no better or worse, there’s only different and it’s all valid, and just try your best and you will have something that’s valuable.”
We end the interview by asking if Jamie has a message for his fans and the people who have supported him over the years. “Just a huge thanks and relief and surprise and joy that people are still willing to spend real money on gig tickets and physical releases. Cause without putting the money back into the system, back into the record companies I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, there would be far less Jamie Lenman albums!”
Interview: Dom Smith / Words: Brett Herlingshaw