Tom Lumley & The Brave Liason are a four-piece from Cambridgeshire. The band headed by Lumley have grown a strong following through relentless touring and their radio-friendly rock riffs. Our writer, Debbie Cannon, had a chat with Lumley from the band about live streams, lockdown, and their love for small venues.

Debbie: How are you coping with lockdown?

Tom: I always put a lot of time into the band, we all do. But not being able to play live music has given us the opportunity to be able to write more, we’ve been pushing everything we can do. We released the Sign of the Times EP so we’ve been pushing that. It’s been really useful.

Your live streams seem to be going well.

They’re a bit of fun! It feels really weird not playing with the rest of the boys and stripping back some of the tracks to play acoustically, has been a bit weird. It keeps the interaction with the fans though and it’s nice to see people interacting.

Is Billy as funny in real life as he is on the streams?

Billy is a nutcase yeah! He’s not got a bad bone in his body, he’s always happy. He’s from the east end of London so he’s got that cockney geezer thing about him. But yeah we all have a laugh with each other, we have a really good relationship. I think it’s important.

Photo: Jay Lance

You’ve mentioned how important small venues are in your stream – how important have they been to you in your career so far?

I’ve always believed in building a fan base by getting out and playing wherever and whenever we can, around the country. So without those small venues, we wouldn’t have the places to do that. It honestly has been how we’ve built up our fanbase over the last few years. I remember our first tour we played Leeds and Sheffield, we played all over the place. We’d only get a few people coming to our shows, but it is how we’ve grown.

How many years have you been touring around the smaller venues now?

About two and a half years – it feels like it has gone really quick but in the same breath it feels like a long time. We’ve seen the crowds and venue size increase with every tour.

You look at bands like Catfish & The Bottlemen, who I know are a band who really believed in the same thing; playing as often as you can, wherever you can to build your following. They were touring for around ten years before they really made it big. So that’s a shining example of how to do it.

Huw Stephens has named you as ones to watch in 2020 and you got your latest single ‘New York Paranoia’ played on Radio One on 17 May, how does that feel?

Honestly over the last couple of years we’ve always wanted to get on radio. We’ve had support from Radio X for a while now but Radio One was always a goal of ours.

It always felt like we were never gonna get there, then we were played in January of this year when we were picked as ones to watch by Huw Stephens – I lost it when that happened, I burst into tears. Huw is a name that everyone in the industry knows so we really appreciate it.

What’s been the highlight for you since it’s release?

Because it was released in Lockdown – I would say ‘New York Paranoia’ getting its first play on Radio One is really cool. But also getting a message from a fan saying that she’d heard our track ‘Shrink ‘being played by Steve Lamacq on Radio 6!

Who have you been listening to in lockdown?

I’ve listened to so much music – like a crazy amount. Today I’ve been listening to Pickpockets and the bass player in that band is also a player in Delaire The Liar and I’ve been listening to their new single ‘Shovel’.

We all miss live music – what’s been your favourite gig you’ve played so far and why?

It’s a hard one – we played Brighton before lockdown and we saw loads of people who we hadn’t seen before and they knew our songs. That blew us away.

We also did a headline show in our Cambridge just before Christmas last year. We played Junction 2 which has a 350 capacity and it sold out. It was the end of the tour, the last gig before Christmas – it was just the perfect high to end the year on.

Finally, tell us something memorable from your time on the road?

There was one time when we were playing Newcastle. A mosh pit started which we never expected and I’ve never seen someone tumble so hard, but this guys head just full on bounced off of Billy’s monitor. It’s definitely a moment that stands out! We were all shocked.

You can listen back to ‘New York Paranoia’ on Huw Stephens show on BBC Sounds here. 

About The Author

Debbie Cannon

Music nut from Greater Manchester with an insatiable appetite for new music. Generally found at gigs in and around the north west. Three favourite bands: Sophie and the Giants, False Heads, and The Howl & The Hum

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