On their debut EP ‘Sign of The Times’, Tom Lumley & The Brave Liaison rock hard while offering sincere consolution to those suffering from anxiety.
— —By 2017, Tom Lumley of Needingworth, Cambridgeshire, had already spent a fair amount of time as a rock ‘n roll performer. Yet his music career took a key turn that year when he joined forces with three of his countrymen: Jake Day, Billy Stewart, and Jonny Thompson. The quartet has performed under the moniker of Tom Liaison & The Brave Liaison ever since and have taken part in a number of festivals across the United Kingdom, with another virtual one called “Socially Distanced” coming up this September.
The band has also concentrated on creating original tunes in recent times. They promoted their single “Casual” with a live recording at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios last December and that was one of four songs included on their debut EP, Sign of the Times, released this past April. “Each song on this EP centers around the mental health issues that many of us face on a regular basis,” says Lumley. “By writing and releasing this body of work, we hope to strengthen the ideology in people’s minds that it’s okay to talk about what they’re going through.”
Atwood Magazine caught up with Lumley who further describes life as the front-man of the band and why this particular subject matter is an important one for him to convey in his songwriting.
‘Sign of the Times’ – Tom Lumley & The Brave Liaison
A CONVERSATION WITH TOM LUMLEY & THE BRAVE LIAISON
Atwood Magazine: You have expressed great love for the rock scene in your native Cambridgeshire. What sort of influences have you drawn from this scene? What instructions might you give somebody who was just discovering this scene for the first time?
Tom Lumley & The Brave Liaison: We have a great scene in Cambridgeshire at the moment, with more brilliant bands coming through than you can count! As a scene, we all pull together and support one another by going to each other’s shows and supporting one other on social media, etc. I wouldn’t necessarily say our music has taken any influences from our local scene, but our work ethic definitely has. We’ve seen from other bands exactly how hard you need to work to break through in this industry. I’d advise all upcoming bands to get involved in their local scene as much as possible.
What was the creative process of making Sign of the Times like? In what ways does it build upon your previous EP, Dream City?
We don’t class the Dream City EP as a Tom Lumley & The Brave Liaison release. That EP was recorded with my previous band, but I wrote it myself and it was released under the Tom Lumley name. The writing process is different now. As my guitarist Jake Day and I write our songs, we approach each part of the process as a band and invite each member to contribute their own ideas.
How did you decide which songs to include on the EP? What might the future hold for some of your other recent tracks that didn’t quite make the cut, such as “Chardonnay” and “Modern Age?
We’re constantly writing and have a lot planned for future releases. There aren’t many songs we’d look back and considering re-releasing, with one exception being “Crawling.” We definitely feel that song didn’t attract the attention it deserved at the time of its first release. We might give that song another shot sometime in the future.
Sign of the Times is constructed around the theme of mental health. Is this a topic you’ve addressed previously in your music? In what ways do you feel you are best-positioned to cover such serious and personal matters by means of a rock ‘n roll record?
Our previous single, “Chardonnay,” centered around the mental health issues of a girl struggling with substance abuse. I don’t think it necessarily matters what the genre is if you feel strongly about the topic you’re writing about. A song can be delivered with more intent when someone is writing and singing about feelings they’ve felt, or describing an experience they’ve seen one of their loved ones go through.
Watch: “Shrink” – Tom Lumley & The Brave Liaison
How did the concept for the “Shrink” music video come about? Is there any intended symbolism to the interaction between the nurse and the tied-up prisoner?
The video for “Shrink” is the brainchild of producer Sam J. Lance. He had a strong image from the get-go and we built the video around that. The characters in the video are a guy who’s suffering badly with his mental health and a nurse trying to “cure” him. But as most who have experienced it will know, there is no “cure” to mental illness; it’s a battle to be fought and won by the individual themselves.
Is the song “New York Paranoia” based on an actual visit to NYC?
It isn’t. I don’t think any of the band members have visited New York. NYC was used in place of another city, because we felt it would better paint the picture in the listener’s head. Everyone can picture a scene in NYC because it’s been in so many movies and TV shows. You put the listener in that place and if they also relate to the lyrics, it’s almost like they’re there.
You once described performing at the Isle of Wight Festival as a “dream zone” that’s “always been on the bucket list.” What was it like to finally perform there last year? Now that that’s been achieved, what’s next on the bucket list?
It was an incredible moment, to be honest. We were able to stay over as well and take in the festival. It really was everything we wanted it to be and we owe Isle Of Wight and This Feeling a lot for the huge opportunity. Reading and Leeds and FIB in Benicassim, Spain are another two festivals that have been on our bucket list for a very long time!
How did your recent segment for BBC Introducing come together? In what ways do you hope to broaden your audience by means of this special performance of “Casual” at the Maida Vale Studios?
Our local BBC Introducing show have been so good to us and we wouldn’t have had half the amazing opportunities we’ve had without them. I think Maida Vale was another big contributor to the momentum we’ve been building over the last year. Posting the live videos recorded at Maida Vale definitely got people interested and made them take note of what we’re doing.
No doubt your planned tour dates this year have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. How are you dealing with the disappointment of having to put this venture on hold? What will you do to stay productive in the meantime— any chance you’ll give a full-length LP a shot?
I’m not sure a full-length LP will be attempted just yet. It’s definitely something we want to do; we’re just waiting for the right moment to make sure it would get all the attention it can get.
📸 © Sam J Lance
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