There was no beginning and there will be no end! Originally from London, Imperial Leisure manifested during early 2000 in the midst of many a dubious college party. No surprise really then that they quickly gained a reputation for high-intensity, alcohol-tinged, good-time carnage. Since then the band have been going full throttle, smashing the festival and gig circuit for over a decade and now they gear up for the release of their third studio album “Lifestyle Brand”.
Never ones to shy away from a tour, Imperial Leisure have clocked up a fair few miles since their incarnation over 10 years ago. In 2006 - still considered newbies to the scene - they appeared as support act to Ugly Duckling on their 18 date UK tour; becoming well-seasoned in the field they then went on to play with likes of Less Then Jake, Roots Manuva, The Sugar Hill Gang, UB40, Young Blood Brass Band and many many more. Perhaps it was inevitable given the good time vibe of the music that they would be a hit at festivals: performances at numerous festivals across UK and Europe ensued, from super-sized Glastonbury and Bestival to the more modest but equally credible Boomtown Fair and Secret Garden Party.
Renowned champions of the live arena, Imperial Leisure have also paid their dues in the studio too, with two fine self-released albums under their belts. Debut album ‘The Art of Saying Nothing’ smashed on to the scene back in 2008 and was described by Radio 1 as having a sound "of epic proportions", and although sophomore release 'Death To The One Trick Pony' displayed a darker side the party was still very much in full swing, albeit with the casualties racking up!
Needless to say, 10 years of intense touring brings its fair share of stories, cultivating some lows and many highs. The band are always willing to go that extra mile for their fans, none more so than front man Dboy who on a rather nippy winters day cycled naked through Camden Town - all part of a fund-raising publicity stunt they had organised through Pledgemusic, it paid dividends when the band reached and then massively surpassed their target by hitting 200% funded.
Dboy reflects on his years of ventures with Imperial Leisure:
“Funniest times are always tour times. Festivals are great fun but you're in and you're out most times. On tour, you're with the lads day in, day out, and that’s when things get that little bit more entertaining. I've seen some things! Most of which I would have liked to have taken to the grave! They say what happens on tour stays on tour, but that was before Facebook and Twitter! Last year I saw men with tampons in their bums and testicles on their eyeballs. Need I say more? I'll leave you to browse social media for the rest of the goings-on should your heart desire – we’re harmless really, we just know how to enjoy ourselves!"
So now the band have released their third album, released on 6th April, they've been hard at work on what promises to be a show-stomping, high-energy, vibed-up display of musicianship and spontaneity. Recorded at Middle Farm with producers Peter Miles and James Bragg who, having worked with the likes of The Skints and The King Blues, came highly recommended, it was decided from the out set that the recording should be all live, taking full advantage of the expansive converted barn space and the array of wonderful authentic and quality equipment on hand. It is all music to the ears of FXD Records, having recently signed Imperial Leisure to their punk rock hiphop roster.
Listeners who were sensitive to changes Imperial Leisure have made in musical direction over the years will be pleased to find this new album sees the band return to their roots. Album teaser Razzle Dazzle, released at the end of 2014, displays solid rock steady rhythms with massive brass fillers and ever-quirky and profound lyrics from front man Dboy.
"...Boasting sparky wit, animated horns and sharp lyrics layered expertly over perky beats; this EP won’t just get your Madness-obsessed Dad up on the dance floor at the next family gathering, it’ll have the next generation of ska fans skanking along too....a proper party EP made with real experience and musicianship – all we need now is a party!” – Sammie Steward, Hitthefloor.com
All in all, 2014 proved to be a great launching pad for the new record: over 20 festival appearances featuring debut slots at Mighty Sounds, Rebellion, Wickerman and Guilfest; taking the stage at KOKO in support to Ska/Punk veterans King Prawn was also a highlight, leading on to an endorsement deal with Californian-based clothing company SRH who also work with NOFX, Pennywise and Slightly Stupid.
It seems Imperial Leisure are on an upwards incline. 2015 is going to be everything 2014 was - except a whole lot bigger and no doubt messier!