Q&A with Schmercuries nominee Nick Hemming of The Leisure Society

Over the coming weeks FFS will be submitting the same set of questions to the Schmercury nominees. Today, Nick Hemming answers on behalf of The Leisure Society, who are nominated for their debut album The Sleeper.

Congratulations, you’ve been nominated for a Schmercury. How do you feel?
I’m incredibly grateful thank you very much. It’s always nice to be recognised & to know that people are really listening.

What did you think of the Mercuries list this year?
Hmmm… I’m not particularly enthused by the list, but that’s probably just sour grapes as we didn’t get a mention.

Aside from your own, what’s your favourite album on the Schmercuries list?
There are some amazing albums on your list – Alessi‘s album is truly beautiful. Emmy The Great is, well, great. I really like Camera Obscura. We stumbled across Wildbirds & Peacedrums at this year’s Big Chill Festival we were all utterly blown away. 

What album (released this year) have we missed off the list?  
I think my favourite album of the year so far is probably Animal CollectiveMerriweather Post Pavilion

What d’you think about panel prizes vs voted for by the fans?
They both have pros & cons. It’s so difficult to judge music as it’s largely objective… one man’s Shabba Ranks is another man’s Shostakovich. 

What are your thoughts about the album?
It took a long time to get it together as I was working full-time & playing in 6 bands! It sprawled over three years and there were moments when I thought it was going to be really magical & moments when I thought we were wasting our time. I struggle to listen to my own songs as I’m never completely happy. The reaction we got was fantastic, to hear people who I really respect – Marc Riley, Guy Garvey & Mark Radcliffe – championing it was very special. 

What’s your favourite song on the album?
It changes all the time. I love playing ‘A Matter Of Time’ live but as a listening experience ‘We Were Wasted’ is possibly the one I’m most content with at he moment.

We’re pretty passionate about the album as a format. Do you think you would ever eschew albums in favour of releasing a series of digital tracks as and when?
I think the album format is really important. It shows where a band are at any given period. Leaking odd tracks here and there, rather than working towards a complete cohesive package of work, kind of makes music more disposable. Long live the album say I. 

What’s your favourite album ever?
Again, it constantly changes but The Who— Quadrophenia would definitely be up there, as would The Beach Boys — 20/20, Joni Mitchell — Ladies Of The Canyon, Nick Drake — Five Leaves Left, Neil Young — After The Goldrush. I could go on and on… 

If we had all the money in the world to spend on an actual prize for the winning band, what would you like it to be?
A luxury yacht to transport the band to gigs. After taking off into a Latvian thunderstorm recently I have developed a dreadful fear of flying.