Illness can be a cruel beast, but the frontman of London-based Imperial Leisure has come back fighting after a gruelling but life-affirming twelve months and is ready to appear at this Saturday’s live music festival in Midsomer Norton, M-Fest.
Denis Smith, lead MC and vocalist with the alt-ska act, was forced to take some time out in 2016, following a cancer diagnosis. Just over a year later and he’s ready to release ’Animal’, the band’s latest single.
“I bounced back quite well, having stopped the cancer in its tracks in its early stages," reflects Denis. "Im feeling blessed now and it’s what spurred us on to set out on a free Christmas charity fundraising mission back in December."
Playing the streets of Bristol, Brighton and London, with the aim of saying thanks to fans who’d stood by them, despite a rake of gig cancellations, Denis and his bandmates’ mission was simple: raise vital funds for CALM and The Louise Hamilton Trust. The live, plugged-in ’guerrilla’ gigs encouraged passers-by to dig deep in the name of charity.
Back on track for 2017, the band is gearing up to release their new single, taken from their current album, Lifestyle Brand.
“We have plenty of other festivals in the pipeline too, says Denis. "I expected Imperial Leisure to have a busy twelve months, smashing it at summer festivals, with a few guerrilla gigs to keep things exciting. But 2017 looks set to be a corker, and we’re ready for it!"
Debuted in 2008, the band’s core member Denis, Scott Vining, Jack Emmings and Ben Bridges take their influences from a broad palate of acts, including Madness, Muse, Roots Manuva, Less Than Jake and Youngblood Brass Band.
You can catch them at M-Fest in Midsomer Norton High Street this Saturday from 8.30 p.m. - 9.30 p.m. where they will close the event.