The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

The creative space: Leisure Theory

Ellie Tivey speaks to new Manchester band, Leisure Theory


Given that this was my first time interviewing a band, it seems only right that it was set against the backdrop of one of Manchester’s innumerable ‘hipster’ bars. Complete with exposed wooden floor and wonderfully moustachioed bartender, the effortlessly cool aesthetic Leisure Theory present was complete.

Comprised of students Jake Smith, Tom Wynne, and Quentin Wylie, Leisure Theory are tackling the Manchester music scene with an entirely new approach.

Jake Smith, who Wylie describes as the ‘brainchild’ behind Leisure Theory, has spent the last two and a half years writing their music in his bedroom. After meeting at an Everything Everything gig in Manchester last year, Smith and Wynne bonded over their shared music taste and decided to start a band.

In their search for a frontman and lyricist, they came across Wylie, who grew up in the same Irish town as Smith. Having come from a more folk/acoustic background, Wylie was allowed to put his own stamp on Smith’s music. “It was pretty intimidating”, he says, “Jake’s’ music was so good, I really didn’t want to step on his toes!”

As they stated, music in Manchester can get quite ‘clique-y’ depending on the genre of the artists. Leisure Theory are self-proclaimed outliers, ‘we don’t really know what genre we are’. They present a refreshing combination of 80s inspired tracks mixed with folk-esque lyrics resulting in what Smith describes as ‘if New Order had hopped in a time machine to 2018’.

Photo: Ellie Tivey

Photo: Ellie Tivey

They decided to release their music before immersing themselves in live gigs so they could approach Manchester’s music community with a ‘fully established’ sound. ‘If you go to most gigs these days they can sometimes get a bit boring’, says Wylie. ‘The Courteeners, Oasis’, agrees Smith, ‘there are so many bands like that, we wanted to bring something new’.

With Wynne as a student of Popular Music at Salford University, the boys have had unfettered access to Salford’s fully kitted out recording and rehearsing studios. Smith remembers his wonder when first in the studio, having exclusively used his eight-track recorder to create up until then.

‘He gets pretty excited around the kit, says Wynne, ‘at one point I left him alone for a couple of minutes, when I came back he’d accidentally deleted a couple of songs!’ Overcoming their inter-uni conflicting schedules, the boys get together to rehearse as much as possible. ‘I can’t stop smiling when we rehearse’, says Smith, ‘I just can’t believe it all started in my bedroom!’

Leisure Theory’s debut single, Gambler, goes out on all major online music platforms on 30th March, so keep an eye out for them. And, as Wynne said, they have a ‘back catalogue of music’ just waiting to be released, so they’re not going anywhere anytime soon!