The Tenmours are an activist rock band from Yorkshire, UK. Known for forging their following through years of busking original music on UK streets; they went on to perform at the prestigious Leeds Festival Alternative stage, innovate a cutting edge zero carbon touring plan known as ‘Tour Zero’, collaborate on the song ‘Superstar’ for the Beijing Winter Olympics, perform an exclusive of their single ‘Norway Song’ on Cop26tv, and collaborate on enriching their local creative communities.
Formation | Name
Formed in 2013, Alex Johnston-Seymour and Ross Tennant met at the Leeds College of Music studying on the pop BTEC course. The name is an amalgamation of their surnames 'TENnant' and 'seyMOUR' becoming 'Tenmours'. There was discussion of a similarity in sound to the Yorkshire moors which was deliberate. The unique young duo quickly began to make a name for themselves on the live music circuit in Yorkshire and Cumbria, as well as appearing on a number of BBC Introducing shows. This culminated in the release of their debut EP with Lake District label Watermark-Music titled 'A Poet's Heart’.
Early Career & Busking
In 2015 Adam Hopkins joined the band, being thrust straight into rigorous busking tours and gigs. Being able to play almost everything and a growing talent for composing; Adam was fantastic on Cajon and backing vocals on the street, and a master of piano at concerts. In 2017 they stormed the live scene embarking on three epic busking tours, commanding street audiences and engaging fans in live streams, being championed by the UK's most important busker Jonny Walker. Alex made his living as a solo blues busker on Leeds streets for years to come, notably having his career featured in the Abbey House Museum exhibition 'Sounds Of Our City'.
2017 proved a momentous year for the band, boasting performances at numerous festivals and concerts with the likes of Jon Gomm, Shelagh McDonald, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Maddy Prior, topped off with several of their own showcase concerts such as their sold-out show at Leeds Conservatoire.
At this point the band were under pressure to sign a large record deal and their careers were having an unhealthy impact on their degrees, a consequence of which led to Ross Tennant permanently leaving the band. He subsequently achieved a first in his degree, and now works as a fantastic music teacher.
Talented classical singer and violinist Olivia Duffin joined the band in 2018 as they successfully crowdfunded and released their second EP ‘Maze’ which was followed by a summer of gigs, concerts & festivals; notably performing on the main stage of Music on The Marr Festival.
“MAZE is a veritable tour-de-force! The Tenmours have delivered once again with another deluxe listening experience" - Shelagh McDonald.
“Brave, powerful and sonically pleasing. This is going on my heavy rotation list. Watch out for them.” - Steven Heath
“It’s so rock!” - Jon Gomm
“The Tenmours are easily one of the best bands I’ve EVER seen live” - Simon Johnson (Iglu Music)
The band worked with roughly 10 different members between 2017 and 2023, the publicised ones are listed below:
Ross Tennant | 2013 - 2017
Olivia Duffin | 2018
Aninka Rosa | 2018 - 2021
Lara Wassenberg | 2018
Osian Gruffydd | 2019 - 2021
On visiting his Norwegian family in 2018, Alex was struck by the scale of deforestation and the lack of sea-life. This lead to Alex writing 'Norway Song'. Returning to Leeds, Alex sought out prominent Leeds figure Lewis Hemingway who was an event organiser for Extinction Rebellion at the time. Unsurprisingly, Adam and Alex instantly transferred to vegan diets as they were quickly inspired by young activists and were increasingly involved in large climate protest events. The first of which was their debut performance on the Leeds Festival Alternative Stage accompanied by the Extinction Rebellion Orchestra, a seismic opportunity that was captured in their second music video release 'Lady of Gold'. Watch here. This surge of activist driven success marked the start of an epic 18 date UK winter tour with their new manager Mark Kelly.
Tour Zero & Covid19
2019 was a significant formative time for The Tenmours; Alex and Adam were suddenly very concerned about their carbon footprint, climate ethics and the scale of their efforts to improve.
Inspired by his fathers expedition to Cape Horn in the 1980s, Alex proposed an idea to complete their next tour with zero emissions. This idea worked among their team soon became a fully formed plan that had started to be booked. Briefly, it involved the invention of an electric pedal-car / bike vehicle with a company in York and the Netherlands. This would allow them to travel across land and board one of the rare zero emission yachts to the continent, then embarking on a three month tour of Europe, joining Italian rock band 'Sbandau' on their tour of Italy, and a further support tour with a group in Greece. 'Tour Zero' as it was called was stopped in its tracks by the pandemic and has not yet been accomplished.
As the pandemic kicked in Alex became a student of world renowned Carnatic guru Dr Jyotsna Srikanth MBE whilst also working as a remote music teacher. Alex, Adam & Osian produced two releases during the pandemic: their much loved song 'Elise', and their first soundtrack to great British poem 'The Highwayman' read by Grassington actor John Anderson. Watch here.
During this time Alex met rising environmental star cellist and singer songwriter Sarah Smout. The two became engaged in October 2023 and are still together.
A new era emerges
In 2021 The Tenmours released 'Norway Song', unveiling a transition to their rock and prog roots. This was followed by a request for an exclusive live video of Norway Song for Cop26tv, showcasing activist music to coincide with the historic Glasgow summit. Watch here.
Alex joined Strada Music International Ltd as their marketing officer whilst embarking on a masters in composition at Leeds Conservatoire. Adam started working for People First, a charity for people with learning disabilities, transforming their podcast and being nominated for awards. Adam also joined the John Palmer Acoustic Band and has been a valued member, noticeably bringing the bands tightness and vocal arrangements to new hights.
At a time when the band weren't performing, they went on writing retreats, kept up with weekly music sessions, writing and recording lots of music. They headlined a concert in their hometown of Skipton to support the debut of the Craven Music Match talent scheme lead by Sarah Smout. In February 2022, China's national television reached out to Alex to create a song for a short documentary being featured during the Beijing Winter Olympics. Assembling a team of collaborators with only four days to complete the task, the finished song 'Superstar' and video is a high energy rock anthem showing The Tenmours in their heavier elements. Listen here.
Armed with a plethora of new and exciting material, Alex and Adam recruited a different type of third member in the form of David Bullock on bass guitar. Drawn to the bands originality and songwriting flare, David could sink his teeth into Adam and Alex's project.
The Big One Nov2022 - Apr2023
Ready to burst onto the scene, Alex saw an opportunity to become a lead programmer for the largest climate protest in UK history working for Extinction Rebellion. What followed was four months of full time planning, all the while knowing that it would be a huge opportunity for The Tenmours. In April, along with some of the biggest names in UK activism such as Greenpeace, Just Stop Oil, Music Declares Emergency and Chris Packham, The Tenmours performed on the main stage of the highly televised 4 day protest outside the Houses of Parliament. Watch their performance.
Following a surge in activist related press and publicity, Alex, Adam and David released 'Eco Freak' 11/08/23. This alternative, full sounding prog rock single flaunted the bands views about the meat and dairy industries, and about the travel industries; the artwork featuring upcycled trousers custom made by highly respected Skipton artist Joan Murray.
Written during Alex's MA, the unreleased 'Ukraine Song' quickly gathered support from The Tenmours community, being picked up by the biggest European music contest for emerging artists called Tour Music Fest (European Music Contest). Having made and impression to the judges, Alex was invited to perform Ukraine Song at the live auditions at the nearest available city which was Berlin. In preparation for Berlin, Alex invited local Ukrainian refugees to his house to sign his outfit and to play them his song. Coincidently, TMF called Alex on Zoom while he was performing the song to a large group of Ukrainians.
Alex's performance in Berlin was obviously well received and he was announced as the UK's single representative finalist against a competition of thousands.
Up to date
“We thank you for reading our story. We hope you find a connection with what we have to say and express; and that we meet you someday out on the road.”