Although he’s one of The Cumberland’s most talkative employees, many would be surprised by the amount of noise Andrew Thomson makes outside work.
As well as being a member of the Customer Care Team at our head office in Kingstown, Carlisle, he’s also a member of a touring rock band called Northshore.
Andrew reveals a little bit more about what he does when he’s not helping customers to start saving, move up the property ladder, or manage their finances.
Can you tell us a bit about your band, and how long have you been together?
“The band is based in Middlesbrough and we play alternative rock. I’ve been in Northshore for the past two years. We’ve played shows all over the place and alongside some pretty big bands like Funeral For A Friend and Neck Deep.”
How has lockdown affected Northshore’s progress?
“Things are starting to really come together for us, but lockdown has put a lot of things on hold for us. We all live in different places anyway, so a lot of our practicing is done via video link already.”
What have you missed the most about spending time together?
“It’s a great time to record and release music, but the live scene is what we’re all about, so it’s extremely frustrating not to be able to get out and play shows. All of my holidays for the year were booked around gigs, although I’m lucky that I’ve been able to get most of them back.”
How have you spent your time at home?
“I’ve been working full-time, because customer care never stopped for the lockdown. But we obviously haven’t been playing any shows or touring like we had planned to.
“Just before coronavirus we released our new single, Fairweather, and we recorded an acoustic version during the lockdown. It’s had a really good reaction online.
“We’re always writing at home too, and sharing ideas with each other.”
Aside from music, what are your other passions?
“I love gaming, and I used to work at Game. I’ve also been a professional actor too – I did a performing arts degree at the University of Cumbria, and then tried to do it full-time. I really enjoyed it, but it’s not stable work.
“I auditioned for Cilla with Bill Kenwright 10 times before getting a role in another musical – the cost really mounts up when you’re travelling down to London all the time just for auditions.”
How far do you think you can go with Northshore?
“The dream is eventually to play Leeds Festival or a headline show at the O2 in Newcastle, with the fans singing the words back to us.
“We’ve had some big gigs in the city already and we’re using this time to get better and refine ourselves, so we’re on the right track.”
What’s it been like working at The Cumberland during the lockdown?
“At its peak, we were dealing with hundreds of calls and in many cases I think people really appreciated that they could get to speak with somebody who could guide them through their options.
“Some of the calls have been quite harrowing to deal with. It’s not just about people saying ‘I’m not going to make my mortgage payment’, but also ‘I’m no longer employed and not sure how I’m going to feed my kids next week.
“It has been a big Cumberland team effort, but we managed to help everyone.”
What do you like about working at the Cumberland?
“We’re all friends in the contact team and support each other. They don’t complain too much when I keep talking about my music and a few of them have come along to see the band.”