IN CONVERSATION WITH LEISURE
Leisure, the soul-electronic collective from Auckland, takes us on a journey with their latest album, “Leisurevision,” a kaleidoscopic exploration of the human experience. Originating from a spontaneous holiday on New Zealand’s west coast, the band formed in 2015 with a vision to cut through the music industry’s noise and keep it leisurely. Their distinctive sound, a blend of soul, R&B, and pop, draws inspiration from diverse eras, evident in the lush guitar signature heard across their discography. “Leisurevision” explores themes ranging from the trials of parenthood in ‘Back In Love’ to the overwhelming pace of modern life in ‘Too Much.’ As they embark on a US tour, Leisure continues to carve its path in the ever-evolving music landscape, staying true to their ethos and trusting their creative instincts.
In this conversation, together with band member Jaden, we delved into Leisure’s formation, the inspiration behind their distinctive sound and latest album “Leisurevision,” how the band balances fun and success in their creative journey, and much more.
Can you tell me about the origin story of Leisure and how you came together to form the band during that spontaneous holiday on the West Coast of Auckland?
I had an idea to get a bunch of friends who I’d met through my years involved in music to get together for 8 days over the summer holiday break. I emailed the guys saying I’d cover an Airbnb and cook some nice food if they wanted to come out to hang and make tunes. There was no other agenda other than have a relaxing time making music and see what happens.
Leisure has a unique blend of soul, R&B, and pop. How do you draw inspiration from different eras and genres to create your distinctive sound?
“One thing we all have in common is the respect for classic songwriting and respecting the process that works for us.”
I think naturally each member has their own influences and brings them to the table though from the beginning it worked in a way where we leave room for each other’s ideas and remain open. One thing we all have in common is the respect for classic songwriting and respecting the process that works for us.
Your latest album, “Leisurevision,” is described as navigating the human experience. Can you elaborate on the themes and inspiration behind the album?
With “Leisurevision” it felt like after making 3 albums we had found a confidence and rhythm with what we were doing. We had been a little more ‘let’s see what happens’ in the past so making plans and having a vision for the future and what we wanted to achieve felt exciting. We were also establishing young families and relationships which were core fundamentals for creativity and having common ground to explore lyrically.
How do you personally view “Leisurevision” in the context of your individual music careers and the evolution of the band?
For me the most important element is that the energy and excitement for creating is stronger than it’s ever been, which I think comes from us growing closer as friends and being able to enjoy the experiences and memories that this music has given us.
With each member having established themselves in the music industry, how do you combine your individual talents and experiences to create music as a supergroup?
We each have our own strengths and weaknesses so we lean on each other to navigate getting the best songs we can. Self awareness and keeping things ego free is the key. I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who I’m a fan of and all the guys have such special and unique skills that I love and learn from. I think we’ve all learnt a lot from each other and take that back into our individual pursuits.
How was the start of your US tour for you and what does touring in the US mean to you?
The tour has been amazing, it’s surreal almost to be so far from home and to sell out shows and connect with likeminded people. It feels like a new chapter has started and doors are opening.
How has the music industry evolved since each of you first began your careers, and how does Leisure fit into the contemporary music landscape?
“There’s been a lot of change and the evolution seems to be faster than ever at the moment.”
Where to start (laughs). Yes, there’s been a lot of change and the evolution seems to be faster than ever at the moment. I think what has worked for us is remaining consistent to our ethos and trusting our gut. There can be a lot of external factors that can easily set you off course. We love that through our early days of blogs/soundcloud and the growth of streaming we’ve been able to find people all over the world whose entry point is discovering the music.
Are there any specific tracks from your albums that hold a special significance for the band, and can you share the stories behind them?
‘Got It Bad’ will always hold a place in our hearts as it started it all and has all the elements that have become important to the Leisure sound over the years, we still love playing it live.
‘Slipping Away’ felt like we had captured something new and special, like the sun had come out again. From writing through to releasing and playing it live it all just felt right so for it to connect in the same way with the audience was a boost to feeling we’re on the right track.
As a group of friends who came together to enjoy the creative process, how do you maintain a sense of leisure and fun while pursuing a successful music career?
It’s all communication and respect. Finding the balance and putting our friendship and family first.
Looking beyond your recent album release and your tour, are there any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
We’ve started writing new music and will be doing more festivals so next year will be all systems go!