Auckland’s LEISURE discuss their new single, upcoming album, and the return of live music in New Zealand

Auckland-based indie band LEISURE invites you to sit back and relax with their chill and vivid tunes.

Filled with slick guitar riffs and luscious vocals, the band fuses together elements of soul, RnB, and pop that’s infectious enough to have you grooving along. With over a million monthly listeners on Spotify, it’s easy to understand why the slow-paced band has attracted a worldwide audience — their tracks are easy to vibe to and put a smile on your face. Most recently, the band dropped ‘Slipping Away,’ an effortless and breezy track that reminds us to be more present and mindful. Whilst the word is chaotic and face-paced, LEISURE is all about slowing down and enjoying the little moments.

We sat down one of the band’s five members, Jaden Parkes, to discuss their latest single, upcoming third album, and the future of live music in New Zealand.

We’re loving your latest single, ‘Slipping Away.’ What inspired it? 

We wanted to write something that you could put on to brighten the mood and put a smile on people’s faces, something that works at sunrise and sunset, for a day to escape the city or the beginning of a great night out.

The track’s core is the guitar riff, what was the songwriting and recording process like?

The song started with the guitar riff, which is something we don’t usually do. The boys built the groove around it and it all came together very naturally. Once I had the verse down Jordan jumped up with the chorus idea and the takes on the recording are the first few he put down for the demo, he had worked it all out in his dome with a Coruba and coke in hand.

The track is about trying to be better and more present for others, was there a specific moment that inspired the track?

Lyrically, we often let our subconscious take over and let the feel of the music bring out certain words and themes, this happened during the writing of the melody for the verses. Often, I find myself looking back on when I was younger and how I acted in certain relationships and ‘Slipping Away’ is about trying not to slip into past behaviour and like you said being present and better.

You’re working on a third album, congrats! What can fans expect?

Bigger groove moments to fill a room to more intimate bedroom style productions keeping it all Leisure as we go.

What albums and artists are you drawn to these days? 

In any genre, I’m always drawn to artists being genuine to themselves and extending their personalities, friendships, and lifestyles into what they create when there’s a consideration and thought gone into all the details of not only the music but also its presentation. I get inspired not only to listen and follow the journey but also to create myself. It’s very transparent these days which artists are in it for the right reasons and where the intentions are at, so I tend to gravitate to the truth and to creative people no matter what style of music. Some albums I’ve been listening to a lot are Helado Negro’s This is How You Smile, Tommy Guerrero’s Road to Knowhere, [and] Lord Echo’s Harmonies.

As your Twitter once stated, your music fits on a “café stoner” playlist. How did you find your effortlessly groovy sound?

I think this comes from the environment of where we make music and also the intention, we do most of our writing in our downtime coming together as friends to relax and be creative.

New Zealand had a strict but super effective lockdown. Did isolation spark any song ideas?

We started off sharing ideas and finalising mixes. Though, as time went on, we dropped off and didn’t really do much, as soon as it felt forced we relaxed and found other outlets to pass the time. Leisure is all about coming together and making the music as one so it wasn’t ideal for how we work at our best, though we feel very lucky to be out in the world and booking shows again.

Were there any challenges that you faced as a band during lockdown?

It was different for everyone in the band depending on work and family scenarios, it was hard to get your head around it all, though for us we are lucky to be in a great country and set up so we weren’t as affected as a lot of people, we allowed ourselves to slow down for a bit and it helped us realise how lucky we are to do what we do and made us excited for the future.

Gigs are starting to happen again in New Zealand, do you have any shows planned? 

We have booked a bunch of shows. Some of our own and some festivals which we’re really looking forward to, especially to play new songs and reconnect with our friends and audience.

What can fans expect from a live show?

Now we’re onto our third album we have a lot more songs to choose from, it’s going to be exciting to play new music and our favourites from the last two records. We’re putting together a more dynamic show, adding more visual elements, we always try to make the shows as fun as possible and create a welcoming vibe to come along, sing and connect with your friends and music.

What’re you most looking forward to accomplishing for the rest of the year?

Doing more writing trips with the team and playing shows and travelling around our beautiful country meeting new people!! Stay tuned!

Author avatar
Caroline Edwards

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