New Zealand indie act Leisure release their new album, 'Twister', 26 July.
If there’s one band that operates on the very premise of their name, it’s Leisure.
The Auckland-based group was founded several years ago when five mates with successful, creative endeavours of their own took a beach holiday and returned with the bare bones of their first album.
Three years on from the release of their debut album, the band are set to drop their sophomore record 'Twister' at the end of July – and their laidback ethos has never been stronger.
'Twister' encompasses a variety of influences stemming from each member’s versatile taste in music. Everything from '70s funk, '90s R&B, synth-pop, soul, psychedelia and early 2000s dance sounds shift and evolve from track to track, driven by the band’s tight harmonies and feel-good, summery vibes.
When speaking about the album, it’s evident to see Leisure are as much about their democratic structure as they are about their versatile approach to songwriting – and it’s this very dynamic that facilitates a liberating creative process free of rules and labels.
“One of the most important things for us is to continue doing music and not have any boundaries,” states band member Jordan Arts.
“We’re at a point now where we’ll make a song and not have to excuse ourselves for it sounding a certain way. I think that’s a really awesome place to be because it pushes us to make music for the sake of music, and it sounds like Leisure.”
As such, the development of their second album has been slower and more meditative than their self-titled debut. According to Arts, the group never had the intention of “being anything” before their ten-day-long jam session all those years ago.
“One thing we’ve been doing for the second record is fighting it a bit and going, ‘how can we freshen it up to make sure we’re pushing ourselves creatively and really enjoying the stuff we make?’. It’s been this amazing process of getting to the point of loving each song and as soon as we can do that, it ends up being on the record.”
Jordan emphasises that this approach couldn’t have been possible without the perfect configuration of personality between the five-piece and ultimately, a relinquishing of ego. Even though each member of the band is an established musician, songwriter or producer in their own right, there’s no possessiveness or dominance during the creative process.
As a result, the band takes a non-traditional approach to playing together, with no member being tied down to an instrument and instead experimenting with whatever feels right for a particular track.
“Something you learn growing up in bands even through your teens [is] that there’s a certain magnetism to be better than your bandmate or come up with better ideas. With us, everything is very equal, very complementary. That’s something we don’t have to worry about, so now we can just get on with making music – and it’s so nice to do that.”
“I don’t think any of us have that rock-star attitude,” fellow band member Tom Young agrees. “We’re all kind of nerds.”
Leisure, who will embark on an Australian tour in September, have no grand plans for the future of the band – aside from continuing to enjoy themselves and the process of creation, of course. “[The name] Leisure really encompasses what we’re all about in its simplest form,” Jordan says.
“And I hope it’s something we can just continue to do, right into us being old dudes. Making cool sh.t and letting it go a bit.”
'Twister' is released 26 July.
Leisure 2019 Tour Dates
Fri 13 Sep - Jack Rabbit Slim's (Perth) Sat 14 Sep - Rocket Bar & Rooftop (Adelaide) Thu 19 Sep - The Brightside (Brisbane) Fri 20 Sep - The Corner Hotel (Melbourne) Sat 21 Sep - Oxford Art Factory (Sydney)