A fresh sea breeze blows by, waves roll in, and the view stretches across the water all the way to the horizon. As the sun crosses the sky, shifting shadows from one room to the next, cold drinks quench that summer thirst, good times are had, and the world seems full of possibility.
It may sound romanticised, but that’s the idyllic atmosphere in which LEISURE was born. And that’s the golden groove you hear in every song created by this unusual New Zealand band.
Five guys who’d been writing songs and producing records in various guises for many years, they were looking for a new creative outlet unconstrained by over-thinking, over-planning, and excessive control.
They decided to head to a wild, wide-open beach on Auckland’s west coast for a spur-of-the-moment holiday, and being keen musicians, they took enough gear to set up three different make-shift recording rooms. It was about creating their own ideal music-making world, and then letting it flow.
The result surprised them. Without any agenda, or any forethought for sharing this new music with the public, in seven days they’d come up with a set of songs that made them think “Holy shit, this is awesome.”
Of course that might’ve been the end of the story, because, let’s face it, everyone has made some sort of awesome piece of art on holiday, only to come home and realise that it’s not that crash hot.
Except when they posted their first track ‘Got It Bad’ on Soundcloud in April 2015, people couldn’t stop listening.
No matter that it was simply an enigmatic thumbnail, and a song by a mysterious new artist, there were clearly plenty of people out there who’d been waiting to embrace the LEISURE ethos.
It went viral, crossing the globe and seducing fans with its funked up, psychedelic, blissed out homage to laid-back pleasure.
It seems their highly-democratic band structure, where everyone can play whichever instrument they like, add vocals whenever the mood takes them, and each member has an equal voice, produced some gold dust.
This unusual melting-pot of contributions means LEISURE is greater than the sum of its parts, each member bringing different influences from 70s funk, to 90s rap and R&B, all the way to dance music from the early 2000s. Each member also brings a different skill set – strong pop song writing sensibilities, experimental production techniques, and the talent to mix and master their own work.
The five-piece continue to garner attention. Bloggers love them; they’ve had more than 20 million streams across their tracks so far, they’ve signed with Saiko Management and their self-titled debut album release was critically acclaimed.
If their expectations had initially been small, their horizon is now adjusting accordingly, as fans worldwide continue to connect with their manifesto of living the good life, and their over-riding code to “keep things LEISURE”.