25 Jan Leisure
Since their first single release in 2015, Leisure has had over 75 million streams and a handful of sold-out international concerts. Jaden Parkes sat down with Josie Adams to talk about the secret of success: leisure time.
Leisure is made up of the New Zealand music industry’s shining stars, and its quiet heroes. They’re writers, producers, video editors, solo artists, and members of huge Kiwi bands: Goodnight Nurse, Kids of 88, Kidz In Space. As individuals, they’ve worked with acts like Benee, Maala, Bailey Wiley, and Openside.
Together, the five band members are almost effortless in their world-beating performances. Jaden Parkes, who was once a member of pop-punk group Goodnight Nurse and now works in A&R at Sony, was the guy who pulled the gang together.
He rented an Airbnb in Muriwai toward the end of 2014, and started reaching out to the people who would become Leisure. “I started seeding the idea of some guys coming out, bringing their gear, and working on some songs,” he explains. “We recorded the songs with no real intention of being anything. It was a jam sesh. Just a holiday break. We were out there for like, seven days, and now… this.”
In a beach house on the edge of a cliff, they found a sound and a style that would last. After playing around and recording 13 songs, they sent ‘Got It Bad’ out into the world, for the thrill of it. It went viral.
Four years later, the supergroup’s second album is dropping and a nationwide tour is beginning. They’ve already done the international circuit. “On our last trip, we basically went where we were getting the most streams online, and hoped that it would equal ticket sales,” Parkes says. Their hopes panned out. “We went to London, Berlin, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney.”
Leisure’s music is well suited to these global music hotspots. Its funk-inspired, 90s-influenced rhythms have slick vocals and electronic inserts perfect for an afternoon DJ set on a Berlin rooftop. The new album, Twister, expands on their first by throwing in snippets of the few genres the first album skipped. Each song still has groove, soul, and light; but occasionally the darker wail of an electric guitar or the pulse of a deeper drum will drift over the luxurious melodies. You can dance to this album deep into the evening or doze off to it in the middle of a swimming pool.