Having steadily built support since touring with Girls in April 2010, Leisure have just released their debut album Plastic Soul, so now feels like the perfect time to introduce the Massachusetts duo to you.
Coming across like a woozier MGMT - first album in particular - Plastic Soul is eight tracks of smoothly produced, shoegaze-esque pop/rock with smatterings of darkness about it. With standouts including the punchy 'Outside These Walls', the lush title track - which you can hear below - with its low-key background dubstep beats, and 'The Invisible Hand', all sharp hooks and choral backing, Plastic Soul is well worth a listen for anyone hankering for something new - especially with three of its tracks available for download for their SoundCloud (see link at the bottom) as tasters.
With appetites sated, we spoke to lead singer Jed Rouhana to find out more.
What's your earliest musical memory?
Probably hearing tapes of Arab folk singers in my dad's car. That was probably the only music I really listened to with any frequency, until I was about six or seven. I also remember a friend of the family giving me her used Casio keyboard, which I started to make little compositions on around that age. My parents weren't big pop aficionados or anything, and they didn't have a very big record collection - it was mostly Arabic Folk and Classical.
I also remember playing a game with a friend when I was really young, where we'd tape the pop radio stations and memorise the songs, and then listen to the radio and compete over who had memorised more of the songs that played. It was fun.
If you could hold a recording session with any five artists, who would you choose?
Hmm... PJ Harvey, Nina Simone, Kanye West, Diplo, Nile Rogers.
You want to describe your music to a stranger on the street, who do you compare yourself to?
I don't think I've ever done that, but maybe I should start. Maybe that's the key to success! Approaching random people and comparing yourself to Bruno Mars.
You are going to live on a desert island for a year, which three albums do you take with you?
Bob Dylan - Live At the Royal Albert Hall 1966, Brian Eno and David Byrne - My Life In The Bush of Ghosts, Gil Scott Heron and Jamie XX - We're New Here.
Everyone has a defining music moment, one that lives on in the memory, what is yours?
Probably writing our song 'It's Alright (On The Suez Canal)'. Before that I don't think I'd ever written anything that I was actually satisfied with. I feel like as a songwriter you spend a lot of time writing lots of garbage songs, in order to get to the point where you can write one good one. That song just felt markedly different than anything I'd written before, and gave me the confidence that if I kept writing, more songs that I felt good about would just happen. The best songs feel like they existed in your head before you even wrote them, and all you did was discover them.
What is the best gig you've ever been to and why?
Maybe The Strokes in the early 2000's touring Is This It? I think it was their second American tour and the amount of energy and excitement around the band just created a special environment in the venue. It was one of the last times in recent memory that a four or five piece rock band really captured the imagination of a generation, although that moment ended up being pretty brief.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Most likely in a studio somewhere making records.
If we were to look at your MP3 player, what is the most embarrassing track or album that we'd find?
I don't know, it feels like nothing is embarrassing anymore.
How would you sell your debut album Plastic Soul to us?
Digitally, via iTunes or Spotify.
Any lessons learnt making this album that you'll take onto your next album?
Yes. Focus less on production and instead just worry about capturing the moment as it happens. Because this was our first album, and we self-produced it, it was the first time we were confronted with every little step of the music making process. So there can be a tendency to think things are important when they really aren't - but you only realise that later. In general, I find process and ideas about process boring. What I'm interested in is ideas, inspiration and performance.
Leisure's debut album Plastic Soul is out now, available digitally on iTunes/Spotify and other outlets via the Orchard. To find out more, visit Leisure's official website and to download three tracks, visit their SoundCloud