The five members of Leisure are living up to their name. They tell Chris Schulz about their laidback approach to music.

Jaden Parkes takes a sip of his Bloody Mary, lets out an exasperated sigh and says: "Everyone needs to chill out".

"Seriously, 2016, it's crazy ... it's just too much, man," he says.

It's a quip that makes Jordan Arts - Parkes' band mate who is sitting beside him at an inner-city Auckland pub - burst into laughter.

He's cracking up because they're both in a band called Leisure, an acclaimed but slightly mysterious Auckland-based five-piece that releases its self-titled debut album today.


Full of funked-up summer tunes like Take It To the Top and Hot Love in a style Arts describes as "blue-eyed soul psych-pop," it's perfect for soundtracking a sun-drenched Sunday at the beach.

And that's exactly where the band makes its music, starting with a weekend getaway at Muriwai in early 2015 organised by Parkes that resulted in nine completed songs - including Got It Bad, their first single that became an instant hit.

"I had been thinking about doing some music again for myself and I just asked all the boys if they wanted to come out. We were just having so much fun. It was sunny all day, every day, perfect sunsets every night. Everyone got on really well, everyone was having such a good time, it felt like you were on holiday."

Yes, Leisure might be their band name, but it's also their belief system and chilling out is exactly what they like to do. They make their music at their own pace, refuse to overexpose themselves, rarely tour and keep outside influences to a minimum.

They don't stress the small stuff, or the big stuff, says Parkes.

"We're not in a rush to do anything. The goal is not to become this big famous band," he says. "We want to keep on doing what we're doing for as long as we can, and have control over what we're doing."

That laid back approach sees the band - Parkes, Arts, Tom Young, Djeisan Suskov and Josh Fountain - fit music-making in around their personal lives and day jobs.

It is, in part, a reaction of Parkes' and Arts' previous experiences in the music industry: Parkes was drummer for fiery pop-punkers Goodnight Nurse, while Arts was one half of upbeat pop duo Kids of 88.

"When you know the reality of how it all works, there's a lot of bullshit, there's a lot of smoke and mirrors, talking up to get you excited," says Parkes.

"We've been there, we know the realities of it ... The main thing is to keep it exciting and fun for us, and in order to do that you've got to protect yourself from those external things."

Along with a short overseas showcase, they've only played three New Zealand shows. Tonight's album launch at Crystal Palace in Auckland will be just their fourth.

Yes, Leisure are taking their sweet time doing things. In fact, they're already planning their next weekend away - and it might not involve any kind of music making.

"We just sit around and hang out. It's cool. It's a good time," says Parkes. "(We're) just keeping everything leisure."

Who: Jaden Parkes and Jordan Arts from Auckland five-piece Leisure
What: Debut self-titled album, released today
Live: Album launch party tonight at Crystal Palace in Auckland
Also: Performing at Wellington's Meow on Sunday