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Q&A with Adult Leisure

Adult Leisure

Adult Leisure is a melodic alt-indie four-piece from Bristol whose new EP, Present State Of Joy And Grief is out now. The band came together to form Adult Leisure following a thirst to create during the pandemic, formed via countless video calls during the heart of 2020’s UK lockdown.

Their critically acclaimed debut EP The Weekend Ritual was released in December of 2022, and we called it out as one of our favorites in our Friday Release Picks playlist. The album was also championed by the likes of BBC Radio 1, Variance Magazine, The Independent, and RTE which quickly saw the band embark on multiple tours throughout the UK earning a handful of rave live reviews along the way.

Discussing the EP, the band stated: “When we began working on what would become Present State, we set out to create a cohesive body of work that felt true to the band we are now and the place that we’re at in our lives. Lathered in waves of self reflection and acceptance of life’s heavy hands, our sophomore EP is drenched in honesty, whilst full of groove and fury in equal measure.”

Adult Leisure / Present State Of Joy And Grief

How did you all meet?

We all knew each other and of each other for a good ten years before our former projects came to a close. After we all took some time out, a brief text from Neil Scott fell into Nathan Searle’s lap, with the simple phrase of “Me, Dave and James are thinking about doing something again, fancy it?” And that was it, 3/4 rehearsals before going into lockdown, a discussion about a band name and what we wanted to write, Adult Leisure was born. The thirst to create after the time out for all of us was far too strong to deny.

You formed during lockdown over video calls. This story isn’t too unusual, but typically we see it for solo artists. What was it like trying to figure that process out as a four-piece band?

We are very lucky in that our writing process lends itself well to creating when apart. We decided that if we were going to do this, we were going to do it the right way with sufficient material and content, we weren’t going to just release a tune and have none of the other minerals required to build a connection with listeners. Zoom calls were our main method of writing, and believe it or not the drums for our first ever single were recorded on Nath’s electric drum kit after not being able to get into the studio because of lockdown. Learning how to edit photos and videos ourselves played a big part in growing our online presence at a time when it was so important, still is now.

How do you think your music has changed since then?

Our sound has taken on another level of maturity with this EP, combined with the fact that we aren’t writing music to fit a mould, we’re writing exactly what we want to write. We’re all massive fans of bands like The Cure, Talking Heads and The Smiths but we’re also very consciously aware of the ever evolving modern sound that produces a more DIY outcome. We try to be somewhere in between, which in turn broadens our audience spectrum and sometimes, finds gig promoters struggling to find a bill for us because we are so different to everything else that is going on right now. Everyone is post punk, we’re not. What is your writing process like now?

We’re incredibly lucky to have a top level song writer in our fold in that of our guitarist Dave Woolford, with Neil working with Dave to tell that story lyrically and all of us having input in what then goes on to become the finished article. Our writing process we would say is very unique and involves an almost demo being recorded and sent over prior to us even being in the rehearsal room working on it. It means we can go into the rehearsal space with an almost fully polished idea, we just need to fine tune it, because of this we can be very productive and it leaves us sat on a tonne of material which we can’t wait to show everyone.

Adult Leisure

With your new EP, Present State of Joy and Grief, you wanted to create a cohesive and self-reflective set of songs. Can you tell us a bit more about how it came together? Were there songs you wrote that ultimately didn’t fit in and were left out?

In all honesty, our last EP was a great introduction to who we were as a band, a nod to things to come but more or less the best songs we had at the time. This was more thought out, we wanted to lean into the sound that was coming through in our rehearsals and once one or two songs came together, the rest of what became Present fell in place. There’s drivey-gothy-yet-grooviness to Present State that has became wholeheartedly us and when it came to the storytelling, we wanted to be honest and let people in through the door with a heavy heart and a chance to let it all out from the start of the record to the end. In regards to anything that didn’t make the cut, yeah f’sure; demos we loooove and just couldn’t find that missing piece or demos that just came about a little too late.. but no doubt you’ll hear them at some point! Do you have a favorite song on the EP? If you do, why is it your favorite? (For reference, ours is “You Weren’t There When I Needed”—I’ve had it stuck in my head since I first heard it!)

Thanks for that, appreciate it a lot! What’s crazy is, we probably have spent so long listening to them and fine tweaking bits and pieces that we probably bloody hate the lot (I joke) but no, each song has its own likeable qualities whether that’s the pace and power of "All For You", the emotion of "You Weren’t There When I Needed", or the groove of either "All Our Days Are Now So Quiet" and "Bad Idea". We’re chuffed to bits with each track in their own right.

Who, or what, has most influenced your music and artistic style?

Of course many of the bands and artists previously mentioned have helped to shape our sound, but more so, we want to ensure we didn’t fit snuggly in a box of being ‘another indie band’ or ‘another post punk band’ or whatever, so I think each of our own musical loves have helped to create what we have and we’ve tried to make that sound uniquely ours. Well, that and Simply Red man, what a voice, what a groove. Long live Mick Hucknall What are you listening to currently?

Apart from the hugely influential Talking Heads, The Cure and The Smiths (which you never really stop listening to), we can’t get enough of The Last Dinner Party, Low Girl, Young Fathers, The Japanese House and Dolores Forever. Johnny Marr’s new single "Somewhere" ain’t half bad either, nice to see you back mate.

Listen to Adult Leisure's EP 'Present State Of Joy And Grief' now.

Adult Leisure

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