Two years ago, Aaron from Indie Underground made the trip to Toronto to catch Leisure Cruise when they performed at The Drake Hotel for Canadian Music Week. Early during the performance, it clear that the band didn’t just make the trek from New York go through the motions, they came to the multi-day annual festival to make a statement! And a statement they made with their high-level of energy and charisma, quality sound production and showmanship. The strong performance came as no surprise as the two band leaders Dave Hodge (Canada-born musician who’s played with Broken Social Scene & Bran Van 3000, Macy Gray, Brazilian Girls, and Basement Jaxx and also been an a arranger of Janet Jackson/Neptunes, Carly Simon) and Leah Siegel (a fixture on the New York scene known for her solo project Firehorse and for singing with The Citizens Band) were the two driving forces of the band. The performance was one to remember and had Aaron counting down the days until when he could meet up with the band once again. That opportunity came recently on March 24th when Leisure Cruise came to London, ON to play with Metric and Death Cab for Cutie, but, unfortunately, Aaron couldn’t attend so instead Kelli was keen and ready to experience Leisure Cruise after enjoying their music for some time.
Kelli took the initiative and interviewed Leisure Cruise before they stepped on to the Budweiser Gardens stage. Read through the 11-Questions below and learn what the band had to say about tattoos in Texas, nudity, a one-eyed and toothless dogs, Julia Stiles, TheSafetyDance and more!
Interview conducted by Kelli Williamson for Indie Underground.
Dave: I look forward to all these shows, they’re all slightly different… Rooms, sizes and sonically… It’ll be interesting to hear how this one sounds. Last night was Air Canada Center, and K-Rock Center in Kingston, it was really cool and a smaller arena, but it sounded really good. We’re looking forward to our light display tonight, it’s been beefed up a little bit!
Kelli: Has anything crazy happened so far up until your stop in London, ON?
Dave: We kidnapped Chris Seligman from Stars… it was kind of a crazy night. We convinced him to get on the bus, then the bus started moving, thankfully. I’ve known Chris for twenty years, he’s really good friends with the Death Cab and Metric guys… So we were like… Let’s get him and bring him to Kingston!
Leah: In the end, we hung out for a while then showed him to his bunk. The next morning we woke up in Kingston, and Seligman rolled out onto the floor and said “un-fucking-believable”… He walked off the bus and we never saw him again.
Dave: Jimmy and Emily gave him a little travel kit with toothpaste and deodorant, and it was really good. That was really fun. We checked in, he made it back.
Kelli: When can we expect a new single/album from you guys?
Leah: Really soon! Before this tour came up we were working on several tracks. A couple of them we’ve been playing regularly, two are in the set tonight, they’re both totally new tracks. I’m excited for you guys to hear those. We made some other stuff and have had some time to think about them, but I don’t know if we’ll put them out. It’ll be a couple of singles and then likely an EP… Some studio time will be the first order of business when we get home.
Kelli: With your upcoming release, would you say you’re experimenting with new sound or adding any new instruments into the mix?
Leah: We’re experimenting more with dynamic range, instead of what we’ve been calling the “sonic wall” (the wall of sound). It worked really well on this record. We wanted to do stuff that inspired movement in people, and optimism…I think we accomplished that. In the two new tracks that we’re playing tonight, I think there’s a little bit more of a dynamic range. In the end, Dave and I will talk each other to death about what we want to do, and then we’ll get into the studio and just start. We’ll say this is working, this is not working… In the end whatever comes out of that is what happens, you really can’t ask for anything more than that.
Kelli: Recently on your Instagram account (@leisurecruise), there was a photo posted up of the inside of someone’s bottom lip that was tattooed with the word “leisure”, Leah is that you?
Dave: That was something that someone tagged me in that was posted. I thought it was funny, so I just posted it.
Leah: I’m tough, but I would never do it. I’m also the chick who tattooed Drake on my forehead.
Kelli: What’s the most recent tattoo that any band member has had?
Dave: On April 11th I’m going to Texas to have a whole big piece done, my guy is there, Thomas Hooper. He does really intricate mandalas, and he uses all black and no colour. It’s pretty awesome! I booked it back in September.
Kelli: The music video for “The Getaway” is one of my all-time favourite videos. I’ve watched it a million times. The guy dancing in it, Rameet Chawla is amazing. Where and how did you find him to star in your video?
Dave: He’s a high level app guru, a software developer, he has a company that makes apps.
Leah: We saw him at a party once where I was performing, he was so stylish and our friend Jon Morris remarked on it. We sat down and Rameet started dancing, and we thought he should star in our next video. When we asked him, he said people ask him this all the time, and he always says no, but for us he said..”ok, sure I’ll do it…” and he did! The same weekend he was performing for us in that video, his company was also starting to create the Apple bank app. He’s exceptionally busy. He’s a dapper entrepreneur.
Kelli: You also have a music video for “Crime Tip” that features Julia Stiles, are there any other actors that you guys would love to work with in the future?
Leah: The thing with Julia was that she was a fan of ours and she wanted to direct a music video for us. We couldn’t get it together and her schedule was a bit crazy. Our friend Michael who directed “The Getaway” said he’d do it on the one condition that we would allow him to conceive a treatment for “Crime Tip” that he felt was burgeoning, and that starred both Julia Stiles and Jon Morris. So he created that video and brought it to us. That was part of a package deal.
Dave: I would like to work with Larry David as Bernie Sanders.
Kelli: Your previous marketing material has featured a lot of nude people, should we expect more nudity from your upcoming stuff?
Dave: It actually got banned from Facebook at one point, which was shocking because there are so many other gnarly things you could post. You could be in a thong with your legs in the air and that’s fine, but if you show someone from behind in a nonsexual way, you can have that taken own. It was a nipple thing and a butt thing. We put a Facebook censorship tag on it. It brought up the whole question “what is censorship for? What is the purpose of censorship?”
Leah: It’s especially bullshit that nudity as art and expression as being reborn and having a new beginning gets banned! It’s totally ridiculous! Everyone should have free reign over their bodies and how they want to share them or keep them private.
Kelli: This is a question for Dave from Timothy Glasgow. How’s Popeye doing?
Dave: Popeye is my one-eyed dog. He’s so great, his temperament is just so chill and fun. He’s the perfect dog. He loves everyone, he’s pretty awesome.
Leah: We can’t talk about Popeye without talking about Candy. She has no teeth, she’s almost 17. Who knows how much longer she has, so I try to introduce her to everyone. Popeye is a gentle and sweet loving dog, and Candy is actually quite sassy for someone who’s old and has no teeth. She likes her space.
Kelli: What are your go-to songs to sing at karaoke?
Leah: “Lady in Red” by Chris de Burgh or “Purple Rain” by Prince – I did that on our RVIP (a mobile karaoke unit) all the time. Also “Hounds of Love” or “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush.
Dave: “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, love doing that one… and “Material Girl” by Madonna is pretty fun too. If I want to get serious, I’d do “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole. I’d also do a little Barry White too.
Kelli: What are you guys looking forward too on this current tour?
Dave: Vancouver, we have lots of friends there, it’ll be an amazing time… All of the shows are all going to be fun.
Leah: For me, I feel like the thing I look forward to is (this sounds kind of ridiculous) practicing my craft. Time on the road too.
Purchase Leisure Cruise’s debut LP on Vinyl, CD or get T-Shirts at Iloveleisurecruise.com.
Upcoming Leisure Cruise Concert Dates:
April 7 — Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance