Leisure Cruise chats writing and music videos!

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Leah Siegel and Dave Hodge of Leisure Cruise took on a daunting task opening for Jack’s Mannequin on their Everything In Transit tour they just wrapped here in Boston last week. That task was achieved with flying colors. The band has only been together for about a year and a half and in their own words are still a developing band but if the past year is any indication of what they are capable of, they will only go up for here!

We were able to grab the duo for a chat right after their set where they reflected on their time on the road with Jack’s Mannequin as well as giving me a glimpse into the process that is Leisure Cruise. Find our new interview below and look for new music in the near future from these guys!

So maybe a soft one, like you guys said, you’re still kind of a developing band. You’ve been touring a little bit, maybe three things you must have with you while on tour?
Dave: Oh, must have with us. Our sanity would be one. It would be pretty hard, we need that. What else?
Leah:Must have, I mean the only thing I really need on tour is my dry shampoo.
D: Dry shampoo?
L:I keep on trying to come up with things buy my dry shampoo, that’s it.
D:You know what, I need audio books.
L:You need audio books and like a pillow. Dave is kind of a pillow guy.
D: When you’re on drives,like ten hour drives, audio books are just so amazing. Today we were listening to the Miles Davis autobiography. It was read by this guy that sounds like Miles Davis. It sounds like Miles Davis talking to you. It was such an awesome drive because of that.
L: For me, it’s podcasts. I don’t do audio books. I do podcasts and I’m podcast crazy. Serial, This American Life, Radiolab, Reply All is like my new favorite, absolutely favorite podcast. Guys we Fuck is really funny.
I’ve heard of that.
L: They’re great. Those girls are great. They are like shamelessly anti-slut shaming. I love them. I really like them. I don’t listen to it that often. Like Ted Radio hour, I love. I would just listen to it over and over again. When we were driving through North Carolina, I got a terrible speeding ticket because I was listening to this really intense Ted radio hour called “Peering Into Space”. It was amazing. I got so excited that I was going like sixteen miles over the speed limit. Anyways, so I would say podcasts, audio books, hair powder. We’re all kind of tequila junkies at this point.
That’s not a bad thing.
D:So that’s four things.
L: Four collective things.
D:Yeah but they all fit into one. If you can figure that out, you win no prize.

We kind of talked about how this is maybe a very unique tour. A very unique niche audience that are coming out to these shows. An older crowd which I’m sure is good. Maybe how have these shows been going for you. This is the last show.
D: They’ve been going great. It’s interesting because they’re obviously extremely devoted Jack’s Mannequin fans. It’s really amazing to watch Jack’s Mannequin and watch how invigorated they are. So for us, they’re discovering us for the first time, a lot of people and I’d say the majority of this crowd is discovering us for the first time. But they’re responding really well. I mean there’s a lot of standing and staring, like who are they? I don’t know these songs but then the reaction is really good. I mean opening in this situation, you can finish songs and no one could cheer and you would just be standing there.
L:And you’re just doing it. I mean even Andrew himself knows playing a room that’s filled that’s not your audience is a challenge. It comes with a different set of performance chops.┬áNot only that, but it’s a reunion tour. It’s not like they saw Jack’s Mannequin six months ago. The last time they experienced all this was years ago. They’re rabid, they’re waiting for it. It’s really interesting being in this position.
D: If Massive Attack did a Blue Lines tour, I would be there in front.
L: And you’d kind of be looking at your watch for the opening band to be done. Just waiting and waiting and if they were good enough, you might be like, oh this is okay. You might applaud or scream once or twice. I feel great about what we’ve been able to offer. Jack’s and all the guys as far as support on this tour, it’s not a bad match really.
D: We’re really different but we like it. It’s fun. And lots of tweets and Facebook messages saying “Hey, heard you guys for the first time. Love you guys. We’ve been listening to you nonstop”. It’s really nice.
I saw on your news feed that a lot of kids are reaching out to you and discovering you.
L: And we’re discovering so much in the process. Dave and I are both veterans in a lot of ways and different ways. I think when this band happened, it was a weird happy accident. We could never have planned for something like this and it just kind of took us by storm and we were writing, we liked it and everyone else in our network seemed to really like it. Then it just happened. So for us, we’re learning as well. So it’s kind of awesome to share that experience with all of these people.
Then you do have the record out, you guys have been doing this for a little while now. Even though you’re still developing, like you said you’re both veterans. Was this project something you wanted to do for awhile, you said it was like a happy accident.
L: It was Dave. What happened was Dave and I had worked together on a TV project like several years prior. We ran into each other on the street and Dave was like ‘Hey what are you doing? Do you want to write some stuff because we live in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn’ and I was like ‘Sure’. I had just finished my second record for my band, my solo project. So I went over, we wrote together. We were like that was really fun. Let’s do it again. Then we just like kept going. Dave’s idea was to do like a friends and family record and have a bunch of people on it. Just kind of stretch a little bit.
D: Different singers.
L: Different writers.
D: I was just going to do an album project. Then Leah was available.
L: I was really available. Everyone else was on tour, everyone else was at like Coachella. Doing the festival circuit.
D: So, I was just going to write one song. We wrote a song really fast and we really liked it. It was like why don’t you come back tomorrow and let’s do another one. We did that and we were like oh shit, that was really fun let’s do another one. Then it was like, oh shit we have a band I guess.
L: Well, we had written like five songs over the course of a month. Then I just remember Dave looking at me and being like so, if I were to make a record and you’re singing and the co-writer of like five of these songs, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to have other people on this record. So maybe we should just keep writing. Maybe we’ll write it and you sing it. I think maybe six or seven months later, Dave’s industry contacts and my industry contacts were just like, this is good, you guys should do this. We want to pay for it. We want to help be a part oft. We love it. We were like ‘Okay, I guess we’re a band.’
D: It was kind of an accident.
L: It was a beautiful happy accident and I feel like the universe knew exactly what the two of us needed. In that moment, at that time. Now here we are and we’re about to put out a new EP really soon. After we get home from this, next week we’re going to do a week in the studio and get down to basics. It’s exciting. I feel good about it.
And clearly it’s going well so far.
L: Yeah, we’re lucky to have been fast tracked. We also have a lot of experience and maybe in some ways, have been on the long track. Who knows? Depends on who’s counting.

And you kind of talked about how initially this was going to be like a friends and family record but clearly it worked out to be the two of you writing together. Is it still something where you always write together, do you bring your own ideas?
D: Yeah, I mean even on our record, there was a bunch of co-writes. Jimmy Shaw from Metric, Tommy Kessler from Blondie. We had Liam O’Neil who’s from The Stills. Who else?
L: Natasha Thirsk then a bunch of different people came in to play on it as well. But as for co-writers, there were co-writers for sure.
But did you bring your ideas to the table like each of you personally?
D: We were always there.
L: It’s a really true collaboration in between me and Dave.
D: We like bringing different people into the room and seeing what comes up. We get skewed a little differently.
L: Do you mean co-write between us?
No, I mean when you started, you kind of got together and it worked really well. Do you on your own bring ideas to the other person or do you always just sit down and write purely together?
L: Well, the first time Dave and I hung out to write, he had a catalog of short ideas that were already kind of in his arsenal. He was like ‘what do you think of this?’ ‘ah, that’s cool’ ‘What do you think of this?’ ‘Oh I love that’. Then we would write to that and then develop that piece of music. And that’s kind of the way it started. Which is one of the reasons it happened so damn fast.
D: Musically, we had like a head start.
L: We had kind of a head start and remarkably, I remember being floored that everything we made seemed to somehow fit into a genre we didn’t know we were a part of. It just was a really beautiful miraculous abstract creative event that we were both a part of for a year of our lives. Now we create together. Dave will spend time in his studio doing beats and synths and stuff. I don’t often bring lyrical ideas without the inspiration of his sounds. Things are sort of always shifting.

Then you talked about after this tour, you’re going to be working on the EP, going into the studio for a week.
L: Well, the EP is kind of done. We have some questions about it and there are some things we want to tweak. ‘Mother’ is on it which is a new song that we played tonight. Which is on YouTube and we kind of did a very soft quiet launch with this video which we love by the way and I hope you look at it because it’s amazing.
You guys put out so many videos. Do you think that helps you, was it always part of the artistic vision. I really like that you do it.
D: People are coming to us with ideas and we had some ideas of our own. We were sort of like this seems like a really cool project, let’s do it. Why not do it? We like visuals and we’re kind of exploring. They’re all quiet different. So visually, we’re sort of exploring different ideas as to what we like. They’re all really fun and there’s really no point in not doing them.
L: Even the way I tend to consume music, if I hear about a band that I like, the first place I go is YouTube. Any commercial work I’ve done, hanging in the studio with producers and composers, if they want to know about what’s going on, you get the most information the quickest if you go to YouTube. Or if you search videos under a band’s name. I think that might of gotten into our heads a little bit. We like that aspect of what we do and we feel it’s important.

This tour obviously ends tonight but like you said, you’re working on new music. Kind of what’s coming up in the next few months for Leisure Cruise?
L: EP.
D: Yeah, we’re just working on new music. Working on getting current music out.
L: Possible re-launch of the Mother video.
D: More shows, there’s a bunch of shows that are tentative that could be very good.
L: And also possibly another video. Anyways, we’ve got some stuff to work on.
D: We also have a huge live show that we shot and recorded. We’ve only released one live video.
L: So, there might be a lot more online content coming out. We’ve got some shit to do.
D: We have some shit to do.
L: It’s going to be a long couple of months for us. It’s been almost a year since Dave and I really sat down and focused on writing. Like the EP that’s coming out, it was a quick moment and for some reason, a lot more shit came out and it was really great.
D: We’re going to probably put it out a track at a time. Just because, why not? There are rules. There are no rules anymore.
L: And we’re just going to put out everything. We’re going to put out everything we make, whether it suits us or not.

About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.

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