interview. Adult Leisure open up about ‘Present State Of Joy And Grief’

"Even when you feel incredibly happy or incredibly in love you can also have waves of anxiety and fear"
14th November 2023

Indie sensations Adult Leisure, hailing from Bristol, unveil their eagerly awaited second EP titled Present State of Joy and Grief. Explore our interview with Adult Leisure as they delve into discussions about inspiration, live performances, the most trivial talents, and the art of daydreaming during office hours.​ 

Adult Leisure’s second studio EP, Present State of Joy and Grief, underwent a transformative journey under the expert hands of Ollie Searle at Humm Studios, with the finishing touch of masterful mastering by Grant Berry (known for his work with Boston Manor, Deaf Havana, and Lottery Winners). The four-track EP delves into the intricate realms of unhealthy relationships, heartbreak, loss, change, and self-reflection, showcasing Adult Leisure’s musical prowess and lyrical depth.

Discussing the EP, the band, consisting of Neil Scott (vocals), David Woolford (guitar, vocals), James Laing (bass), and Nathan Searle (drums), expresses:​ “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.”

It’s madness to know that our music is now in constant rotation all over the world from our hometown of Bristol to Tokyo.

Congratulations on the announcement of your upcoming EP, ‘Present State of Joy and Grief.’ Can you give us a glimpse into the inspiration behind the title and what thematic elements we can expect from the new release?

The inspiration actually comes from an old quote from Aeschylus and it says “there is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief”, I think as you grow older you understand that emotion isn’t simple and even when you feel incredibly happy or incredibly in love you can also have waves of anxiety and fear. This was our way of making sense of it all and fundamentally realising that there is no right or wrong way to feel at any given moment, and the entire spectrum of emotion must be endured and accepted.

Adult Leisure came together during the pandemic, with your debut EP ‘The Weekend Ritual’ receiving acclaim from various sources. How has the band evolved creatively since your debut, and how does ‘Present State of Joy and Grief’ represent this evolution?

The first EP was us dipping our toes into different styles trying to find our sound. You can hear what has ultimately become our current sound on a few of those songs but PSOJ&G is a fuller body of work with a clearer direction. I think for me personally you can feel obligated to try and squeeze into an already existing scene and write songs that you think people will enjoy. This EP is us unashamedly being us. We aren’t worried anymore if a song is too pop sounding. A lot of music in Bristol, especially the bands who are doing very well, lean into the heavy post punk sound whereas I think we are now more proud to be different.

The first single from the EP, ‘Bad Idea,’ received praise from BBC Radio 1 and others. How did the success of ‘Bad Idea’ shape the direction of the upcoming EP, and did it influence the creative process for the subsequent tracks?

We kind of knew once Bad Idea was finished that this was the way forward. We knew we wanted to write music with big choruses that people could scream. I think in writing terms we’ve always had a strong pop sensibility, previously we tried to disguise this but I would say we are now wearing it like a badge of honour.

‘Present State of Joy and Grief’ was recorded, produced, and mixed by Ollie Searle at Humm Studios. How did this collaboration contribute to the overall sound and atmosphere of the EP, and what was the most rewarding aspect of working with Ollie Searle?

So Ollie is undoubtedly the 5th and perhaps most important member of this group, he’s the brother of our drummer Nathan and is one of those rare people in life where nothing fazes him, he has everything under control. The first EP saw us record and produce the bulk of it ourselves at home whereas Ollie has come along, got us into the studio and introduced a brand new style of production and general work ethic. The relationship works so well because we can be completely honest with each other, we aren’t afraid to have our artistic input. The most rewarding aspect of working with him is seeing a demo become a fully finished piece of polished work. It makes you insanely proud and lucky to be around such an intelligent and talented person.

Your second single, ‘All For You,’ is set to be released with its music video. Can you provide some insight into the creative process behind the song and the visual representation in the accompanying video?

We firstly started by saying we would never do a performance video, I think as a band we liked the idea of our videos being not about us as “the” band but a story. The concept was pretty simple, the characters of us on the sofa represent an exaggerated slightly critical version of normality. The live shots were the caveat to this. It’s not saying either one’s right or wrong but I think for musicians of a certain age you battle with the dreams of success and the fear of never achieving what you believe you have.

‘The Weekend Ritual’ led to multiple tours across the UK and rave live reviews. How has the live performance aspect influenced the creation of ‘Present State of Joy and Grief,’ and what can fans expect from your live shows in support of the new EP?

The shows we did were hands down the best indicators of how good the new songs were, playing live can tell you within 40 seconds if you’ve got something. We pride ourselves on being a decent live band so the songs we write have to go hand in hand with our live performance. That’s why we write big choruses as we want everyone in that room to be singing along.

Producer Jake Gosling picked up your single ‘Bad Idea’ for play in Hotel Chocolat stores worldwide. How did this collaboration come about, and how has exposure in unexpected places influenced the band’s trajectory?

This was a really random, but amazing one and kinda came out of the blue from our lovely management team. Having our music selected by a legend such as Jake Gosling who has worked with some of the biggest names in music is an absolute dream come true. It’s madness to know that our music is now in constant rotation all over the world from our hometown of Bristol to Tokyo. It’s an incredible feeling but Nath is now addicted to chocolate and it’s becoming quite a problem, but in all seriousness, have you tried their chocolate? OUT OF THIS WORLD.

What is the most useless talent you have?

I don’t do it anymore as I try to be a bit healthier but, I used to be able to down a bottle of beer and at the same time smoke a cigarette, the party trick was I’d finish both at the same time in one sitting. Not incredibly proud of that.

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

Probably doing what I already do, which is work in an office daydreaming.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

Probably shouldn’t say!