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Music News - The Leers release new album 'The Only Way Out Is In' today

The Leers release new album 'The Only Way Out Is In' today

20 November 2020 - 0 Comments

Having played together since their early teens after forming at Mt Maunganui high school, The Leers have years of playing live together under their belt, yet they’re just hitting their stride with the release of these new songs. Their second release after their debut album Are You Curious? in 2016, the new album sees the addition of a fifth band member Kiki Rockwell, and harkens a bigger sound to their trademark indie guitar rock.
Recorded in the “before times” – November 2019, right before COVID-19 started wreaking havoc across the world– the band flew to Los Angeles to record the EP over two weeks at Mad Muse studios, the studio of their US record label, In Flight Music Group. In a serendipitous event, In Flight CEO and head engineer Matt Salazar had discovered The Leers in an article about the band recording some tracks to tape at York St studios, and the band developed a relationship with the label which eventually lead to this EP.
The Only Way Out Is In was recorded and mixed by Salazar, who co-produced the EP with the band in the same studio used by bands like The Head and The Heart. With a passion for collecting equipment, Salazar’s gear addiction meant the band had their pick of any instrument, any guitar tone or sound they wanted from the racks of outboard gear and stacks of backline gear and drums available to them. They may also be the only band in New Zealand who can say their songs were recorded on an SSL 8000 G+ console formerly owned by Dr Dre.
Lead singer Matt Bidois describes the experience as “insanity”. “It was incredibly eye-opening. Going from a shed on a farm where we write all of our music, to a world-class studio with endless amounts of incredibly expensive equipment humbled us in a lot of ways. It changed our focus from “parts” of music that we create to how those parts sound and how changing that sound can really add or take away from the song. It sounds obvious saying it out loud, but the endless options working at Mad Muse presented really put into perspective how little we scratch the sonic surface as artists which is super exciting. Like find a new room in your house you didn’t know was there.”
On returning to New Zealand, the band was looking forward to releasing their album and touring, but COVID-19 put a stop to all that. However, in July they played two massive shows supporting L.A.B at Spark and Claudelands arenas, giving the band a chance to play these new songs live to their biggest audiences so far.
The album features eight new songs and ends with a cover of Kavinsky’s electro classic Nightcall. Bidois says the songs on The Only Way Out Is In are on another level from their earlier material. “I think we’ve matured a little bit where we can actually let the song do the heavy lifting without doing a million things in three minutes, but also keep it interesting.”
“We never really set out to theme the songs in any way. Whatever came out lyrically is just what was going on inside. I love that therapeutic aspect to songwriting. It really breaks down some delusions you didn’t know you had until you’re in the booth listening to a vocal take thinking ‘wow that’s actually how I feel about that, and I didn’t really realise’. The songs definitely centre around love in a way that focuses on the struggles and the hardships that oftentimes make it more valuable.”
With Kiki Rockwell added on keys and backing vocals, Bidois says her presence has been a huge asset. “We’ve been adding so many different layers, vocals and keys to our songs and there’s only so much four of us could pull off so when we went back to play them live they sounded so empty. Kiki has been making the songs sound whole again and it’s been so much fun sharing the songs with her.”
The band has a big summer ahead of them with appearances at NZ’s biggest music festivals. When asked how they’re feeling about playing Rhythm & Vines, Kaleidoscope, Electric Avenue and Soundsplash, Bidois had just one word: “Ready”.
The Only Way Out Is In is out now on all digital platforms.

Next: Finnish, Indo-Kiwi duo release hypnotic pop collab 'Minefield'

Prev: Niko Walters Releases Highly Anticipated Debut Album 'Escape'


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