Leisure Cruise sailing away with debut album
They say two minds are better than one, and with creative minds – even more so. Enter Dave Hodge and Leah Siegel – who alone are both extremely talented musicians, but together, they are Leisure Cruise.
“We’ve been playing and recording, gearing up for this release,” said Hodge. “We just finished the record in January, and our first real show was in February,” said Siegel.
After spending years on the Canadian music market, working with bands like Bran Van 3000, Metric, Feist and an integral member of Broken Social Scene, Hodge lusted for something more out of his music. He’s always helped people create what they wanted to hear from themselves, but now it was time to create something he could truly call his own.
“In other bands, I was playing other people’s music, it was great, we had fun together, but it wasn’t my music,” said Hodge. “This is our band, it’s a totally different thing. It’s not just showing up and playing with other great musicians. It feels amazing.”
Being a veteran in music production and live performance, none of that is new for Hodge, but what is new for him is being in full control. This project allows Hodge to bring to the table years of personal experiences, and reflections, and turn them into perfections.
“You can be an observer, as much as you can be involved. I’ve been writing for a long time, and it’s nice to be able to use that now. I used to play trombone, not so much anymore. But often trombone players can become arrangers, sitting in the middle of everything. That was me.”
Siegel, like Hodge, has spent the better part of the last decade in the music scene from her side of the world in Brooklyn. Siegel, a known face on the New York scene for her solo project Firehorse and for singing with The Citizens Band, was also a known songwriter to Hodge.“I loved making music with my band, Firehorse. You feel very strongly about anything you’re going to write and record,” said Siegel. “I was so far away from anything mainstream, far from writing anything to be called a hit. But it was my way of expressing myself.”
Firehorse’s music had a much darker tone to it, a true reflection of self and personal anguish, which at times, Siegel found trying night after night.
“Performing those songs became difficult night after night. It was really starting to hurt after a while. It’s completely deeply and entirely who I am. Sometimes you don’t always want to share that much of yourself. And because of that, I wasn’t always enjoying it. Dave and I write music that we like.”
The two met again fatefully one stormy November day in Manhattan, where there was no power and no hope in sight. But even the darkest of days can shine through with a ray of sunshine, and to Hodge, seeing Siegel that day was exactly that.
He explained to her what he was trying to accomplish on his own, with his music, and to her, it resembled what she was looking to branch out into as well. So, as legend has it, the two got to working, and after some writing, singing, and loads of fun, they became know as Leisure Cruise in the Spring of 2013.
“As a performer especially, that’s our life that we live on stage every night, and fans come to feel that with you,” explained Siegel. “Some Firehorse fans really wanted to feel that with me, and it was difficult. For Leisure Cruise, Dave just says let’s be happy, and now I write music that makes me feel good.”
Now their debut self-titled album has hit the waves and is making quite the splash. The track list features songs like “Double Digit Love,” they first single and video (featured below) from the record. This isn’t your average spaceship soundtrack, this is cruising music of the future. Leisure Cruise feature members of Hodge’s past projects like Bran Van 300 and Broken Social Scene.
“It’s a friends and family kind of record,” said Hodge.
The name Leisure Cruise comes with a funny story. before the group’s inception, three new planets had been discovered in the Lyra constellation that seemed able to capacitate human life. So one day, Hodge and Siegel got to talking “What if we had to leave earth and colonize a new planet?” It was then that the two envisioned a ‘final leisure cruise’ for the human race.
“For me, Leisure Cruise was a life saver,” said Siegel.