It was a dark and cloudy night when I first happened to meet Matt Bidois. His trio – the drummer was missing – was waiting at a bus stop, when I turned up serendipitously with a bottle of chardonnay in hand. Matt stood with a dorky grin on his face. With a little bit of liquid confidence in me already, I told the three that they looked like they played in a band, and to my delight, they did. “The Leers,” they said. It was the start of something beautiful.
The Leers are a four-piece alternative rock/pop group from the gorgeous shores of Mount Maunganui, comprised of
They’ve moved up to the big smoke to share their music with all of us, playing numerous gigs peppered
all around Auckland’s nightlife scene. As a slightly drunk Matt and I sat on a large rock in Britomart, he told me about the move. [Edited for sobriety].
“We always thought it was a massive city with a huge population, but like, it’s so small once you get up here. I feel like it’s the same kind of mindset that draws you in to everyone else. It just ties you in to this little circle of people that want to do the same thing. It’s been pretty cool – it’s been the same thing as growing up in Mount Maunganui, basically, just on a bigger scale.”
Be careful, Matt. Some of us city boys can’t handle Auckland being likened to places that we can’t spell. Having met Matt at a bar where the drinks were all- too-apparently flowing, we asked if the move to Auckland had helped with financial side of things.
“You don’t make any money. You don’t. The people that make music for money, you can very easily tell, like, in the music. For me, you don’t make music to make money, you make music because you like to make music, you
Jack Furniss, Jacob Buchan,
James Kippenberger, and the delightful Matt Bidois.
know? A lot of the time, like, the dream for me is to make music that you don’t really make any money from, but it’ll take you places.”
Matt told us that the new album is entirely written, and the first single has been recorded in the brand-new Red Bull Studio here in Auckland. The group was a little hesitant, however.
“It’s a brand new studio, but at the same time, a brand new studio needs to be broken in. But, we did one song with them and it sounded fine – it was really surprising how good it sounded so we just said, “Yeah, we’ll do the whole thing here, ” and they’ve been really cool about it. [Pointing to the bar we just came from] Half of them are in there!”
If you haven’t heard them before, The Leers play emotive and exciting alternative rock. They’re catchy yet heartfelt, and they play with the perfect balance of energy and reservation. I was curious to know what the spectrum of the new album would be, and how much distance there would be between it and their past releases.
“There are songs that are quite relaxed, that try to convey a message, and then there are songs that are high-energy, and a bit fun. We were really conscious about trying to display the two different sides, if there are two sides to that, rather than just focus on one idea. We’re quite a broad-spectrum band.”
That’s all well and good, Matt, but how do you decide when to be fun loving, and when to be brooding? Do you all have the same ideas when it comes to writing?
“Once one of us doesn’t feel it, we just write it off. We keep it for a while just incase they grow to love it, but yeah, after that there’s just no point. You can’t expect someone to play something that they don’t like, and enjoy it. And if you’re not enjoying it, then why are you doing it? It’s all F.U.N man, that’s why we do it.”
F is for friends who do stuff together, and that seems to be The Leers’ motto as it stands. Four dudes making music, playing gigs, and being generally rad. Matt couldn’t confirm it for us, but he expects the new album to be out sometime in November this year, and we think you’ll love it. In the interest of time and appropriateness, a huge amount of the 30-minute interview was cut out. To read Matt talk about pot-plants, having sex with groupies, and fighting duck-sized horses, take a look here. He also said that, “if you want to come and see one gig, an exclusive album-preview, everyone has to dress up in Borat leotards.” So, there’s that. Regardless of your preference of swimwear: Listen to The Leers new track here