Jor­dan Arts

Be­fore Jor­dan Arts was vo­cal­ist and multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist in Leisure, he had suc­cess as half of Kids of 88

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS -

Ihad been play­ing mu­sic since I was 10 and in 2010 it fi­nally hap­pened. There was a song that sat on Mys­pace for about nine months un­til it was picked up by C4 mu­sic TV. They got a mas­sive in­flux of queries as to what it was. Sam McCarthy and I weren’t even re­ally a band, just two mates hang­ing out with the idea of mak­ing mu­sic to­gether.

Then Ash­ley Page came along as our man­ager. He steered the ship and sud­denly we were field­ing of­fers, which turned into a bid­ding war be­tween ma­jor in­ter­na­tional la­bels for this one song.

It all hap­pened so fast. I was at the end of my fi­nal year of uni, do­ing a bach­e­lor of dig­i­tal de­sign and sud­denly be­ing taken out for lunches in the Big Ap­ple and wooed by fat cats. It got to the point where we just wanted to see who could pro­vide the best lunch and we’d make a point of or­der­ing the most ex­pen­sive thing on the menu. Iron­i­cally, one time it was New Zealand eye fil­let.

While we were be­ing shopped around, with these guys go­ing toe-to-toe with each other, Sam and I were pretty punk-minded about it all, be­ing from Royal Oak and Ma­nurewa re­spec­tively.

There were a lot of celebrity-based mo­ments that were sur­real. We went to a record la­bel once and there was an artist called Shaun Paul, who was pretty mas­sive in his day, with a crew of 20 chew­ing on weed bub­ble gum in the lobby. We went to a mag­a­zine party and saw Paris Hil­ton danc­ing to our song.

I was 21 or 22. I’d never been to the States be­fore. None of it felt real. My ex­pe­ri­ences were like watch­ing a mo­tion pic­ture — a young man who had wanted to do some­thing in his life to do with mu­sic, and every­thing hap­pened at once.

Amer­i­cans can be so hy­pey and smoke-blow­ing that the only way we could not freak out was to take the piss out of it. But Amer­i­cans don’t un­der­stand the Kiwi self-dep­re­cat­ing thing. They’d ask us about out new songs and we’d say we were work­ing on a few but they were a bit crap and that to­tally shocked them.

One day when we were in LA for a la­bel meet­ing, an in­tern was driv­ing us to a cof­fee shop and play­ing a demo in the car from an artist who hadn’t re­leased any­thing yet. We asked if we could remix it, and we did and they got it to her. The song was Tick Tock and the artist was Ke$ha.

She asked us to go on her Euro­pean tour. We had been work­ing back­wards with our per­form­ing the whole time, be­cause when it all started we hadn’t even set foot in a prac­tice room. But we went. She flew ev­ery­where and we drove in a van through the back roads in the snow to the gigs. That was my OE.

As told to Paul Lit­tle LEISURE ARE NOM­I­NATED FOR BAND OF THE YEAR AND AL­BUM OF THE YEAR AT THE VODA­FONE NZ MU­SIC AWARDS, HELD ON NOVEM­BER 16.

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