Peace: Give It A Chance
Photo by Jonnie Craig.
“They’ve only gone and made the best album of the year” or so quipped a certain UK publication about the debut LP from up-and-coming indie rockers Peace. If you’re tickled pink by a solid dose of new-age indie, then this British quartet could be your new favourite find. With the band stopping by our lovely country for a run of shows in September, it’s about time we got the chance to see what all the fuss is about in the motherland. We got on the phone with a sleepy Harrison Koisser to chat about Peace’s breakout debut, In Love, and the the burgeoning “B-Town scene” back in their hometown of Birmingham.
What bands did you find yourself growing up on and how did they come to shape the music that you make now?
Well I was definitely into The Who when I was younger, The Kinks, James Brown, that really classic stuff that I got from my parents, and I guess I’ve just got a kind of respect for that great songwriting, those sort of unusual sounds.
Along with other Birmingham bands like JAWS and Swim Deep, you’re currently leading the B-Town pack. How does it feel for your Birmingham scene to be getting attention over on the other side of the world?
It’s really weird. I mean, It’s quite cool though, it didn’t exist when we were really there and it’s all taken off over the last year or so, so it’s mad. It’s quite surreal.
Being from Birmingham, what challenges has that posed for you musically? Is there less opportunity for bands to break through when you’re not coming out of London?
I thought that, I thought that all my life, that it just didn’t happen for bands because you weren’t from London, I think that’s what a lot of people thought. And then it turned out that ‘cos we weren’t from London, people were more interested I guess. It kind of gave us something. We were different I think, but it kind of works though. If something’s good, don’t eff with it. We’re not really still based in Birmingham anymore though. We’ve been on tour for so long now and I’ve just gotten a place in London. Every time we’ve come off tour we’ve had to be in London for press or recording, so I just got a place there. We got our record deal and did all the tours and stuff while we were in Birmingham, we made the first album while we were based there, but now it’s just practical to have a place in London.
How do you think being born and bred in Birmingham has shaped your sound and your attitude to being in a band?
I think around the Midlands, there’s this thing I always found… I always found ‘cos Led Zeppelin were from the Midlands and then Black Sabbath were from Birmingham, there’s quite a metal vibe, but then I don’t know. There’s lots of psychedelic rock and almost like psychedelic folk music more out in the country in the Midlands, and I’ve seen a lot of that over the years and I guess I’m just kind of fond of it. And a lot of rhythm and blues stuff too.
When you’ve got a publication like NME saying you’ve “gone and made the best album of the year”, does a certain pressure come along with that too? Are you worried at all that you’ve set the bar too high on your debut?
I don’t think so, I think it’s more just… It’s kind of the opposite. We made a good album, and it’s sort of more confidence-inspiring, we’re quite confident now. I think we did a good job and we worked hard. I think it’s still a cool record. We’ve started gathering thoughts for the next record, so that’s where we’re at, gathered thoughts and sketches.
Did you find it daunting working with a producer like Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, The Temper Trap) when he’s such an established name in the scene?
It was quite cool. He’s just really nice and sort of a quite straightforward guy, a no messing around type. It had been a while since he’d worked on a new band, so it just felt right. I liked his history in hip hop and acid house. All of the records he’s worked on are all great. There wasn’t one record in particular that made us want him, it was more just the whole package so to speak.
What’s it like playing in a country you’ve never played in before? Do you notice differences in terms of what kind of crowd you draw or the reception you get?
It always feels like… It’s weird. The first time you play somewhere, there’s always a similar feeling, like you’re definitely aware that they’re the first shows, but there’s always really subtle differences. It’s always quite weird. I don’t really know how to put my finger on it, there’s always little confusing differences. Even just in the way people move. I can’t remember where we were, but we were in Switzerland I think, and there was definitely a difference there.
We catch you guys off the back of some huge festival slots like Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds… For a band that have honed their sound playing lots of local gigs, how do you prepare for those huge festival stages?
We don’t really do much to prepare, we just kind of wing it. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, maybe we should prepare more [laughs]. I’d like to think we got lasers or glitter canons, but we just kind of go on and do our thing.
Catch indie rockers Peace on their first trip Down Under next month!
Peace / Millions Tour Dates
Fri Sep 13th – The Eagle Bar, La Trobe Uni
Sat Sep 14th – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Sun Sep 15th – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Tue Sep 17th – Zierholz @ University of Canberra, Canberra
Thu Sep 19th – The Bar On The Hill @ Newcastle University, Newcastle
Fri Sep 20th – The Uni Bar @ Wollongong University, Wollongong
Sat Sep 21st – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Mon Sep 23rd – The Zoo, Brisbane