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Only eleven days before their second album ‘Happy People’ dropped, we caught up with

Harrison and Dom from Peace in the bar section of the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds. Not

differing hugely in visual from your average W.M.C, the Brudenell only differs in its years of

cult fame as one of the prominent music venues in Leeds. Unusually for a quiet Thursday in

January, this particular evening saw an influx of largely sixteen to eighteen year olds to

to crowd Harrison Koisser (he being the androgynously dressed and simultaneously calmly

arrogant and endearing figurehead of the Worcester band) for pictures. Before the rush,

however, we managed to chat to them about all things music, from their hazy origins to the

culmination of their numerous influences to form the band about to release a highly-

anticipated album to a substantial fanbase.

 

Consciously forming their sound, yet at the same time seeming effortlessly cool and aloof,

Peace have had a lot of divided attentions regarding their musical inheritances and the ways

in which they are speculated to form their tracks. I thought it best to pose the question early

as to their beginnings as Peace, back in 2010. Quantifiable as ‘psych’ heavy in terms of genre,

Peace hit the resurgent trend of guitar music heavily layered with bulking and etherial effects

early on, releasing ‘BBLOOD’ in early 2012.

 

Circ: I’ve been listening to the EP from 2012 and to your first demo release—I

don’t know how you’d say it—b-blood, Blood?

 

Peace: Yeah, ‘blood’. We just put a B on it to try and make it googleable

 

Circ: Yeah actually, because before you guys started getting hype, searching

‘peace band’ with a song title returned no hits

 

Peace: Yeah, yeah. We had to have an abstract spelling of our first song

 

Circ: it worked!

 

Peace: Marketing head on me…

 

Circ: I thought what was most interesting about the transition from the EP, to In

Love to the tracks from HP released so far was that there’s a definite movement

away from more psych-y stuff with loads of guitar and FXs there, and it seems

now to emphasise a lot of different influences, and obviously you guys have had

press about influences emerging directly in your music. I don’t agree personally,

but things like Lovesick appearing as Friday I’m In Love.

 

Peace: I like that

 

Circ: What I was gonna say is that that’s something that could be quite good, and

to see whether you thought it positive or negative and to what extent in music we

need to include allusions to previous artists, pour influences, as I know you guys

are big fans of Zeppelin

 

Peace: Yeah, there’s a lot of Zeppelin in our stuff. I’ve heard that California

Daze is just Rain Song …which I’d agree with. But it’s not – it’s three notes with

the same vibe. People are just doing this because people are like ‘you’re really

90s’, ‘you’re a 90s band’, well it’s fucking 2015, and then people are like ‘in the

90s…’. But that’s every Oasis song – that’s what they got shouted at for. But Noel

Gallagher was actually ripping of T Rex, do you know what I mean? He was

doing it on purpose, but ours is a little less conscious. People point it out, but by

that time it’s then a song, so I don’t really care

M: And also, you guys have more of a different sound overall

J: Completely, it’s about the whole sound. I love World Pleasure – mostly for

Sam’s bassline at 3:10

 

And the more we talked, the more it became apparent that Peace are a band fully aware of

their musical surroundings, and with a definite set of opinions. It would be a mistake to call

them brash, such as in the potential jab towards Oasis might make them seem, because their

process of creation appears to consist of so much more than a very run-of-the-mill ‘don’t look

at me’ or ‘I don’t give a fuck’ vibe.

 

As the crowds in the bar increased, mostly around the

corner in which we were sat talking (there were numerous interruptions which Harrison and

Dom kindly held back) we moved on to discussing their new releases from the upcoming

second album, Happy People. Starting with World Pleasure, we teased it out of them exactly

how their tracks so far had generated. From Faithless to Primal Scream, the journey was far

from the conventional two-day studio recording process:

 

Circ: it’s really interesting how there is such a shift between the two sections of

the song. I mean, there are funk influences in the drumming [look to Dom],

maybe? And in the rhythm

 

Peace: yeah the rhythm section is quite funky in it

 

Circ: and then it changes into this completely different piece which is very like

Primal Scream

 

Peace: well yeah, we recorded the first half first

 

Circ: Oh! so they’re separate recordings?

 

Peace: Yeah, in different studios. The first half we did first and we thought

‘where’s this gonna go?’ and then I saw a video of Faithless playing Glastonbury.

Originally is was a little 2-minute gritty thing. And then I saw a video while we

were in the studio [can I finish this interview just here?] of Faithless playing

‘Become One’ at Glastonbury on the Pyramid stage, and I used to be really into

Trance and the way that even a song like Insomnia by Faithless, you’ve got like 8

minutes of this tune just like [mimes] and then him talking about how shit

everything is, and then in the second half of it he goes ‘I can’t get no sleep’ and it

just [mimes excitedly]. I guess Faithless was the main influence in that. In

‘Become One’ there’s this whole lot of content and then right at the end it just

goes [mimes] okay, and then it goes massive(!). And we were trying to write a

guitar line that was like a Faithless sorta vibe for World Pleasure. Cause once

we’d heard the first half we thought – ‘shit, it should just open up, it should just

go Faithless for the end of the album’, and we were like we gonna get a string

section, we’re gonna get all this, we’re gonna do it, but first we needed a riff. We

wasted all the studio time trying to get a riff and didn’t get one, so we were like

‘fuck what are we going to do?’. So, we went to a rehearsal room and I was

trying to get a riff, and there was nothing coming and I got a call from the record

label who were like ‘how’s the riff coming?’ and so I went out and was saying ‘I

can’t do it, there’s fucking nothing coming, we’re gonna have to scrap the song

and record something else.’ And then he just said to go back in and try

something completely different and I walked in the room and Sam was playing

something and I realised ‘It’s a bass solo – it’s a fucking bass solo!’ and said to

Sam ‘play something, more of that shit, move down an octave and all that’ and

dude, it was a fucking bass solo, not a riff. We all started jamming it and fucking

got it. We went back to the studio and Jim was like ‘Ohhh! Fuck!’, cause Jim’s a

bass player as well and we thought it was a bit Scream, and a bit Sympathy for

the Devil

 

Circ: But Scream in the best kinda way!

 

Peace: I went up to Bobby Gillespie recently, saw him at a party and thought

‘fuck, I have to go up to him’, and said ‘Bobby, you don’t know me but I’m in a

band called Peace and there’s this track on our new record. It’s called World

Pleasure, just don’t sue us. You ripped off the Rolling Stones, you can’t sue us

for that!’ He said, ‘If I was gonna sue you, I’d have done it for Higher Than The

Sun’ and it was just so good! I love him! So, anyway, as soon as we started

recording that bassline, everything was together. That was in Dean St.

The interview was filled with remarks like this from Harrison and Dom, and was well

summated when I asked about the complexities regarding acknowledging one’s own musical

‘heritage’ as a ‘filerting down through the ages’, Peace replied:

Yeah, it’s influence! It’s better to wear it on your sleeve than pretend to be. I try

to be as genuine as I can with everything. I’ll never put on an act. I’ll be honest,

the first time we were doing California Daze, I was trying to rip off Stairway to

Heaven, but it didn’t work, do you know what I mean?

and what resulted from Harrison’s unashamed attempt to copy Led Zep was something

entirely different. When as listeners and/or creators we think about the processes we involve

ourselves in, it’s necessary to know that originality is becoming something more and more

worthless. Things have been done before, but just because they have is not to make them

untouchable, or the revivalist (or more generally, ‘inspired by’) culture disvalued. At the core

of this lies the fact that musicians are fundamentally not the same people – as much as

Harrison Koisser was trying to emulate Jimmy Page, he at essence is not Jimmy Page and so

the product is different. Any musician worth attention, however heavy their influences, will

always necessarily bring something new to the fore, they will innovate. Music and genre are

not and should not be static, but fluid. Peace, a band coming to the popular consciousness at

the moment of their second album are real testimony to this.

Where In Love, their debut album was self-confessedly ‘a bit like throwing it at a wall and

seeing what stuck’, it seems that Happy People will be an album of synthesis and unabashed

influence and inheritance. With themes in the lyrics becoming increasingly socially

conscious: ‘I’m A Girl’ as pro-androgyny and anti-gender-fixity and ‘World Pleasure’

consciously egalitarian and anti-Thatcher (see video for Harrison’s parody) Peace’s release

promises to be multiply engaging.

 

Circ: we were talking about this on the way here, and generally it feels like

there’s a difference lyrically between this album and the last one

 

Peace: Yeah, thing is I’m definitely not trying to become a politician, or at least

not yet, because I think that’d be really disingenuous to try and do that. I think

it’s just the fact that I’m a bit older and slightly more aware. And I’m just trying

to be as honest as possible and some people think it’s a bit dumb, but that’s just

me. I’m going to be completely honest with the way I feel about things.

 

Circ: The lyrical hook of I’m A Girl doesn’t seem disingenuous, it seems pretty

in-touch. I was chuffed when I listened to it. I felt like someone was doing

something that’s engaged.

 

Peace: that’s good, I’m glad. It’s particularly nice for that kind of message to be conveyed by guys.

Peace: totally. It’d been something I’d been working on for some time before,

maybe 5 years ago, before the band and all that. Because now I can wear

whatever the fuck I want. I’ve got 5-inch heels with goldfish in which I can wear

on the casual and that’s fine – I can strut around North London and it’s fine. I

wear make-up a lot now and doing things with my appearance and it’s like, fuck

I can do that now. I can do this visually, regardless of the way that I feel, but

then the song started more about 5 years ago when all that wasn’t acceptable.

People who aren’t in a band that’s not in the NME shouldn’t feel that way at all,

I guess the song became this big thing about the way that I feel over the way that

I look over the course of writing it. And it was a slow process writing it, it wasn’t

quick. I guess it might have actually come over a week, but for a song that’s

kinda a long time. I was sending it to the guy at the label a lot and he was saying

to be more straightforward because at first I was using loads of metaphors and

trying to be trendy in it and he was saying to me ‘no man, just spell it out, what

you’re trying to say. Write exactly what you think’. And then I came to him with

the final chorus and he was like [makes explosion sound]

 

Peace over time have become more comfortable: aware of their influences but sure of their

own sound and purpose as musicians. Through this self-assuredness organically comes

something new and exciting both recorded and live. The evening saw them play tracks

spanning all three releases with equal emotional force to the extent that a stand-out track was

not apparent; all were very impressive. As far as what to look out for in the new release, Dom

told us ‘O You’, the swooning opener to Happy People with a characteristic big-hit Peace

chorus, and Harrison the title-track which he put as the most experimental number to date,

incorporating all that they’ve learned thus far, whilst paying homage to the trace-influenced

days of ‘1998 (Delicious)’ of their debut EP.

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