When I first sit down at The Joiners with Peace, it’s all quite normal; just four guys from Birmingham sitting and chatting over a curry. It’s quite hard to see them as the four-piece that in 3 hours will be playing to a sold-out crowd; let alone are being heralded as the ‘next generation of indie’.
Peace ‘Interview’? It’s just like a chat
Unlike some other contemporaries in the ‘revival indie’ scene, Peace had quite a straight forward beginning. “Sam and Harry are brothers; Dom and I met in high school and then Harry and Dom met in college,” Doug Castle, guitarist offers. “We just sort of set up a band practice and then it all just came together.”
“We have always been doing musical things throughout our lives and so eventually it just happened.” Sam Koisser (bassist) agrees.
When watching them, it is easy to see exactly how Peace came out of the early jamming sessions. They have an easy camaraderie; which is probably why within a few minutes of beginning to eat Doug and Dom (Boyce, drummer) are brandishing broccoli florets at one another—with “eat your greens” being shouted before the curry-covered broccoli ends up going all over Dom.
BRINGING PEACE TO THE WORLD
The first signs of Peace appeared back in 2010, although no one really started to take notice until late 2011 when word started to circulate. “We were playing around and together for about a year and no one knew who we were.” Doug says.
Then their EP, Delicious, was released earlier this year and “things started to happen… [this year] it all went pretty fast.” Harry Koisser, the younger of the two siblings as well as guitarist and vocalist, concedes. In fact since the EP arrived in September the band have gone on to do a headline tour around the country as well as being added to the NME Awards tour next spring.
The EP itself is a 4 track, broad spectrum run through exactly what Peace can do. “[We chose those songs] because they were more diverse. They’re four tracks that were all very different and so gave a really wide and good taste of what we were about.” Harry says—and he’s not wrong. ‘Bloodshake’ (renamed from ‘Bblood’) is a delicious tropical number with a guitar riff you’re actually likely to sing along to. The EP also contains a cover of Binary Finary’s trance track 1998, completely reworked—something not a lot of people would expect. “1998 was our chance to get out and experiment. Like it would be weird if that was on an album but on an EP it just comes together and makes a lot of sense. It was a great opportunity with that, got to grips with things,” Doug explains.
The album artwork has been somewhat of a sticking point too—people trying desperately to link the watermelon to some higher and deeper meaning. Although, according to Harry, it’s a lot simpler than people think. “My friend Layla and I were on our way to a party and we bought a watermelon—I don’t even know why—and then hollowed it out and were drinking out of it. And we’d just recorded the EP and I was like, ‘we’re going to put a watermelon on the cover, watermelons are so cool’ and afterwards I was like ‘fuck, got to be a man of my word’.”
2012 has been exciting for Peace in other ways beyond their EP. They’ve received quite a lot of attention from the media, recently culminating in their long-listing in the ‘Sound of 2013’ poll. You would expect the hype to cause some added pressure—but Harry’s rather casual about it when asked; instead seeing it as a positive sign. “I guess it’s just sort of like a compliment when people like stuff and catch on to it. I guess it gives a certain level of expectation but we’re not really worried by that. I reckon we can deal with that pressure, if there really is any at all. I don’t think we really stop to think about it.”
The band certainly don’t seem to show that they’ve been influenced by the hype; in fact they’re refreshingly down to earth. They’ve got a festive rider and have been collecting Christmas cards off venues and fans alike during their tour. They’ve also been watching Love Actually on a regular basis (Doug only saw it one and a half times the day I met them; whilst the other members of Peace had watched it twice—and when I ask why, I get looked at like I may be missing braincells for even needing a reason). They’ve also got a perchance to argue over food as a second fight breaks out between Dom and Doug… this time over a tomato.
“I was fucking saving that!” Doug says of the stolen tomato Dom is currently enjoying. “It was meant to be a refreshing end to my meal.” It’s almost incredible to watch it unfold as the interview grinds to a halt until #tomatogate2012 is resolved.
The Southampton show is the penultimate day of their current tour, so obviously talk turns to how they’ve found it. Everyone is in agreement that it has been a “long lot of fun” but the crowd reaction has taken them aback “[I’ve been surprised] how up for it people have been. They’ve been in to it, jumping around.” Doug says; and later this evening such enthusiasm will be continued when the crowd will stage-invade during ‘Bloodshake’.
“It’s been really exciting to be playing places other than just the circuit in Birmingham.” Sam begins before #tomatogate2012 rears its’ head again due to Doug leaving the offending tomato after all the commotion. “It’s been really nice to be playing these really small shows and have them be as good as the shows in London and Birmingham have been. It’s nice to see the rest of the country start catching up and getting as interested in us.”
PEACE IN THE FUTURE?
It’s no secret to say some of indie’s biggest new hype bands are due to release their debut albums in 2013—Peace are just one of the names on this list. Their next single, Wraith, is due out on 13th January, but as of yet there’s nothing solidly confirmed about the album. When I ask Harry to describe the album he tells me that he “guesses it sounds like if they were ever to make an album this is what it would sound like,”—something that suggests the band are keeping everything as top secret as they possibly can, a mystery I can fully support. Doug, however, lends one exciting tidbit “we recorded it all live”.
As for the recording process itself, they’ve ended up with “more songs on it that are actual songs” which have been recorded alongside Jim Abbiss (of Arctic Monkeys and Adele fame) in Chapel Studios, where Delicious was all recorded. All in all it sounds like it has all the makings of a brilliant album, especially considering there’s an argument over whether they can have album favourites and whether Dom can tell me his favourite track (in short the answer was eventually decided to be no, disappointingly).
When I ask Peace what’s even further in the future—it doesn’t seem like they’ve stopped to consider it, very much suggesting that the band are taking everything as it comes, something that shows at their gigs.
“Even more gigs in even more countries” Sam answers before his brother adds: “Or get old and be alone—and be known as the band that almost made it. Living out our days in misery by ourselves,” giving the impression that Peace are very much a band who are in it for the love, for as long as it lasts.