The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Interview: Peace

The Birmingham up-and-comers talk Skrillex, Record Store Day and keeping things fun

By and

Peace seem surprisingly peaceful, given that they’ve come straight from Paris, and that the UK leg of their tour starts tonight. Come to think of it, things are starting to get quite hectic for the Birmingham quartet; being first band on at the NME tour holds quite a reputation, with names including Coldplay, Florence and the Machine and Kaiser Chiefs holding the spot previously. Not to mention the pressure from their debut album In Love, which apparently took thirty songs to write. “Well, we don’t really like to plan too far ahead you know?” explains frontman Harry Koisser. “Getting big may not be our ultimate goal, it shouldn’t be for any band.”

“Yeah our goal is to see Skrillex!” replies guitarist Douglas Castle.

Peace are to play the NME stage at this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals. “We’re excited to see Deap Vally” says Harry, before I warn him not to. “The line-up always looks kinda shit, but as you get up to it, you think, this is really good!” “When you’re there, and you finally work out you’re a massive Green Day fan, you know you’ve got a good line-up”.  It’s quite hard to tell if Peace are actually serious during the interview or whether it’s just the youthful aura of mischievous nonchalance they emit – their wardrobe, especially Harry’s, is what you’d expect from inside an old magic lamp. “Actually last year we saw At The Drive In, and no one was watching. It was really awkward” Peace watching ATDI? I thought they were more of a The Cure crowd? “Yeah we saw them too, I only really remembered about 12 minutes of it, but I was in a good place…I was just completely naked” admits Douglas. “Yeah you were wearing a dunce’s hat on your penis singing ‘Friday I’m in love’”.

“With The Cure though, their set, it’s kinda cool, like playing maybe more obscure songs for that small crowd of people. Playing those B-sides would mean so much to those people” says Doug, “Yeah chuck a B-side out there and hope for the best”. When asked why they didn’t stick their B-sides and bonus tracks onto the album, Harry explains “they’re quite straight forward songs, and it felt like the album should be more varied. They’re B-sides that aren’t online too, so it’s a chance to give it to the people who buy the vinyl, they don’t exist anywhere else. It’s a thing for the people who are really into us. It’s not just like slapping some extras on the end”.

So any rare releases for record store day? “Oh, I know what the ‘Lovesick’ b-side is, that’s gonna be great!” Something special for record store day? “Nah it’s just gonna be the next single, erm, I don’t think I should’ve announced that!” We won’t tell anyone. “I don’t think it’s announced but the B-side is going to be a karaoke version we made on midi, a really shitty electronic piano sound for the vocals and all the guitars like WHACK WHAH WHA. I made it and sent it to the label and apparently they played it in the office all week”. So Peace still see the fun side to their music then? “I’ve noticed it’s quite easy to be boring, we could have a relaxing time, but we’d rather be stressed and do something a bit more than just play shows. I guess that’s why a lot of bands lose that fun that they have at the beginning”.

It definitely feels like the creative juices have been flowing in the album, I’ve always wondered what that sound is before the solo in ‘California Daze’. “We were using a rotating wah pedal, an old Morley one. It has a drum of oil that spins and the sound is sent through that. It’s like FAH FAH FAH FAH and really loud. The sound before the solo in California daze is an organ going through that, but it broke”. “Yeah you can hear it dying in ‘Higher than the sun’ ” “Yeah it’s all in there, there’s loads of weird shit. Something breaks in ‘Toxic’, it’s an old 80s reverb pitch machine we used on some vocals that spazzes out and goes like RURGH WAH WAH in the second verse. When we were mixing it and they were taking out the blemishes, we just told em to put it back in. They took out a hi-hat squeak at a drop and we wondered what was different. They explained so we said ‘Put it back in and make it louder!’ ”.

Peace have the character that a lot of bands seem to lack today, and I can’t wait to hear about what happens next. In fact, they should definitely aspire to replace Skrillex.