Peace talk touring, Happy People and drinking with Bombay Bicycle Club
I am greeted at the side entrance to the O2 Apollo by Peace’s tour manager and welcomed into the building, climbing up several flights of stairs to their dressing room. In the background I can hear the faint sound of Peace sound checking ‘Lost on Me’. Meanwhile, I am sat on the sofa whilst one of the roadies tries on an oversized 1980s olive green suit, he found in a vintage shop in the Northern Quarter for a tenner… Obviously experiencing the true Mancunian lifestyle! One by one, the band walk into the room in with their baggy shirts, leather jackets and tight denim jeans. I am immediately welcomed by each band member as they each comment on my supposedly ‘interesting’ name, as I introduce myself.
Peace are over halfway through their UK tour supporting Bombay Bicycle Club, alongside up-and-coming artist Sivu. Like most bands, Peace have been touring for several years, which in drummer Dom’s opinion “the explanation as to how we have reached a level of success, although there’s probably more to it than that.” Birmingham-based Peace have done it all, from playing to small audiences in local venues, to touring round the globe. Therefore, it is surprising when frontman Harry, who is laid back on the sofa with a bottle of Bud in his hand (not helping the rock star stereotype), tells me this is only one of a few support tours the band has actually done, besides supporting Two Door Cinema Club in the United States, and the Mystery Jets in the UK. I talk to a slightly exhausted Harry and Dom who haven’t attempted recovery from all the excessive drinking and lack of sleep that goes hand in hand with touring.
Going out every single night of the tour comes with some good stories. I ask Peace to spill the beans about their favourite stories; although I am immediately shot down as the pair laugh saying, “it’s all been very inappropriate really. There’s absolutely no way we can tell you.” And of course I attempted to seek more information. Harry looks at Dom, then at their tour manager Nick and smirks. “We’ve given our tour manager a brand new name… Salmon Nick.” They all start laughing about what devilish activities the band have been up to, including coating Nick’s bunk in salmon after a night out. Dom laughs, “it’s got to that time of the year though where everyone’s just wanting to go out with a bang, we’ve got to spend the expenses, otherwise we won’t get the same next year! Everyone’s got to blow every single bit of partyness that’s inside them (not that that made any sense).” Harry runs his hand through his fiery red hair and takes a swig of beer, giggling about a night out the band had in Manchester. “I got thrown out of a bar the other night… the Soup Kitchen. Liz, the singer with BBC asked me to do the worm on the table full of guys, and obviously I was said yes, so I just got up on this table and started doing the worm really badly.” Harry laughs about knocking drinks off tables and getting thrown out of one of the Northern Quarter’s most well-known bars. He stops himself at that point, putting his serious face on.
I change the subject, asking how the tour came about. Harry responded saying “We just really wanted to do this tour! We met [Bombay Bicycle Club] in Russia and just got really smashed and thought it would be a great idea.” Dom, the drummer, chips in: “Was it Russia? I always thought it was Mexico.” The two reminisce together about their world tours whilst I sit there in awe of their amazing global adventures. Harry adds “No, it was Moscow—and we were really trashed, and were joking saying we should go on tour together… bands say that all the time, but you never really go through with the plans. When the opportunity came up later down the line, we were like fuck it, let’s do it.”
As well as all the drinking and mischief, the band say the tour is going really well, saying last night (again in Manchester) was their best night of the tour so far. I tell them I heard their sound check and I can’t help but ask if they do the dance for ‘Lost on Me’ on stage, just like they do in their music video. Dom quickly answers saying “logistically that might be quite challenging,” but really I think this is to cover up for the fact Harry claims they are really bad dancers. However, Dom does admit it was pretty cool that you could see his mum and sister doing the dance at the side of the stage in the video footage, when Peace played on the main stage at Reading festival earlier this year.
After the gossip of their current support tour, I ask Peace about their history; their influences and style of music. Harry laughs when this topic of conversation arises, agreeing it is hard to define their style, for they have been described in many ways: Rock, indie, electro, potentially even grunge. Harry smiles about their initial sound, in which he describes (a somewhat younger) Peace as a modern-day Led Zeppelin combined with elements of techno, which the pair of them agreed was quite a challenge as both styles are so different. “We don’t have one particular sound, we’re trying to amalgamate sixty years of popular culture into one band and cover it all.” The pair start giggling like mischievous school boys saying “everything was great, so we have to cover it all.”
Before Peace, the same four members formed a band called November and the Criminal. Though from what I gathered from Harry and Dom, they try to steer away from their old roots claiming it was “ambient more than anything.” Harry takes a swig of beer adding, “when we started, we thought we were the best band in the world and we were playing an ambient poetry recital with very fast heavy drumming—we listened to a little bit too much the Slits and the Libertines. It was a horrible mixture but we genuinely believed we were the best band in the world.” It seems taking a minute to breathe and reinventing themselves really did work out for the best as Peace’s second album Happy People is due to be released in February, accompanied by another UK headline tour.
I asked Peace about their recording process to find out it was all written on the road, recording the first single within the first two days of being in the studio. Dom adds, “it was almost accidentally really.” The writing of the new album commenced about a month after In Love came out taking about a year to write and record.
Harry finishes his beer and the guys start to stand up and discuss dinner. I leave the interview wanting to eat ham, egg and chips with the 4-piece rather than queuing outside in the cold waiting for the doors to the gig to open.