Peace - Interview - 2012
27 Sep 2012
"We sat down with the Peace boys on a quiet Thursday afternoon in an East London pub. Having just wrapped a video for song ‘Blood Shake’ the previous day and venturing into the studio to start recording their debut album the next day, we guessed a mildly tame interview would be on the cards. What we should have learnt by now amidst the mischievous billboards and random trance covers is to expect the unexpected from Peace..."
We sat down with the Peace boys on a quiet Thursday afternoon in an East London pub. Having just wrapped a video for song ‘Blood Shake’ the previous day and venturing into the studio to start recording their debut album the next day, we guessed a mildly tame interview would be on the cards. What we should have learnt by now amidst the mischievous billboards and random trance covers is to expect the unexpected from Harrison Koisser, Samuel Koisser, Douglas Castle and Dominic Boyce. With half of them hung over from the night before and the other half beginning to ‘get back on it’ as you do, what ensued included small domestics over whose memory was better, admissions of kidnapping friends and a heartfelt love for their fellow musicians...
RFB: Hi boys. I think the first question that needs to be asked is: how did Peace form?
Harry: I met Dom Boyce but I don’t think he really liked me.
Dom: There’s some truth in that. A girl told me that Harry had pushed her down the stairs
Harry: When actually she fell over in her bedroom.
Dom: So naturally my immediate response to that was ‘right, let’s find this guy and give him my...number…’
Harry: You were a fool; you rolled up your sleeves and came over to me
Dom: I didn’t roll up my sleeves; my sleeves are always rolled up.
Harry: No, they were unrolled, and the buttons weren’t done up.
Dom: No, I was wearing a jumper actually…
Harry: No you weren’t, you were wearing a shirt and I know the exact shirt you were wearing.
Dom: I was wearing an animal jumper and trackie bottoms.
Harry: No you weren’t, you were wearing a shirt.
Dom: No actually, I know I wasn’t for a fact.
Harry: Right ok, fair play.
RFB: Right OK! Harry and Dom didn’t like each other…
Harry: And then we became friends over a mutual love of Led Zeppelin.
Dom: No, we bonded over drumming actually! We both turned up at college on the induction day and had decided to take drama and he was wearing a Zildjian t-shirt.
Harry: And then the teacher paired us off cos she was like ‘Oh you two obviously know each other’ and I thought ‘Oh for fucks sake it’s that weird hippy chav guy.’
Dom: You looked like a hippy but you acted like a chav, I never understood it.
Doug: I was in an instrumental funk band with Dom. It was love at first sight.
Dom: I can remember our first conversation as well.
Dom: I was playing table tennis and Doug came up to me and said ‘Did you win or lose?’ and I said... ‘yes’.
RFB: And did you win or did you lose?
Dom (in a serious tone): I always win.
Harry: Sam and I are brothers.
Sam: I spent a year and a half twiddling my thumbs and then Harry was born and I was like ‘finally!’
RFB: So how long has PEACE actually been together?
Harry: Collectively we’ve all been playing music together one way or another for a long time. I think it was around 2010. I wanted to be in a band with our friend Wolfgang but then he’d started his own band which turned out to be Swim Deep.
RFB: I see. So did the Birmingham bands who have been making waves lately such as Swim Deep, Troumaca, Peace etc all form around the same time?
Harry: Yeah. I think it was actually really close timing, I think we all probably started around the same time.
RFB: So was there a gang mentality amongst the scene?
Harry: Troumaca were a bit older and they had more experience and the confidence to put on nights. Their singer put on shows and we started playing them then we put on our own gigs. It was kind of like socially we all met and then realised we were all in bands. I’ve known Austin, the singer from Swim Deep for a long time, we went to college together. Then Cav who plays bass for Swim Deep originally used to come on tour with us and sell merchandise.
Doug: We met him in the centre ofBirmingham and made him get in our van and all he had was a phone battery, a pair of pants and, maybe, a packet of quavers.
Harry: We pulled up and were like ‘Cav we’re going on tour for two weeks, get in the van’ and he came.
RFB: So those were the early days when you were playing small shows in your home town. Fast forward to now and you just finished shooting your second video for EP track 'Bloodshake’. What can we expect from this video?
Doug: It’s kind of a performance based video with a shit load of green screen, snakes and fire.
Harry: If you’ve ever set fire to a white Fender Stratocaster with a fish hanging around its neck, you’ll know what it feels like. I know what it feels like now and it feels good.
RFB: Sounds pretty wild. I hear you used the same director, Jake Harmer as you did for first video ‘Follow Baby?’
Harry: Yeah, it was a really fun day.
Doug: It’s important to keep those sort of ties.
Sam: Yeah because if it’s someone you’ve worked with before, you know you’re going to get on with them.
Harry: Yeah, something really clicked when we were discussing this video; we just sort of really realised what it was we wanted to do.
RFB: I suppose the video would tie in nicely with your recent release EP Delicious. Was an EP always on the cards?
Sam: Yeah because the albums going to be a while and we felt like we needed to do something. It was something in our heads before we even got signed. We wanted more people to hear more music before the album.
Doug: With the EP it’s the chance to mess around and do shit you don’t wanna put on an album. It’s an experiment.
Harry: I wanted to do 3 EP’s in one year. Wasn’t it the Libertines who did 3 EP’s in one year?
Doug: We’re just sort of teasing the EP, there’s no actual single. With California Daze it was just sort of like, we were really proud of that song and it felt stupid to not show the world.
Sam: And it was kind of a departure from what people have heard from us before so we were taking a bit of a gamble, letting people see a different side.
RFB: Speaking of departures from the norm, whose idea was the Binary Finary cover?
Harry: It was something I really wanted to do. I was kind of inspired by Joe and Will Ask. They did a cover of ‘1998’ a few years ago and I thought it was cool. They did it more in a trance/techy style though.
Doug: It was something we tried to do a couple of times and it didn’t work but then we went into the studio and we benefitted from just doing it there and not knowing how it was going to work out.
Is there a story behind the watermelon that’s taken centre stage of your EP cover?
Harry: It all started at a party at Tobi O’Kandi’s house (singer from O. Children.) On the way I picked up a watermelon and then I was drinking vodka through it thinking, ‘this aint so bad’ and then I think I actually said to someone, ‘I’m gonna put a watermelon on the next release cover, I fucking love watermelons’ and I’m a man of my word. We collaborated with Sam Coldy on the artwork for the ‘Delicious EP’ and he really dug the idea. He did the single artwork for ‘Follow Baby’ as well.
RFB: Ah, keeping the old ties again. So you just mentioned a friend from one of the bands of the current ‘scene’, O. Children. How do you feel being part of this surge of new bands such as Spector, Splaash, Waaves, Swim Deep, O Children etc. You’re all quite different – is there any friendly rivalry or do you all support each other?
Harry: Yeah I mean we’re all friends. We all have fun together. I think everybody’s coming from the same place.
Doug: I think there’s some bands out there who can be a bit competitive so it’s kind of nice with these guys that no matter where you are with your music, whether you’ve done two albums or no albums – it doesn’t matter. You can still be friends and talk about music regardless of bullshit status or whatever that someone might think we have.
RFB: Are there any local bands from your own area you want to take the opportunity to recommend?
Harry: I heard Jaws are really good. They’re supporting us at the Barfly on the 27th.
Doug: There’s an amazing electronic band called Free School from Birmingham, they’re something pretty special I think. They’re really interesting. There’s also a band called Wide Eyed who are awesome.
RFB: It must be time to start recording the album now…
Doug: We’re starting the album tomorrow at the Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire. That’s where we did the EP. Some amazing bands have recorded there.
RFB: What’s the recording process with you guys – sounds like you enjoy working things out in the studio.
Harry: We’re still deciding. I think there’s a certain amount of work you should leave yourself to do in the studio. If you don’t give yourself time to be creative in the studio I think you’re going to get a record that sounds kind of... makes a weird face. We haven’t discussed the track listing in too much detail. We want to go in, get all the material on the table and get creative with it. We don’t really know what to expect. We don’t know what it’s going to be like yet. It’s an experiment.
RFB: So having signed with a major label (Columbia), do you feel a lot of pressure has been bestowed upon you for the first album?
Harry: They’re really cool actually. We feel really well supported. They know the score
Doug: It’s a collaborative effort, everyone’s pulling their weight in the same direction. So long as everyone is going the same way it’ll be ok.
Harry: They’re just enabling us to do what we’ve always wanted to do which is good because we’ve always had a lot of ideas but sometimes they’re hard to do by yourself. They let us do a ten minute song on our first ever release so they must be ok! They’re either on board with everything we do or we’re just not listening to what they’re saying.
Doug: They could be trying to use reverse psychology on us and we’re just not getting it at all.
RFB: Doing what you want is a philosophy Peace is quite recognised for by now, so let’s end with you explaining the billboard you had put up in Birmingham.
Harry: I basically told Columbia we wouldn’t sign unless they got us a billboard with our faces on that says ‘what the fuck Birmingham.’ It was literally a joke but they put it in the contract. The contract actually got delayed because of the billboard. Actually I’m going stop saying it was a joke, I’m going to say I was serious about it…
It was at this point that some inhibitions were significantly lowered and answers became sparser. As the suggestion of more drinks arose and pints began to land on the table, we decided to leave them to it. Peace are band currently enjoying one of the most exciting parts in any bands career, they're writing incredible songs, playing spectacular live shows and having all their pints paid for - not bad for four kids from Birmingham. not bad for four kids from anywhere.
Read our review of EP Delicious HERE
Listen to our exclusive Peace RFB mixtape HERE
Peace headline the Barfly tonight - check back tomorrow for a review of the show. EP Delicious is out now.