Thursday 18 April 2013

PEACE // Interview & Live Review

Peace is “that” band; the band that everyone is talking about, that everyone is hyping for success. And you know what, everyone may just be right.  Est.1987 headed down to Manchester for the first date of their headline tour weeks after their debut album “In Love” was released. And when front-man Harrison Kossier comes out to meet us, dressed in an sailor’s suit explaining how someone in Hamburg stole his matching hat, we just know that tonight is going to be good fun...

Harrison Kossier on stage at Manchester's Club Academy

Tonight’s the first night of the tour and it’s sold out, so you’re getting off to a great start.
DOUG [Castle, guitar]- Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. It’s always nice to come back here after Europe because people know more about us and know all the songs.

Is it nice to be out on a headline tour now and have that freedom?
HARRISON [Kossier, lead singer]- Yeah, we’ve missed it. Because we did that quite a lot in the beginning and we always wanted to do our own headline stuff. And then Mystery Jets asked us to go on tour with them and we were like, we have to. Also Manic Street Preachers was one of those can’t say no moments. We then did the NME Tour and SXSW, so it’s been a while since we’ve done a headline set.
DOUG- It’s nice to be independent when you only have to think about yourself, not in a selfish way, but to make your shows as good as possible.

You were on the NME tour with Palma Violets, Miles Kane and Django Django- was that fun playing with a mix of bands?
DOUG- Yeah, every band was different. But everyone shared the same ideas on what we think about music and how we should play, so it was a nice collective.

Peace front-man Harrison Kossier
So I read that you formed Peace out of boredom?
HARRISON- It’s one of those statements that every band forms out of boredom. None of us were doing anything else that was more exciting or that we actually felt anything for. Socially as well, everything gets way more fun as soon as you’re in a band. We didn’t have any songs, but we had a band name that people liked. I can remember a girl saying “ahh I listen to your band before I go to bed”, and I was thinking, we haven’t got any songs; you just like the name Peace though. When Peace started happening everything was just better.

Did you have a “Peace sound” from the beginning or would you say that it developed organically?
DOUG- In the beginning we wanted to be a lot more dancey.
HARRISON- …It was a lot more Fabric on a Sunday night than The Purple Turtle on a Thursday evening. I guess shortly after trying to be electronic we realised that none of us can play a synthesizer or own any equipment, so we were trying to make guitars sound electronic and I guess we still have that. But we never set out to have a sound.

From the early stages you’ve been backed by the likes of The Guardian, Radio 1, NME; was it nice to have that backing or were you under pressure to deliver on the album and everything else?
HARRISON- It was really nice especially earlier, like The Guardian and the first NME stuff, but I didn’t realise that we were so different, I thought they’d have other bands on their minds. I thought that you’d have to really get up in their face to get featured, but it was really cool though.

Were you aware of the buzz around you? Were you Googling reviews etc? HARRISON- We couldn’t Google ourselves in the beginning because it was impossible. But I think we’re always one step behind where we’re actually at; we always feel like…
DOUG- I like to feel like we’re a step ahead
HARRISON- [laughing] Really? I always think “oh god, no one’s going to come to this gig” and then they’re sold out. Maybe I should be like “yeah, course we’ll sell it out”. But, no I probably shouldn’t be like that. It’s weird.

Peace on stage at their sold out show in Manchester

“In Love” (the album) has done incredibly well. It was released through major label Columbia, did that take the pressure off and allow you guys to perfect everything and take your time?
HARRISON- We could of, but we did it really fast [laughing].
DOUG- It felt like less pressure because, personally, things were made a lot easier we weren’t doing things on our own back, trying to arrange work and stuff. We had a lot more freedom and I don’t think we realised the pressure until after [laughing].

Peace's Doug Castle
Are you looking forward to fans singing along now on tour now the album is out? And see songs working live?
HARRISON- I mean, even in Paris there were people who knew all the album tracks. But we haven’t played yet in the UK since it’s been out, so we don’t know…
DOUG- People might not like us over here
HARRISON- We’ll see which tracks go down well tonight.

We couldn’t interview you without mentioning your videos. Firstly a cheeky sort of appearance from Fred Macpherson from Spector in “Bloodshake” [aka. Harrison dressed up as a very convincing Fred lookalike]. Why?
HARRISON- [laughing] Yeah, Fred leant me his clothes for it. I dunno, I was hanging out with Fred quite a bit at the time we were going to shoot the video and we had complete control over what we filmed. And I was just like “dude, lend me one of your suits and glasses” on the day of the video shoot. So we did a take of the song where I was acting like him; it’s funny how he’s on stage and pulls out his comb, and we kept it in.

And your video for “Wraith” has really divided opinion. What’s your take on it?
DOUG- I was wary about the reception of it, yeah, because it can be misunderstood.
HARRISON- I thought that everyone would get that it was the exact opposite of anything that anyone would’ve expected from us. And the director has this thing about hip-hop clichés, so every video is mocking a hip-hop video. I thought everyone would get it and it’s obviously not the type of video we would make.
DOUG- The girls found the idea really funny as well.
HARRISON- They were way more awkward than us. We had a chat and they were cool ad we thought we would feel awkward, but they felt more awkward than us; we’re not their usual clientele I guess.

So Peace, how much of peaceful band are you? Do you throw any rockstar tantrums or fights?
HARRISON- Oh, we do that and we’re peaceful too.
DOUG- There’s kind of a lot of destruction, but outward, not inward if that makes sense.
HARRISON- Yeah, you can vent your frustrations and still be peaceful.

Harrison, your brother Sam is in the band with you; do you ever have sibling rivalry or arguments?
HARRISON- Nah, we get on really well. We both do different things so it’s fine; I think if we were both trying to be front-men it wouldn’t work [laughing].
DOUG- Yeah, you two don’t do annoying brother-like squabbling and stuff.
HARRISON- Yeah, you can only do that for so long, it’s old now, it’s out of fashion; I’m such a diva, it’s out, yesterday’s news [laughing]. Being friendly is the new being unfriendly.

Being peaceful is the new being un-peaceful.

And here’s what happened when Peace took to the stage…

Peace admits that it’s been a while since the’ve played a headline UK show. However, they needn’t fear that their British fans have lost any interest as tonight’s sold out crowd is suitably prepped for their return. The room is fit to burst as Peace grace the stage. Admitting to us earlier that it is a novelty for them to have a guitar tech, laughing at how every show they’ve ever done previously they had to walk on to set-up and walk off and back on again, and they’re finding the whole experience quite cool. Almost unaware of how much of a presence they have on the UK music scene, Peace is just intent on doing what they’re doing and hoping that people want to come along for the ride; and there’s no doubt that people do.

Peace on stage at The Club Academy
Eclectic characters with an abundance of hair between them, the show is fun from the off; infectious hooks, indie-pop rhythms and honest, relatable lyrics ensure that the first night of the tour goes off with a bang. Hit Peace songs such as the upbeat, dance inducing “Bloodshake” and single “Follow Baby”, soar across the sweltering venue, whilst the rest of the set brings the album to life. Songs such as “Higher Than The Sun” takes on a psychedelic yet mellow quality to them; whilst “Toxic”, much like its name, is discordant yet undoubtedly catchy and in the next breath is smooth and slick.

Guitarist Doug Castle
“Do you ever feel like it’s all gonna be ok? You should”; some of the few words Harrison speaks all evening because tonight is ultimately about the music.  As Peace burst into single and crowd favourite “Wraith”, the hit single with its killer hook and Harrison’s raw vocals layered over the top is immediately infectious, capturing the essence and vibe of Mystery Jets whom they recently supported.

Their set is euphoric; teenage optimism and rawness in equal measure, oh and they aren’t too cool to pull off the odd dance move, knee dip and shake. A night of firsts, Peace admits that is their first ever encore. Ending the night on what can only be described as a spectacular ten minute masterpiece they take on Binary Finary’s trance classic “1998”. Its slow beginning encourages the entire room to clap along to the gradually building pace, leading to a exhilarating cacophony of sounds. An epic end to an epic evening and first night of tour. They may be hailed as the saviours of indie, (even if they don’t know it) and if they keep on doing what they’re doing then saviours they may very well be.

To read out review of Peace’s debut album “In Love” click HERE

April/May Tour Dates-
Edinburgh, Electric Circus (17)
Preston, 53 Degrees (18)
Sheffield, Leadmill (19)
Gloucester, Guildhall (21)
Bristol, Fleece (22)
Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms (23)
Brighton, Concorde 2 (24)
Reading, Sub 89 (25)
Oxford, Academy 2 (26)
Birmingham, Academy 2 (27)
London, Birthdays (30)
London, Birthdays (May 1)
London, Birthdays (2)
London, Birthdays (3)