NEWS

Interview: Peace

13/04/2018

After three years of silence, Peace are back – new album, new record label, new sound, same industry defying attitude.

‘Kindness Is The New Rock and Roll’, due to be released this April, is the band’s third studio album and to frontman Harry Koisser, marks the rebirth of Peace as a force for positive change in a music industry defined by saturation and mundanity.

Since the release of their second album, Happy People’, and the subsequent tour in 2015, Peace seemed to disappear, leaving legions of devoted fans asking ‘where?’ and ‘why?’. The answer, the studio, in the small town of Woodstock (yes, like the festival), New York to be exact, to work on what is shaping up to be the Worcester quartet’s seminal work.

“We started writing the first song that’s made it on to the record in the summer of 2015” Harry reflects, a day after the album’s second single ‘Power’ hit the airwaves for the first time in 2018. “Then we’ve been working on it fairly non-stop since the end of 2015, all the way through to recording it in September last year – so, it took a pretty long time, almost two and a half years.”

Spending this amount of time on the album was all a part of the plan, however, as the band knew they wanted this album to sound different from their previous two offerings. “We wanted to have like a year of inactivity and then work on it over a long period of time because we did our second album and our first album very very fast” explains Harry. “I think the last album was truly all over the place, but it was a very…experimental album, whereas this album felt more focused on just trying to find the live power of the band and put it on record.”

After so long in the making, the b-town boys finally set things in stone, tucked away in small town America, armed with sugar, spice and everything nice (and a few guitars), ‘Kindness Is The New Rock and Roll’ was born. You’d think recording an album and all the pressures that come with it must be pretty stressful – not for Harry and the Peace team, it was a breeze. “The actual recording of this album, the final commitment to getting it down on record was the most enjoyable part, to be honest. We went to Woodstock to get away from it all and it was just a completely new experience for us recording in an environment like that – it was really exciting.

“I remember hearing the album back for the first time, it was really strange, because in the past every time I’ve heard something back, I’ve freaked out and changed it a million ways and eventually had to change it back to how it originally sounded. But, this time we heard it and we just loved it, we didn’t make any big adjustments – that was it, we got sent the records fully-mixed from Ryan, our producer, and we just said ‘yup, it’s done’ – that’s the first time that’s ever happened.”

The album then takes a more sombre, melancholic turn as you journey through the track list, with ‘From Under Liquid Glass’ standing out as one of the most important songs on the record, due to its poignant and personal account of Harry’s struggles with his own mental health. “I didn’t find it too difficult writing ‘From Under Liquid Glass’, because I didn’t write the song for the band really” explains Harry. “It started as a bit of a cathartic process writing it, and then I just started showing it to more and more people on our team – so actually writing it was really comfortable. I guess there were some moments where I kind of doubted if I wanted to use a song that was that so personal on the record, but then that’s the whole point of being in a band isn’t it? That act of committing every part of yourself to the art, rather than using the art to hide that part of you.

“The fan feedback for ‘From Under Liquid Glass’ has been really great. We’ve had lots of people message us saying they’ve found comfort in the song, which is why I thought it was the right move to release it in the end – if people can find comfort in the song or just feel less alone, then that’s job done.”

As much as Peace wanted to maintain the energy they’re famous for on this new album, they also wanted to concentrate more so on constructing a sonic journey of sorts for the listener. “I didn’t want to just do banger, after banger, after banger” Harry asserted confidently as he described the purpose of the album. “We can really sort of churn out big, explosive, instrumental music now, that’s what we’re really good at and we do a lot of that in our live shows – but for this record to serve its purpose, I felt like it needed those moments, but also a lot more stuff that translates on to record better.

“We wanted that sort of front-end energy, then for the end, we wanted the listener to bliss-out a little bit. We wanted a different shape to the record in comparison to the previous two that were just full throttle from the off. I remember when we decided to release ‘Power’ as the second single a few months back, I felt like our fans were begging for something new from us musically – so I knew it had to be this big, empowering track. It’s literally about power in music, the music giving people the power to do whatever it is they need to do. Whatever it f**king is that you’ve got to do, put that tune on and get it done.”

Peace

Peace have always been a positive energy within the music industry, their laid-back attitude and blissful aura has played a big part in bringing them from backroom obscurity, to knocking on the front door of the mainstream’s party, a party they’re determined to crash. But, Peace are no longer looking to be accepted by the mainstream, they’re looking to redefine it. “Peace are 100% going to make positivity cool again” Harry exclaimed with a tone of humorous defiance. “The thing is, everything about Peace has always been that we’re really uncool and that’s what makes us cool… because we don’t care. You know, even being called Peace as a band, everyone said that was a s**t name…and it turned out to be a great name, because we didn’t care’

Speaking to Harry, it’s clear that he’s confident about what his band can achieve and he knows exactly how he wants to do it. Armed with a hippy-like anti-establishment outlook, countered with not taking himself too seriously, Harry knows this album probably won’t change the world, but every little helps (cheers Tesco) and ‘Kindness is the New Rock and Roll’ is Peace’s way of putting a flower in the rifle of the music industry.

Despite this, it’s near to impossible to get anywhere in the music world without some industry backing, and Peace have accepted this, but on their own terms. At the end of 2017, Peace left US giants Columbia Records, home to artists like Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Harry Styles, singing a new deal with Ignition Records, a label famed for birthing acts such as Oasis, Primal Scream and The Courteeners. For Harry, this move felt natural for the band. “It felt like the right move for Peace, we needed people who understood the record that we were about to make and Ignition just backed us – there was no hard sell, they were like ‘this is a record we want to make’ – so that was great.”

Peace head up to Geordie land this summer, headlining Meet The North festivalAs well as well-known acts like Peace, Meet The North festival also looks to celebrate the region’s wealth of local talent, showcasing some of the best up and coming artists the North East has to offer. With memories of Peace grinding their way up the bill on the UK gig circuit fresh in his mind, Harry has some advice for bands trying to make it in the industry: “Stick to your guns. I spent so much time second-guessing myself and changing things that didn’t need to be changed over the years, going around in circles, when really, it’s better if you’ve got an idea to just go with it, see it out and be patient.”

‘Kindness is the New Rock and Roll’ could well be the album that defines Peace in the future, it’s an album that seems to reflect exactly who they are as people – a group of lads that just want to do their bit to make the world a happier place, and they want to have a laugh while they do it. When asked about his hopes for the rest of 2018, Harry replied: “I just hope that it [the album] saves the world from apocalypse and a hellish dystopia, that’s the only expectation I have.”

Words: Johnathan Ramsay


Make sure you get down to Meet the North Festival on 5th May to watch Peace headline at Riverside.

The festival is part of a wider event taking place across the weekend called Hit the North which sees acts such as The Horrors, Drenge, Circa Waves and Tom Grennan play Newcastle City Centre.

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