Peace is the Birmingham-based indie-rock quartet that begun to create quite a stir across the UK for their impressive debut album, energetic live shows and crazy party antics.
The band have been at the forefront to the rebuild of recognition to the Birmingham music scene, following on from their signing to Columbia Records as well as supporting the likes of Manic Street Preachers, The Vaccines and Mystery Jets.
However 2013 is their year, as they featured on the nominations list for BBC Sound of 2013 poll, performed on the NME Awards Tour and now set to venture over to the US and Japan amidst a string of UK festival dates.
Fortitude Magazine caught up with vocalist and guitarist Harry “Harrison” Koisser prior to their performance in Preston’s 53 Degrees last night. This is what he had to say:
Hey Harry! How are you today?
Hey! I’m good thank you.
First of all, do you mind explaining how Peace came to form?
We all finished education and we were in a band in college, then that is how we all met each other but that finished when education finished too.
Dom chose to move to Birmingham, whilst me and Doug spent all of our time up there just larking around. We had a lot of friends in Birmingham, so we just started the band as it seemed natural and was just something to do. It has worked.
Talking about Birmingham, how do you feel the local music scene promoters, like Catapult Club, Birmingham Promoters and Counteract Magazine, supported your development?
At first, we did a lot of things by ourselves. A bit further on, we did shows for Carlo (Birmingham Promoters) and Simon Bailey (The Twang’s manager) is a great guy; he put us on a few shows early on. It’s just a great scene.
‘Follow Baby’ has picked up some high levelled interest by Radio 1, The Guardian, NME and other national publications, what do you feel it was that encouraged the media to be engrossed by your music?
We were juggling where we were and we did quite a lot of shows in London. I think we almost exclusively played The Old Blue Last for like a year.
We played a pub in South London, where the editor of NME lived, and she randomly come to see us in New Cross. That is how everything really came about, as she was married to A&R for Columbia Records that ended up signing us. So, that’s mostly how NME knew.
We used to set off confetti cannons, even if they were an empty venue. We actually painted a peace symbol on the side of The Old Blue Last. We were just having fun. That was that.
Ollie (Hodge), the A&R guy for Columbia, saw that we were doing a show in Dom’s house in Edgbaston. He decided to come up to this party, as he wanted to see our shows in Birmingham, and it was insane. It was like Christmas 2010, I think. He pretty much signed us straight after the party.
However, I suppose that press started hearing wind that there were people having fun in Birmingham and making good music, so maybe that’s why national media started focusing a little more on Birmingham than waiting for every band to travel to London.
You went on to support the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Vaccines and the Mystery Jets on UK tours, when did you begin to notice that being in the band was no longer just you larking around and becoming a full-time occupation?
Well, when we recorded the EP, we were still larking about at that point, even with Manic Street Preachers. We were still in the back of our old s**t van and travelling six hours a day.
It begun to feel more of a job when we started to notice that we had enough money to get through the month, so we didn’t have to borrow money or starve. We could afford to buy new guitars, basically not always living on nothing. However, none of us are rich in any stretch of the imagination.
…. You can afford to pay the bills at the end of the month though?
That is it precisely. We are touring so much nowadays that everything has become streamlined, like we’ve got a crew that have to help us out and stuff. It’s definitely still the same energy that we had, but we’re a lot more conscious that this is now something a little more serious.
Although you failed to make the BBC Sound Of 2013 shortlist, you were nominated, how surprised are you by the recognition that you’ve already obtained so earlier into your careers?
It’s mad. I didn’t even know what it was. It seemed like some pop thing, as Jessie J won it or something a few years back, but yes it was weird. I never expected us to even be near that. It’s just a little weird.
Prior to your album release, you were invited on the NME Awards Tour 2013 alongside Django Django, Miles Kane and Palma Violets, how was that experience?
It was really fun. It was a proper good tour. It was the first big tour that we had done of that size venue and we were opening up for everyone, so we still had time to lark about. It was very good training.
As I mentioned, your album ‘In Love’ has now been released and peaked at 16 in the Official UK Album Charts; many musicians now cast aside the importance of the charts but does it still feel quite satisfying to know that you’re already a Top 20 charting band?
I guess it is quite satisfying. I never really check the charts any more, or spend the time to wonder how a band I like have been placed in those, but like it is really cool. It is starting to show that good things can happen to pop music, or popular music, and it’s beginning to go on the up.
You worked with Mercury Music Prize winner Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, Adele) on the album, how did this collaboration come about?
He came and saw us in Cambridge, last year, then walked straight into the backroom like, “Right, lets talking about recording. I’m Jim and I record stuff”. He, then, went on to discuss how we can do it and when. By the time he left, we had already confirmed to record an EP with him.
Then, he went straight to the label to talk to them to get in confirmed. He gets what he wants and he doesn’t f**k about. We went in and did the EP in like a week or 9 days. Then, straight after that, he was like “lets do an album together”, so we were just like, “Yes, lets do an album”. That was that.
It must be quite satisfying to know that someone of that calibre was that interested and dedicated at hunting you down to work with you …
Yes, definitely. I didn’t think he’d be interested at all, but somehow he had heard about us and it all came out pretty cool.
You’re now out celebrating the release on tour, with you playing Preston tonight, what are people missing out by not witnessing a Peace live performance – apart from confetti cannons?
A bloody good time. All these shows have been insane, I won’t say insane, they’ve been pretty lively. I think they should expect a bit of a boogwa, a boogie, it has just been very lively. It’s very good and a lot of fun I imagine. I don’t know I’ve never attended one, well in the audience anyway. People should expect to be changed by our live shows (laughs).
Your touring scheduling is on-going through the whole of Spring and Summer, including a venture to the US and Japan. Do you have any particular dates in your tour schedule that you are eagerly anticipating?
Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds (Festival) without a doubt.
Are you nervous for your first venture to the US and Japan?
No. It will be a breeze won’t it?
Our final question; other than yourselves, who else should us and our readers be checking out right now?
Superfood. The band that is currently out on tour with us. They’ve been friends with us all for a long time, their singer helped me record demos that went on to get us signed. He has been here since day one. This is now his own band and they’re brilliant.
As you can see, their recent success hasn’t altered Harry’s perceptions and ideals for the future. Unfortunately, Peace’s party antics got a little carried away last night, however, as it has been reported a member of their crew was arrested.
Why not check out their latest video for ‘Follow Baby’ below: