British rock quartet Peace have had that much industry back-patting since releasing their debut album, In Love, their skin must be stinging. Among the heavyweights lining up to applaud the efforts of the youngsters is the tastemaking NME – but rather than jumping on a bandwagon, that particular publication was there from the beginning.
“We played in a pub in London and the editor of NME had just gotten back from holiday and happened to be in there,” singer Harrison Koisser explains. “Her husband works at Columbia and that’s how we got signed; right place, right time. It was weird because we weren’t even gonna play the show and then decided to at the last minute.”
While Peace have proven they have every right to be the flavour of the month – delivering killer sets at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, T In The Park and Bestival along with support slots for The Vaccines and Mystery Jets – they do fall victim to the odd display of grandiosity. They’ve let off fireworks on stage, staggered their way through explosive gigs and Koisser has even donned the cheesy double neck guitar. But nothing can compare to the infamous message they posted to their hometown, Birmingham. While they were being courted by Columbia, Peace made one simple request: once signed, they wanted a billboard erected in their hometown with a picture of the band and the caption, “WHAT THE FCK BIRMINGHAM”. “There are lots of pictures of that and it’s totally true,” Koisser laughs. “It was both a celebration and a bit of a ‘fuck you’ as well; mainly just to everyone who didn’t take us seriously. There were a lot of people in Birmingham who didn’t really give any respect and thought that we weren’t cool, or whatever – there wasn’t a lot of support.”
Support is certainly no problem these days, as Koisser explains the band is enjoying “one long, consistent high” at the moment and Glastonbury was an icing of sorts on that cake. “It was great and magical, almost spooky,” he says. “It is one of the big boxes to tick. I missed most of the bands I wanted to see but I had a lot of fun just with friends. I did the classic festival journey – miss all the bands you actually go to see and still have a great time.” But seriously, debuting the double neck guitar at Glastonbury seems like a fairly indulgent gesture. “Of course not – that was for everyone else [laughs]. It’s so damn hard to play. That was another box ticked off though. I bought that guitar because I’d just always seen Pete Townshend with one of them, and Jimmy Page, so I’d wanted it since I was a child. I guess I had to use it live once and yeah, that was probably it.”
Peace’s cavalier attitude doesn’t mean they don’t care about what they do – they still work hard and Koisser is proud of how they’ve grown as a band – but if his sleepy and carefree tone is anything to go buy, the fun is paramount. “It’s been the little things really,” he says of the band’s improvement. “It’s probably unnoticeable to anyone else but I notice it. It’s all fairly natural and chilled though, apart from the fact I apparently always say ‘ooookay’ [onstage], but we don’t do that scripted thing. Or like, you know when band members look at each other, into each other’s eyes and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah’? I can’t do that. I just can’t do it.” All a little too homoerotic? “Yeah, it’s like that isn’t it?” Koisser laughs. “It’s all about us and the audience. I would like to say that we’re not very self-indulgent on stage but in saying that we do usually play, like, ten-minute songs.”
Now the band has the job of following up their ‘industry darlings’ tag with album number two, ensuring the investment made in them by the powers that be doesn’t go to waste. “Album two is a confusing one,” says Koisser. “I’m gonna try and never think about it and yet think about it subconsciously the whole time we’re touring. I didn’t really write many songs before we got signed, I wrote them quite late, so I’m used to writing under pressure. I think I’ll be alright. I guess at first we had no idea what we were doing and now, I dunno, it’s all just been such a whirl. There wasn’t ever doubt but I don’t think we ever thought about it. There might be some outside pressure for the next album but that doesn’t matter ’cause I quite want to do another album as soon as, because I really think we can do it. I think we can really pull it off.”
BY KRISSI WEISS