Class Of 2013: Peace

They might be taking it in their stride, but things are getting serious for the B-Town boys.

If you’re feeling a bit nippy this winter, you could do a lot worse than spending a bitterly cold afternoon in London, hanging out with Peace. Unlike any band we’ve met before, they’ve turned up with not one, but two suitcases filled to bursting point with every kind of coat known to mankind. There’s fur (fake of course, before anyone sets PETA on them), a multitude of leather jackets, and more tassels than you’d expect to see this side of the Moulin Rouge. Oh, and a giant toy snake. And confetti cannons. One thing’s for sure, these boys sure know how to travel.
“There’s much more important things to think about than what you should sound like.”
Which is lucky, because this year; well, they’ve been on the road so much that they’re seemingly homesick for their beloved Birmingham. “Where is home, what is home?” bassist Sam Koisser asks us, affecting a silly, sad, ET style voice. It is, we remind him, the destination of choice for any self-respecting record label A&R at the moment, as a succession of new bands hailing from the ‘B-Town’ scene ink record deals quicker than you can say “Is this the new Madchester?”

“I just don’t like the ‘B-Town’ word anymore, I’ve heard it so much. I’d rather something like… ‘Best Midlands’.” Harry, frontman and Sam’s sibling, sighs, “The thing is, anyone that’s from a place that begins with B thinks that it belongs to them, you’re sort of making any town with a B in its name think that they’re the shit.” Guitarist Doug Castle deadpans; “Yeah, Brighton and Bournemouth hate us.” “I don’t think they hate us but, it’s a bit generic.” Harry continues, “To be fair, me and Cav from Swim Deep would often use it before it was coined as a thing. And it’s a bit weird that something that was a social jokey term is being spread nationally.”

Whilst it’s probably a bit of a shock to the system to find your inter-band jokes being repeated across this fair land by the national press, it’s likely that Peace are going to need to get used to the attention. Having chucked a demo, ‘Bblood’, out on to the internet back in 2011, the buzz around the band gently gathered momentum, with comparisons to Foals and WU LYF flowing freely.  But when EP ‘Delicious’ came along earlier this year, and lead track ‘California Daze’ showcased an entirely different, more anthemic, musical canon, it transpired that pigeonholing Peace; well, that’s a far more difficult proposition than first impressions might have suggested.

“There was never a ‘This is the image we want’ or ‘This is the sound we want to make’. It was always more just, go with the flow.” Harry muses, “But it was so different from anything we’d done, completely. I was just hoping that people would like it for being good, not necessarily a sound, or an image. We’ve tried to keep it as unconscious as possible; I remember someone saying to me, after we put our first demo online, that we needed to find the thing that would make us unique, to do something kooky that’ll put us aside from other bands. And I thought, it’s only a demo. Shut up. There’s much more important things to think about than what you should sound like. What’s for dinner?  Who’s tweeting? It’s been so long since she’s @’d me…”
 
With such a relaxed attitude, it might lead you to write Peace off as being bit blasé about their current career choice.  But with a tour that’s taken in around fifty dates so far this year, and support slots with the likes of the Mystery Jets and Manic Street Preachers, it’s clear that isn’t the case.  “Probably, for the first year that we were together, we were socialising for eighty percent of the week and only doing band stuff for twenty percent. I think that this tour is what took us from a band that didn’t really take it very seriously, to spending three months with each other every day on the road.” Harry ponders, “Mystery Jets was the first support tour we’d done, and it was with a band who were amazing. They taught us how to tour, and have fun, without fucking up. They know that you can have a really super time and not be a dick about anything.
“The band is like having a wife.”
“When we got back from that, we were like, fuck, for the foreseeable future, this is it. I do sometimes wonder if my Head Of Year at college had said, ‘In five years time, you’re going to be spending every day with Doug Castle’, whether I would have filled in that UCAS application instead.” Through the laughter, Sam interjects; “It’s not too late! The album isn’t out yet, we can still get out of this!”

But with the majority of their debut recorded, and a deal with Columbia already signed, they’re definitely too far down the line to consider a move into halls of residence, even if they did want to. Not that they actually do, of course, they’re genuinely committed to each other. “The band is like having a wife,” Harry jokes, “except that instead of these guys being a girl that I find physically attractive, we’re four guys who smell bad.” “But we’re still attractive?” his brother enquires, without perhaps considering the full implications of him being the one to ask. “Of course, you guys are fucking hot,” Harry reassures him, “The album is like having a baby. We’re gestating.”
 
Vaguely worrying (and possibly incestuous) analogies aside, it’s clear that Peace are currently one happy family. And with that sense of community stretching beyond the realms of their own band, to what appears to be one big Brummie love-fest, you can’t help but wonder if signing with a major label caused any ripples of jealousy amongst their peers. “Genuinely, everyone’s just happy for each other.” Drummer Dom opines. “The thing with all the bands in Birmingham, we’ve always helped each other out as much as we can.” Harry stipulates emphatically, “Like, with Swim Deep, even if it was getting a gig in a pub; we’ve always just done it together. No one’s bitchy at all.”
 
As they begin to gather up their many, many coats from our little studio, one thing seems certain; Peace had better get used to hauling around those suitcases full of jackets and snakes, and missing their Best Midlands.  Because having spent the last twelve months honing their musical chops, 2013 is theirs for the taking.

Taken from the December 2012 / January 2013 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.