Peace are on their way Sheffield when I call them. They’ve just begun their first tour in years and only a week prior gifted us with their third album Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll. The record sounds as if they have become the band that Peace were always destined to be. Frontman Harry Koisser fills me in on how both himself and the band have transformed during their lull and ironically; how the twain found peace.
It’s undeniable that Peace have dedicated fans. If you’re lucky you’ll spot cult members in the wild donning hand poked tattoos of the band’s lyricism. Last week Peace headlined Liverpool Sound City and I’m told the anticipation from the crowd was hard to ignore… “Afterwards they seemed to want round two but we had nothing left to give”.
Arguably, the band took a lot of risks when creating this album, comparative to its predecessors. Peace have both a new label and new management, and they even ditched the UK rock scene when writing this album. Harry Koisser spent about a year hiding in a haunted farmhouse in a forest in which his typical day juxtaposed almost directly from his rockstar life.
“I’d wake up at about 6am, stroll through the forest, attempt to learn elvish, sit under a tree, scribble in a notepad, would usually make some sort of stew, something very homely and warming, break bread together, make music together all through the afternoon and then in the evening Dominique would put on alternative music in the kitchen, maybe whip up some gin and tonics, and then we’d have a few of those, make some more music, and then that’s pretty much it. Time to go to bed and do it all again.”
Nonchalantly, Harry details how the environment was a little unusual; “In the first two weeks we went walking into the forest and were surrounded by statues of the Virgin Mary and this satanic wood craftwork hanging from the tree. There was a slate outside that had scratched on it ‘do not enter’. We obviously never disturbed the place but sometimes during the night you could hear furious drum circles in the forest and rings of smoke coming from the trees.”
The band has been somewhat revolutionised with this album. The tracks are more poignant and even more political than ever before, which is perhaps a reflection of Harry’s personal growth. After the previous tour, he decided to give up drinking. “From the last album cycle I have about fifteen clear memories, which are alright, but really I would have liked to have a lot more.” His newfound sense of clarity is apparent in Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll. He even incorporated yoga into his daily routine. “I’d definitely been searching for something but I didn’t know what it was. And then it just kind of found me.”
Maybe revolutionised is a strong word, but the band has undoubtedly changed their ethos; “Now that I’ve had a lot of time to meditate on the purpose of music and the way you can channel things in to it, I rely less on getting fucked up and can comfortably do it sober.”
It was the physical surroundings in which the album was realised which had the greatest influence over it’s direction; “It was so surreal, the whole experience, rooted deeply in fantasy that was real. I think when the parameters of existence are stretched that far out in every direction the parameters of songwriting and creativity and the depth in which we can go and the places we can explore were limitless as well and because of that the music became a certain way. It’s all a big butterfly effect.”
Harry has made himself quite vulnerable on this album. Tracks like ‘From Liquid Under Glass’ depict his own anxiety and mental health struggles, something that some artists would find hard to share on stage; “I really didn’t think about that at the time. It was one of those things were it just happened and now here we are we’ve got to do it. But it doesn’t feel that uncomfortable”
“Music sort of bizarrely connects people in a way that I’m not sure we fully understand. It’s sort of scared magic. Something beautiful that we shouldn’t sort of fuck with too much. When we’re in the room and other people are understanding it, connecting with it, it feels quite comfortable which I can’t quite really explain because on paper it would seem the opposite.”
While the Peace musical direction following this tour is a little unclear (to quote Harry: “What the heck are we doing to do next?”) this doesn’t phase them. They band are concentrating on being present and being heard. They’ve undoubtedly worked hard to evolve into the band that they’ve become and are currently relishing in its rewards.
“Now is the time to spread the word of what we have conceived and I’m pretty sure soon that we’ll start to imagine the future but for now I’m not 100% sure”
Interview for Casual Band Blogger