This year’s been a very good one for English band Peace, who released their superb debut, In Love, and who had several high profile tours. British critics lauded them. In Love, with songs “California Daze,” “Higher Than the Sun,” “Sugarstone” and “Wraith” will blow your mind. Now the States get a chance to check them out live; they’re on an American tour, which brings them to Seattle this Saturday, with Two Cinema Club.
The group, from Northern England’s Worcester (near Birmingham) got together in 2010, achieved a groovy sound on In Love. And there’s a family dynamic in Peace, with brothers Harry Koisser and Samuel Koisser on vocals/guitar and bass respectively making up half the band, and with guitarist Douglas Castle and drummer Dominic Boyce completing the quartet. The brothers Koissers had the good luck to have parents who didn’t mind the boys going into music, rather, “They were very fond of the idea,” said Harry Koisser, who studied music “along with Geography, History and Drama.” Drama? Would he do more acting? “I’m a bit of a thespian [but] probably not, I was never been very good. You know, you can kind of act as yourself in many situations, and not actually act as anyone else. That’s what I found I was doing. I’m still learning about the Method.”
When Peace formed, for Koisser “it was a given,” his brother would be in the band. Harry Koisser decided to name the band after seeing photos of V-E Day celebrations following the end of World War II. When I asked him about the name, he told me “I wouldn’t say it was inspired by the victory of any war, it was more I saw a photo from the end of the war while I was thinking of a band name. The end of the war – it’s kind of a celebration, but it’s also enough is enough. The war’s over, but why was it over?”
Initially it was difficult (impossible, confirmed Koisser) for the band to get gigs in the hard rock- and electronic- dominated North of England, and shows in London involved nasty club owners. Koisser remembered “the gigs that we did get we’d get paid 60p for every person who came. We’d end up getting paid 4 pounds for a show in London. . . the guy counted that we got 5 pounds worth of people through the door, and he said, do you even want the fiver? I told him, ‘of course I want the fucking fiver.’ He said I’d only spend it on drugs anyway. Now it’s fairly easy (to get gigs].” But Koisser added this: “You’ve gotta love it. You’ve gotta eat up for breakfast that kind of stuff. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” As far as going to shows as an audience member, Koiser told me, “When I’m on tour, I see friends’ bands, but that’s pretty much it. If I wanted to go to a show, right now, I’d go see a mariachi band or something – or a solo pianist. Something calming.” I mentioned I’d seen Palma Violets (tourmates in February’s NME Awards Tour 2013) the night before, and that it was pretty wild. “They love their crazy shows. They’re a very excitable bunch. Too many sweets, that’s what they’ve had. Too much fizzy pop before bed.”
Peace wrapped themselves in a velvet blanket for the album cover of In Love. Red velvet. “When it came to the day before we were shooting the album cover, we hadn’t had an idea, so we just went with the color we thought worked with the record. I wanted some red velvet anyway to make some curtains. We bought some of that and got wrapped up in it and got the photographer to shoot from above.” I had to tell him I thought it turned out so cool. And if you’ve seen Peace live, you might have seen this blanket onstage, Koisser imparted, “We actually turned it into our backdrop for our live shows for a bit. We had a big peace symbol on it.”
More about Harry Koisser?
“Zeppelin are my favorite band of all time. They’ve got everything in balance. Everything is perfect. Not too hard, not too soft. Not too real, not too fantasy. Not too feminine, not too masculine. Everything’s bang on.”
~interview by Dagmar