Interview: Peace

“I never liked that word, ‘afro-pop’ – maybe we are ‘nafro-pop.’” HARRIET WADE meets hotly tipped Birmingham indie band PEACE at The Portland Arms.

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Birmingham four-piece Peace have topped many “up and coming” lists in well-respected music journals for months now, and last Thursday I met them before their gig at the Portland Arms.

Lounged around the dressing room, the band seem ambivalent when I ask them about the hype around their debut EP album Delicious. Harry the lead singer comments that “we try not to think about it too much, I guess we were too worried that people will extremely hate it I guess.”

This rather unenthusiastic attitude pervades most of what they say, and becomes particularly apparent when discussing the genre of their music. The band is described as ‘afro-pop’, and magazines such as NME and Kerrang! have compared them favourably to indie stalwarts such as Mystery Jets, Maccabees and Foals.

Guitarist Doug complains that “I never liked that word, ‘afro-pop’ – maybe we are ‘nafro-pop.’” The band struggles to describe their sound musically, preferring to avoid categories. Their humour shines through as they suggest variously that they are “Christmas influenced,” “rockera- a type of rock opera” and “like Queen, but not musically. The personalities.”

The band is currently touring with Wolf Alice and seem enthused at the opportunity to be playing larger venues. They aspire to play “all over the world. We would like to play Japan. Or Antarctica- or what’s that other place? Oh, the South Arctica. Yeah.”

The band maintains this feeling of self- mockery and teasing throughout the interview, mentioning slyly “pranking has become a steadfast part of the touring life.” They mention that they have obtained naval fireworks to set off during their set, but have sadly been banned from using them by their omnipresent manager.

The contrast between touring and production is a cause for relief for most of the band. This is probably due to the obsessively perfectionist nature of Harry, who writes all the music and lyrics. “I never say we are finished. I’m always whingeing about changes that need to be made, until someone tells me to shut up.” Indeed, their most famous track Bloodshake has many incarnations from the initial demo.

The track has been likened to many Vampire Weekend tracks, in its upbeat pop sound. Another of their key releases is 1988, a track which samples the chord progression of a Binary Finary track of the same name.

Unlike other infamously chaotic filial relationships in rock (the Gallagher brothers springs immediately to mind), the two brothers in Peace seem, in the unavoidable pun, at peace with one another. Whilst Sam does describe Harry as “pretty annoying,” the relationship is referenced to as fairly tranquil.

Peace have “been lucky enough” to share the stage with many of their favourite acts. Mystery Jets is a particular highlight. Another is during the Great Escape festival with Tame Impala, where Doug was so drunk he was “sick up [his] nose.” 

These charming fellows still seem to have had made quite a few friends in their after show venture to Klubnacht at Cambridge club Fez. This is a night that they had been to last year and greatly enjoyed, so were excited to try again.

What’s in the future for hotly tipped band Peace? Most critics expect them to go far, and the excited crowd reception with which they were greeted did not rebuff this. Sonically, Peace themselves have no idea which direction the band will go in. Harry comments drily when asked, “we will go in a great way.”

Watch this space then.

Peace’s new single California Daze is available for download now: