"I like to keep my head free and empty of complex thoughts, and think about the simple, great things in life," says Harry Koisser, singer in the band Peace
. Like what, I want to know. "Oh I don't know, what's on my mind?" he asks his bandmates. "Coats," offers up one. "Scarves," says another. He pauses for a moment and adds, "Happiness."
There are a few other things this Birmingham, England four-piece might be thinking about. For one thing, they've got their first-ever New York show tonight (two in fact--this is band that doesn't mind playing into the wee hours). Then there are the accolades from the British press that have been pilled on long before they released their first EP, Delicious
, which lands stateside this January, the reputation they've developed for a rather raucous live show--as Koisser puts it, "We painted on things and did stupid things and had fun, and then I guess people liked us"--not to mention the major label signing (with Sony) as well as the release of their debut album in March.
But if there's any band that won't let the buzz get to them, it might be these artfully disheveled guys. "We under-think," says Sam Koisser, the band's bassist and Harry's brother, laughing for a moment before adding, "That's what surprises me every day: it really shouldn't have worked out." Their success comes as much from their likable personalities as their music, which dabbles in all sorts of familiar sounds (Pulp, Vampire Weekend, and Wu Lyf have all been thrown around as references, while the band mentions all the '60s rock and '90s pop music they listened to growing up) but never allows just one to swallow them whole. "Bloodshake" shimmies around with quixotic guitar licks before exploding into the chorus with lines like, "We spit blood in the sun, we spit blood in the ocean," while "1998", a cover of a Binary Finary track that clocks in at 10 minutes, is an epic foray into the world where psychedelic and trance music meet (no, really). And we haven't even gotten to a full-length album yet.
All this from a band that met in school and formed on a whim. "It sort of grew naturally into a band, and then into what it is now," admits Peace's singer. "I don't think we ever thought we'd be signed to a major label--that was, like, ridiculous." But maybe it really was all meant to be; after all, the Koisser brothers' parents met in a band--their dad was a drummer, their mom a saxophonist--and guitarist Douglas Castle comes from a family of creative types ("I think it's kind of full circle," he notes of his becoming a musician).
Whatever it was that brought them to this moment, it seems that as good as 2012 treated the band, 2013's going to be even better. But don't talk to the band about success just yet. "It still feels very early," says Sam. Drummer Dominic Boyce interjects: "If you had to select something, [it would be] ever time we play a show with more than two people." Harry sits up straight and adds, "I know what success is, but I've never been successful in anything. Success always seems like the end of something, doesn't it?" He's got a point--and if anything, things are only just beginning for Peace.
REBECCA WILLA DAVIS
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