On a cold winters night in Sheffield in a freezing back room of the Queens Social Club…
I was lucky enough to catch up with Harry from Peace for a chat about their current UK tour, their forthcoming second album, selfie sticks and ruining a pivotal life moment for their tour manager whilst filming the video for their new single.
First things first, how are you today?
Harry Koisser: Yeah I’m good thanks; I got really fucking drunk last night though, how are you?
I’m good cheers, how was the gig in Leeds last night?
HK: It was great, Leeds is fucking mad. For the last song we got into ‘World Pleasure‘ and just everyone got onstage but to the point where you can’t play because they got between me and the microphone and the guitars were screeching because they’d been unplugged. It took fucking ages to get everyone off stage and then we had to start again, we didn’t even make it to the chorus it was so annoying.
Did you have to totally abandon the last song then?
HK: Yeah but we played it again we had to wait for everyone to get off stage again but it was funny.
Are you looking forward to the gig tonight?
HK: Yeah, I really love this venue!
I was just about to ask what you thought of the venue tonight?
HK: Yeah I really like it, we played here with The Mystery Jets once and I’m not sure if we headlined here as well but yeah, that was great and I love this place.
What can we expect from the set tonight?
HK: It’s our first sort of second album set and we’re gonna play lots of stuff that we wouldn’t usually play really, we’re usually quite reserved; we’ll be like “let’s hold back” but we’re gonna play ‘1998’ and stuff and songs we haven’t played over the last year or so.
Do you feel a kind of pressure to play ‘1998’ because it is such a fan favourite?
HK: It’s one of those things isn’t it, where you can be kind of a tease with it because sometimes we’ve played the intro and then gone into another song or we’ve played halfway through and then stopped or something – but we’re gonna do the full thing. People always ask for it and actually I just tweeted before the tour just like “any requests?” and everyone was like ‘1998’ so it was kind of like let’s do it because we we’re never gonna play it live.
HK: Yeah but then demand was so high it was kind of like, I’d love to be a dick about it and be like we’re never gonna play that but it’s kind of like, fuck, you know these are fans and it seems to really mean a lot to people so I’m really keen to do it.
Is it one of those things where you feel forced to do it just now and again?
HK: Yeah but I enjoy playing it, it’s a really fun song to play and it’s a good breather in the set because most of our songs are 3 or 4 minutes so it’s good to do a long one.
How come you made the decision to play smaller venues on this tour? Do you see it as the last one before bigger things?
HK: I think so yeah, I think there’s a little bit of us wanting to hold on to… I’d say it’s 50/50 because it’s probably our last chance to do these sort of venues because I don’t like when people can’t get a ticket. That winds me up because I think if people wanna come and see you they should be able to. I know it’s cool to be like “sold out, sold out, sold out”, but I really like it when people can just come and see you. So I like to play a venue that everyone in that city wants to go and see because it does look cool having a poster like that. So yeah it was our last chance to do it without disappointing people because we’re doing as many nights as we can, as many nights as the venues had free and we could do to try and get enough but yeah we want to hold onto it.
Also there’s the other side, you know, supporting these venues because it’s always in the press isn’t it, the last sort of two years it’s been quite hot that a lot of smaller venues are struggling. It seems that nowadays as a band you’re expected to just, you know, you’ve got to be big before your first album comes out or else you’re nothing. So I think a lot of bands will go “right we’ve done that tour, now we’re going to move onto the academies and then eventually we’ll play the O2 and then everyone will forget about us” but we’re trying to support that sort of circuit and I think more bands should. Like a lot of bands at our level should try and come back and support these venues because if this was a thing that bands our size did on the regular as part of a tour and then do a bigger tour later on it would really support this sort of this size venue, which is a great atmosphere.
Yeah because it’s always a really good gig in a small venue with a big band isn’t it, because it’s always packed!
HK: Yeah it is but obviously it’s not as easy as that, like if you play an academy every night’s the same. You get in, it’s a big stage, the audience is behind a barrier and obviously in these venues like the audience just get on stage, it happens every night and you know it’s hot and it takes a lot out of you but it’s like you kind of owe it to your fans in my eyes but it’s just like fuck it. The response to this tour has been amazing as well so I’m glad that we did it, it’s a real treat. I don’t know why more bands don’t do it like on the regs really.
Do you do it to almost keep you interested in touring as well?
HK: Totally yeah, it’s a different type of touring. It’s like when we’re on the bus you wake up in the city you’ve got the whole day to go for a stroll and then you play the show and every day’s the same. But on this type of tour you wake up in a strange hotel, you’ve got to leave at 9am and you’re in the van, it actually turns out funner, everyone has more fun because when you’re on the bus you leave the night after the show and drive overnight so you never get to enjoy yourself because after the show you go to the bus sit around for a bit then go to bed but you get the opportunity to actually have a lot of fun, it’s like the whole squad is together, you know?
Is that why you’re doing so many DJ sets after the gigs as well to try and enjoy yourself?
HK: I think so yeah, because we want this to be a really fun tour for us and for the fans because you bounce off each other and if we’re having a fun tour, all the shows are gonna be fun and it’s just a great vibe.
How was the tour with Bombay Bicycle Club at the end of last year?
HK: That was good, that’s like the complete opposite style tour and that’s exactly what I was talking about because every day it’s just production, everything’s the same. Whereas these places, the stage is a different size every day – but it was a fun tour, those guys are amazing. Yeah it was really good actually, we had a lot of fun we hung out every day and every night, we had a good sort of inter-band thing going on.
Did you find it quite monumental being a part of the last gig at Earls Court and do you feel that was quite special?
HK: That was a strange one that because it was the first time I’d ever been there, so it was the first time and the last time but I watched the Led Zeppelin concert there in the morning of the show and it was cool waking up because they drive the buses into Earls Court. So you get out of bed and you’re like “where the fuck are we?” because it sounds really weird and I opened the bus door and we’re actually in Earls Court, we’re in the middle of it. Yeah there was a good energy with that show, it was cool
How have the new songs gone down on the tour so far and which would you say have got the best reaction?
HK: They’re all getting a really good reaction to be fair. Obviously songs like ‘Money‘ and ‘Lost on Me‘ because they’ve been online and ‘World Pleasure’ but they still feel like new songs to me. But yeah ‘Gen Strange‘ goes down really well, ‘O You’ is a new one and a lot of people haven’t heard that but by the second chorus everyone’s into it. I’ve been surprised really I thought everyone would be kinda like [He folds his arms and puts on a stern look] but everyone’s just doing their thing. I think our fans are quite electric anyway, everyone’s quite ecstatic, it’s good.
Where would you say the idea came from for the ‘I’m a Girl’ video?
HK: God man they were all just one take that was literally off the cuff. Phil our tour photographer came up to our rehearsal room, brought his camera and we had the idea for the writing on the Perspex in front of the lens which worked really well and then we were like, shit we should do 3 more because someone at the label said we could do this thing if you give us four videos that are all one shot, we can do it so you can click between them on YouTube. So we were like “fuck, that sounds cool!”, so they told us to shoot four different set ups, do whatever you want so we were brainstorming. We wrote the lyrics on Dom’s floor tom and were like just film that, move it around a bit. We did the third one, there was just a light in the rehearsal room and the camera was on a tripod facing the floor and I was like it’s meant to be like proper B boy underneath. Then it was like what the fuck can we do and it was actually our tour manager Nick who I was texting and his fiancé was in labour so he was literally having a baby whilst I was doing that!
So you were just texting him the lyrics of the song whilst this was going on?
HK: Yeah and obviously he’d got his phone on him because he’s got family and shit to let them know what was going on and I was literally texting him all the lyrics, he was just having a fucking breakdown.
Because you’re just clogging up his phone with the lyrics!
HK: Yeah, yeah, yeah because I didn’t tell him I was gonna do it!
That’s brilliant, I’m sure he loved you for that. How did you settle on a name for the new album?
HK: Well it’s a song on the record and I think I wrote a list of potential names and I quite like it when there’s a title track, especially when it’s not a big single. So that was the last suggestion and it just stood out like Peace – ‘Happy People’ and Peace – ‘In Love’, I don’t know what the next one’s going to be called…
Would you say the title sums up the whole vibe of the album?
HK: Kind of, the way I think of it is that the song ‘Happy People’ is actually a quite sort of sad song but it’s got a real upbeat vibe. A lot of songs on the record are a bit more sad actually and I didn’t realise that until we did an NME interview recently and they were like ‘we’ve read all the lyrics and they all seem really sad’ and I was just like “oh fuck yeah, sorry”. But you know I write really honestly, I don’t really write songs that are fake but I kinda like that though that the albums called ‘Happy People’ and the songs are a bit sad but you know, we’re still happy people it could be a lot worse.
It’s just a nice contrast for you to have…
HK: Yeah, and in comparison as well to whatever fucking problems you go through and them in comparison to the rest of the world and the horrible shit that goes on everyday it’s like, fuck yeah I am happy, even when I’m really unhappy, in comparison to them I am, do you know what I mean?
Yeah totally. How would you say the album is different to In Love?
HK: A lot of ways really, I think it’s just more developed as a band. [He ponders] Basically it’s just so a second album.
Is it just like your typical second album?
HK: Yeah that’s it man, but that’s because we’re really honest and we have no pretense about us so of course it’s gonna be a straight up second record, it’s more developed. It’s all the clichés man, but that’s because we’re a band making music honestly. Some reviews said that as if it was a bad thing, like “this is just a stereotypical second album”, well of course it fucking is, it’s our second album, what do you want us to do?! Make something more out there? But it’s just like fuck it, we’re doing what we do.
There’s a reason second albums are like that because you go on tour for fucking ages and you learn about being in a band and you do a second album and its more developed and has better song writing because you’re taking it serious. When you’re making your first album, well we didn’t think about it we were just having a laugh, and this time it’s like let’s make a record, I wanna write better songs. It’s not a bad thing, I don’t get why people say that like it’s a bad thing, “Oh difficult second album”, of course it’s fucking difficult! You’ve done a first album, yeah it’s gonna take a little longer than you thought because your first album comes so easy but that doesn’t mean just because it’s difficult it’s a good or a bad album. I think compared to how second albums could go, I think we pulled it off, if I do say so myself. I don’t think it’s a shit second album, I think it’s one of the good ones.
Yeah, it’s not expanded too much but it’s still remained like your old stuff…
HK: We’ve not panicked and gone “fuck, we’ve got to do something different” but then at the same time we haven’t tried to make the first album again. We LITERALLY just made a second album, it’s that fucking straightforward: we made a second album! But there’s almost this expectation to do something different but then if you do something really different, everyone’s gonna be like “oh they’ve fucked it, they’ve gone all weird on the second album: classic”. But it’s just a second record and I think it’s a good one, a fucking good one.
Good, I’m glad to hear that! You’d said beforehand that album number three would be finished before the second one was released, has that been the case?
HK: I come out with some shit man, I’m so full of shit man but I wanted it to be. Actually what I was saying was I wanted to have written the third album by the recent album and I’ve written seven songs for the third album, so you could call that an album, I’m almost there. But I like to be ahead with my song writing because I write compulsively, I don’t just go “oh fuck I’ve got another record to make” and then start writing some songs and stuff. I write songs because it’s therapeutic, that’s why I do it not to make a record, I write songs because that’s something I do as a human being so of course I’m gonna have fucking loads of them. Yeah, I don’t get that when some people see writing as a chore, it’s like fuck off, fuck off then, don’t do it then, if you’ve gotta force it don’t do it. I dunno, I’m just being a dick now.
No you’re not it, makes sense if it comes naturally to you, you might as well enjoy doing it and you’re lucky enough to do it as a job!
HK: It’s something that I like to do; do you know what I mean?! But yeah that’s quite a good thing that happened.
What would you say is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
HK: Erm the funniest thing… I dunno what’s funny really. Someone threw a beer at me once that proper got me and somehow the whole pint had stayed in the cup the whole journey onto the stage and I was just fucking soaked but that’s not a bad thing, it’s kinda funny. Someone threw a bra at me yesterday, which was a first. Stage invasions are always a laugh.
Do you like stage invasions or do you see them as a nuisance?
HK: I like them man, as long as nothing gets stolen, I don’t mind if something gets broken because we’ll replace it but I mean I’m easy. I don’t really know what to do because you’ve got all these people there and I’m not thinking right so I’m like “Hi how are you doing? Are you alright?” So when everyone gets on stage I always do it and they’re just like “AHHH” and dancing. It’s weird but I dig it, if people wanna do it because I’m a firm believer that you should be allowed to do what you want at shows, whatever you want to do as long as you’re willing to deal with the consequences. Obviously venue staff might throw you out, I’d never be like “get out!” but you know… bring a selfie stick if you want to! Take photos or videos, I can’t stand people moaning like don’t take photos at our shows. I dunno play something that makes people want to fucking jump up and down and lose their shit not take a photo. You should be flattered if someone wants to video something and they want to watch it again, it’s like come on…
So you’re not for the whole signs saying not to take a photo at shows?
HK: Aww mate [He slumps in his seat] I tried to get tickets to Kate Bush just to go and take a photo, I didn’t even want to fucking go, I was ringing my agent saying you’ve got to get me in because you know she said that thing “please don’t take photos and shit”, I was literally just going to go to do that.
Just be there with a selfie stick with her in the background?
HK: Yeah! With a camera on a selfie stick with the fucking flash on. But I guess the artist has a right to be like that but you know what, fuck off no you don’t, let people do what they want to do, don’t try and control your audience! I dunno man; they banned selfie sticks from Brixton Academy.
Yeah I know I saw that…
HK: When we play there later this year, I’m gonna go onstage with a fucking selfie stick and be like “AHHHH” [He raises his arms whilst cheering] or I might get like 50 of them and throw them into the crowd.
You could have them as a free gift on the door when you go in!
HK: Yeah just have a selfie stick. I don’t get why people hate selfie sticks, I went to my nans house on Christmas and someone had bought her a fucking selfie stick but it was great to be honest, we had a right hoot me and my Nan! Just like “WHEEEEEEEEEY WHEEEEEEY, go on Nan!” Because obviously she doesn’t have a fucking clue what’s going on with technology and stuff so it was mind-blowing for her. Like [Queen’s] Brian May he’s obsessed with them, have you seen him on Twitter?
No I haven’t, what’s he like?
HK: Someone bought Brian May a selfie stick and everyday he’s just posting photos with this fucking stick and I’m like “Yes Brain! Yes mate, save the badgers” but just let people do what they want, whatever makes them happy. You’d be so gutted if you wanted to go and take a photo at a gig and there was a sign, you’d feel like “oh that’s not very nice is it?”
It’s almost a part of the whole experience isn’t it?
HK: Yeah totally let people do whatever the fuck they want, we’re lucky that most of our fans just wanna get fucked up and jump about and have a good time and like embrace. To be fair I think if we were one of those bands where everyone was there taking photos all the time I’d probably be like [adopting a Gollum from Lord of The Rings type voice] “stop taking photos!”
Are there any albums scheduled for release in 2015 that you’re looking forward to?
HK: I don’t know any albums scheduled for release, I didn’t listen to one album last year.
HK: Not new music because I was lost in our record so I was just like I can’t listen to anything. I have no idea whose releasing albums this year…
Palma Violets, Drenge, people like that
HK: Yeah, yeah obviously, I’m well excited for all of those but I haven’t really heard much. I wonder if Mystery Jets new album will be out, I live with the bassist from Mystery Jets and he’s been working on their new album for ages so maybe that will come out late this year. I think it might come out in Summer actually but I’ve heard most of it and it sounds fucking miiiint…
Ah good and finally, what does the rest of the year look like for you post album release and tour?
HK: I’m gonna be the human Google calendar now. Post album release the tour goes to Europe and then it comes back to the UK for a bit which leads us into April where we have a 2 week break, which conveniently falls on my birthday. Then immediately after we’re off to Australia for a month I believe where we’re playing a festival with the likes of Charli XCX, SexCX, and [directed to Tour Manager Nick who has just entered the room] who else is playing Groovin The Moo?
Tour Manager Nick: I’ve forgotten…
HK: Yeah I can’t remember and then after Australia that brings us into festy season where we’ll be doing festivals all through the summer, major UK festivals throughout the year.
Tour Manager Nick: [in a mocking tone] festy season?!
HK: Haha fuck you Nick! Through the entire summer which then leads us into autumn where we will be doing an autumn UK tour and there’ll probably be a little bit of international dickery at the end of the year, we might go and break America, probably won’t. That then leads us up to Christmas and then I think early next year, there’ll be a surprise, I think we’re doing a big show next year aren’t we? Shall I announce it now?
Tour Manager Nick: Absolutely not!
HK: Just in case the album bombs and we don’t do it! Are you telling us to wrap it up, I’m having fun! [Waits for Nick to leave] He doesn’t give a shit!
You can announce that show now if you want!
HK: No I can’t, I’d get fucking bollocked. That’s the guy whose girlfriend’s labour I ruined, so in his memory of his child being born it’s just his phone going [mimics message tone] with my lyrics, so good.
It’s just you spoiling a nice life affirming moment for him…
HK: Yeah to be fair his girlfriend had a baby whilst all these texts were going off and then immediately after having a baby he proposed, she said yes and he was like “I’ve ordered a Domino’s” and she was like “that’s why we’re getting married”, he’s such a legend.
He’s got the triple whammy there: kid, engagement and pizza.
HK: Yeah he’s just got it, so legendary.
Right I think we’d best leave it there then seeing as we’re getting wrapped up. Thanks for that Harry.
HK: No worries, high five!
Good luck with the rest of the year.
HK: Yeah I think it’ll be a good year hopefully, it should be alright. I think it’ll go really fucking fast to be honest.
Well you’ve got a lot planned so hopefully it will do
HK: I hope it’s not gonna be a slow year, I can’t stand slow years. Last year was really fast, but the year before was sooooo slow, so bloody slow and the year before that. 2012 was the slowest year I’ve ever had; it just went on and on didn’t it.
Yeah it really did. But yeah thanks again!
HK: No worries mate, it was good to meet you!