It’s week 6 of the UK lockdown, and the world is at a standstill. Yet behind the scenes, Peace’s Harry Koisser is hard at work writing the lyrics of the band’s 4th studio album. The band’s 3rd album Kindness Is The New Rock & Roll had wide critical acclaim, and lead to the band playing massive tours across the world before headlining Reading & Leeds Festivals’ ‘Festival Republic’ stage last summer. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Harry Koisser about new Peace music, touring and lockdown.
What’re you listening to / watching during lockdown?
I’ve been listening to Springsteen a lot. Streets of fire. I haven’t had much of a chance to watch anything though. I watched the whole of ‘Tiger King’ in one day. Carol Baskin killed her husband.
How’re you keeping yourself occupied during lockdown?
I get up at 5am to enjoy the dawn chorus. I hit 2 hours of yoga every day and work on music. I’m nurturing a situation where I can record things and send them to the mix engineer to keep the process of making the album going. I also make bagels.
Each album that Peace has put out this far has been uniquely beautiful, what is your creative process like?
I’ve found that to really hit the connection and channel something I have to be in a totally new situation. I’m fairly savage in undoing my life and making enormous changes. I think I’m scared of mediocrity when I’m comfortable. When we started writing kindness we all moved to a farmhouse together for six months to put into motion the beginning of that process. This time around I moved to a chapel in Glastonbury and spent two months in isolation before immediately flying to New York and spending three months in bars shouting song ideas into my voice notes. The creative benefits of this are huge but I guess i’ve never been able to grow any sort of roots. But whatever. After I have the ideas for the songs we get into a studio as a band and hack away at them until we have a record. That’s basically it.
What can fans expect from new Peace music?
I wrote out all the moods for the new album the other day so I guess I should just tell you what that note said. Ok: Biker gospel, Tough worship, Dry grooves, Enormous, Summer’s fruit, Winter’s froze, Autumn’s hue, Spring’s glow, Lake of fire, Ancient sounds, Desaturated enjoyment, Freak show, Coca Cola, War Inc, Beautiful sounds, Machinery, Gentle explosions, God, Love, War, Sex, Death… whatever those mean.
How do the new tracks differ from those on ‘Kindness is The New Rock & Roll’?
Kindness was essentially an album of lyrics. It could’ve been an acoustic record. It was all about the song writing and not as much the production whereas on the new stuff we’re paying as much attention to the production and the sound as I am to the writing. We’re exploiting the things we’ve always been good at in a really refreshing way which I absolutely love.
What’s your favourite song to perform live? Why?
From Under Liquid Glass, if my voice is behaving, is a real moment. 1998 is something beyond what I’ve experienced playing any other music. Sometimes when we connect to that song it becomes completely transcendental and out of body. Sometimes we finish that song and look at each other and are like… what just happened?
What is your favourite gig / set you’ve played?
Reading 2015 was really cooking. And 2013 was magical. Doug had the greatest show of his life at Middlesborough Empire. He had a very powerful out of body experience. I had some really good shows touring Kindness too. Brixton academy stands out as a great show.
What’s the most memorable thing that has happened at one of your shows?
I remember in 2012 at the point that things really started happening for us, I had purchased a skeleton onesie & a pair of ugg boots to wear onstage at the small room of the rainbow in Birmingham and during the show someone somehow managed to reach onstage and pull one of the uggs from my foot and into the crowd it disappeared. Also at a show in Texas, Usher watched us from the side of the stage which made very little sense to me but was one of those moments of like… What’s going on?
With the music industry (and the world) turned upside down at the moment, Harry offers Peace fans something to really look forward to, the band are destined to have the world in the palm of their hands for the 4th album.