In Depth: Elly Meets Harry Koisser (Peace)

In 2012, Peace, released their first single, ‘Follow Baby’ then, a tribe of fans followed.  2018’s ‘Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll’ is their third and most fearless album. NME called it; “a reminder of the necessity of trying to enact change in your own world, whatever its size”. The title and artwork should be a way of life. The band’s lyrics are already many a tattoo. This November, Peace will explode with energetic engagement  live on stage in Birmingham (24th) and Manchester (25th). Sandwiched between their Spring LP tour and these dates, the multi talented Elly Bailey had a diverse and frank conversation this summer…

Walking from the artist dressing rooms down to the media tent with Peace lead singer, Harry Koisser, was an interesting experience. Kids noticed him left right and centre and were eager to yell words of praise and admiration at their favourite musician. Taking it all in his stride, Harry acknowledged everyone, smiling as if he couldn’t believe the reactions that he was getting to just be walking down a crew strip. Sitting down with him in the media tent, he came across as lovely. A very sweet, funny and interesting person, his openness when answering  questions made for a very in-depth and thought-provoking interview.

Elly : “Do you think you’ll be going to see any bands before your set later?”

Harry: “I wanted to see Shame but I think we’re on at the same time as them, or around the same time. I wanted to see The Wombats, but again I think we’re on at the same time. There’s quite a few good bands playing today. I’d love to see Jamiroquai obviously, I’m not going to stay all night but I’ll stay for a bit”

E : “Your new album ‘Kindness Is The Rock and Roll’ was released this year and you’ve been doing show after show after show. Do you find that when releasing a new album the best way to promote it is to get out and play it to people?”

H : “Yeah, I think for a band like us it is. People call it word of mouth campaign. People keep saying that to me and I’m like what the fuck does that mean?  You play a show and then the next time you play, people bring two friends. It’s the only thing we can really do because Spotify aren’t going to put us on ‘This Weeks Pop Hit Playlist’ or whatever, it’s what we do, it’s the lifeblood for the band.”

E : “The gap between ‘Happy People’ and this LP was about three years. How did it feel to come back and find that your fans are still here supporting you, and that you’ve gained new fans?”

H: “It’s good, our fan base hasn’t really changed/aged, but we have. It’s like this little zone, like a conveyer belt, where people drop off when they reached 25 into… something cooler. But it’s good, I’m glad we didn’t completely disappear.”

E : “You released ‘Under Liquid Glass’, your first single from the new album, with the mental health charity MQ. Why was it that charity rather then any other mental health charity?”

H : “This guy called John at our record label, the day we sent him the song, he saw a billboard that they have that says, ‘It’s time to give a fuck about mental health.’ He basically was like that’s funny, you’ve done this song that’s very heavy handed in talking about mental health and it’s like this billboard. He was like, why don’t we send them the song, and see if they want to do something with it? –  and they did. It was like an act of fate or destiny or something. A sign that it was meant to be.”

E : “On ‘Kindness is the New Rock and Roll’, the songs feel a lot more raw and honest, you’ve got the happier songs like ‘You Don’t Walk Away From Love,’ and ‘Power’ and then the songs that are a bit darker. Do you find that it’s an accurate representation of everyday life, some days are good and some days are bad?”

H: “Yeah, it’s one of those things, where it’s like representing the polarity of being.  

I don’t think anyone truly dwells in the centres of happiness and  sadness, everyone experiences extreme emotions, and the album kind of represents that.

They’re both an important part of living, the smooth with the rough, the pigs with the troughs.”

E : “Do you find that song writing is quite documentary for you and your everyday life?”

H: “Yeah, it’s my thing, it’s my bit. You can kind of examine our discography as a journal. 

I found that especially at the Forum show where loads of our friends were there, and singing ‘California Daze’, in front of the people that were there when I wrote that song. It was tremendously emotional, bizarrely sad. I felt very overcome with it. It was very strange. But that’s testament to the fact that it is about real life.”

E : “Is there anything you’d like to add?”

H: “My one piece of advice is, ‘if you want to fly with the eagles at night, you have to be prepared to wallow with the pigs in the morning.”’ 

E : “Did you come up with that?”

H : “Someone must have said that to me before, it’s just something I’ve always said. Bizarrely people always ask me; “Do you have a pearl of wisdom?” Not in interviews, but like fans. People always ask like “can you write something encouraging on my arm? Loads of people have got stuff tattooed that I’ve written. 

In Sheffield recently, this girl said, ‘Whatever you write on my arm I will get tattooed,’ and I was a bit stuck for words. I can’t even remember what I wrote now. And she was like look what Blaine Harrison from Mystery Jets wrote, ‘Reality is an Illusion,’ it has to be as deep as that. I was like, “I’m not like coin operated, I’m not a vending machine of deep shit to write on your arm” (but I’m sure I came up with something good).”

PEACE be with you;

MQ, transforming mental health

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