Peace: “People said uploading our new album to a secret website was career suicide”

Two members down and five years after their last album, the Birmingham band return rejuvenated and ready to take on the world, one ludicrous idea at a time

Harry Koisser is sat upstairs in a central London pub, singing the praises of a small rectangular white stick on the table in front of him. “It turns out they just decided randomly to make the highest quality audio device they ever would… and then stop doing it,” he says, picking up the first-generation iPod shuffle. As he puts it back in its place, he continues on a sprawling conversation through attempts to release Peace’s new album on the device, comparing vinyl to a physical NFT, and reminiscing about the excitement of going into town as a teenager to buy that week’s new releases.

As he’s recalling post-HMV listening sessions on his Walkman, he catches himself. “It’s not being like, ‘Back in my day…’,” he clarifies, his sentencing quickly spiralling into tongue-in-cheek humour. “Everyone is buying vinyl anyway so everyone can fuck off! Looking into the past for answers in the future isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

After a moment’s pause, his voice gathers steam again. “I feel like the world is recovering. All the big tech companies – the whole thing was about disruption. They were like, ‘We’re a disrupter, we’re gonna fuck everything up and leave it in a total mess’… that’s not nice! I feel like things are recovering from a decade of money guys pumping money into just fucking everything up. I would probably take a blackout. People are going to the cinema to eat popcorn and watch movies.”

Peace, too, are in something of a recovery phase. It’s been five years since the Birmingham band last released an album and more than a decade since they first burst onto the scene, throwing gritty and glittery glamour over indie disco anthems. Now, they’re back, but minus two members – since the release of ‘Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll’ in 2018, drummer Dom Boyce and guitarist Doug Castle have departed on amicable terms, leaving just Harry and his brother Sam to continue on together.


In their first chapter, Peace traversed the music industry by doing what they wanted to an extent, but were still bound by more typical machinations – first, at a major label (RCA Records), and then at an indie (Ignition Records). After time away, now they are truly free to do exactly what they think is right, even if that’s putting their new album ‘Utopia’ on a website you need a passcode to access and which costs them more money the more fans stream through it. Although “plenty of people” told them it was a bad move, they did it anyway.

“People kept saying it was career suicide, but how?” Harry asks. “I just don’t see how. We can put music on Spotify whenever we want, release vinyl whenever we want.” The brothers made ‘Utopia’ in a church in Somerset just after the pandemic, amped up on “new energy” they’d found from playing around with drum machines. Where did the idea come from to put the finished product on their secret website? Harry struggles to remember and looks to his brother. “I think the question was, ‘Can we?’” the bassist helps out. “And we managed to answer that question.”

Memory jogged, Harry picks up the story. “It was during the TikTok boom period when it was like the gold rush and everyone was like, ‘This is everything’,” he explains, scorn dripping through his words. “I can remember saying this as a joke: ‘Fucking TikTok – what we need is a .com website. We should have a launch party with lanyards and banners – do a website launch’. We got lost in the joke and then ended up doing it.”

Cloistering your music away from streaming services when you haven’t been around for a few years and are trying to start things back up in an industry that is becoming increasingly difficult to survive in might not seem like the wisest idea. In reality, though, there’s something incredibly smart about Peace’s strategy – if you can call it that – here. Fans are given access to the site via a code when they buy tickets for the band’s tour, encouraging ticket sales and simultaneously making them feel like they’re part of something special and exclusive. “If you’re still with us at this point, why not make it an occasion?” Harry muses.

Converting new fans might be more of a problem with this method, but Harry and Sam don’t particularly mind keeping things to the old crowd for now. “When you put anything on Spotify, you’re reaching out to people who aren’t fans – that’s petrifying,” the guitarist says, a genuine look of panic in his eyes, despite the flippancy in what he says next. “We know people who come to our shows at the moment are cool because they come to our shows and like our music. We don’t know what the fuck [new people] like… I think the password is more to keep people out.”

“We want to preach to the choir,” Sam jokes.

Peace. Credit: Liam James Ward
Peace. Credit: Liam James Ward


Releasing a new album was something that was meant to happen a few years ago, followed by a celebration of the band’s 10th anniversary. Things took longer than expected, though, and then the brothers changed their mind. “When it reached the 10th anniversary, we were like, ‘Why do an anniversary tour when we can just be like, ‘Here’s a new album and this is us 10 years later. Things change. Don’t like it? We don’t care’,” Harry says.

He is, he says, “particularly unsentimental” and hasn’t kept anything from the last decade of the band’s journey. He struggled to understand the argument that an anniversary tour was worth it, even when people told him he could “make a fuckload of money”. “If I cared about money, I would be working on that app that I had an idea for 10 years ago,” he laughs. “If we were in this for the money, we would be doing that and we would be here promoting Peace’s 10-year anniversary, ‘EP Delicious’/‘In Love’ reissue, holiday at Butlins Minehead weekender.” He points at his freshly cut hair – a wolf cut that he has no idea what to do with – and adds: “If I was trying to sell a 10-year-old dream, I wouldn’t have this haircut.”

So the Koissers focused not on reliving past glories and on making something new. “Bootlegged and mimicked, but never reproduced,” Harry sings in ‘Masterpiece’, a ‘60s girl-group-tinged pop gem. He’s singing about another person, but that line feels like it applies to Peace as a band too. Many fledgling bands tried to recreate their magic after debut album ‘In Love’ was released in 2013, but none came close. After losing Dom and Doug, it would have been easy for the remaining duo to hire replacement musicians and enter a period of also trying to reproduce what they’d done a decade ago.

Instead, they did something that protects them from being copied and keeps them from getting complacent themselves – built a big, short-tempered machine in place of a new drummer. “We still haven’t done a show where it doesn’t break,” Harry sighs. “It actually does whatever the fuck it wants. It’s so, so, so scary.” The huge interface, which looks more like something you’d find in a studio than on stage, followed the pair figuring out recording with drum machines, loops and samplers, and then realising they could just use those for shows too rather than hire a drummer.

Keeping Peace 2.0 to just the brothers freed up the recording process, allowing Harry and Sam time to “expand the ideas that we would usually have – the weird little things, the ear candy, the seasoning, the spice”. Throughout the record, you can hear the chirps of birds, making it feel like you’re in the rural setting where the album was made. “The birds are so loud there when we’re recording, you could always hear them,” Harry explains. “The first time I listened to it through headphones and the birds weren’t there, I was like, ‘Wait…’”

The duo spent “six months making drones” and getting lost in the world of theremins, and ‘Utopia’ includes more experimental moments than Peace might be known for. ‘Swimming With Dolphins’ is a seven-minute track that begins as something more typical before morphing into an instrumental with guitar riffs that sound like they should soundtrack an elven wedding midway through. But, on the whole, the album isn’t a radical departure from what the world knows and loves the band for, but a leaning in and refining of that. “We didn’t necessarily know [we were making a Peace album when we were making it] – we just went and started doing it without knowing what it was,” Sam begins.

Harry nods and picks up his point. “When we were listening back to it, we were like, ‘This feels like a Peace record’,” he says. “We had managed to create this music that wasn’t really far off from it.”

Although they say they’re still trying to figure things out as they make their return, it feels like Peace are back in the sweet spot of the band – as exciting, cool and full of great songs (and ludicrous ideas that somehow just work) as ever before. As our conversation wraps up, Harry shares a concept they could try next. “My dream is to get an office space and put a different instrument on each desk and run them all into a mixer,” he says excitedly. “I think an album will come out of that – if we make an environment, music will always come out of it.” Peace are definitely back and, hopefully, they never change.

Tickets for Peace’s upcoming tour are available from


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