Harry Koisser, (seen here second from the right) guitarist and vocalist with Peace, chats with Kevin Cooper about the guest appearance of Peter Crouch in their music video, a missed opportunity to meet Hannah Reid, his fondness for Rock City and their forthcoming UK tour.

Harry is the vocalist and guitarist with English indie rock quartet; Peace. As well as Harry, other band members include his brother Sam Koisser (bass), Doug Castle (guitar) and Dom Boyce (drums). Taking their name from a photograph which celebrated the end of World War II, the band have now released two studio albums; In Love and Happy People.

They have received recognition from both the BBC and NME and were nominated in the BBC’s Sound Of 2013 poll and have more recently supported such bands as The Libertines.

Whilst busy preparing for their forthcoming UK tour, Harry took the time to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.


Hi Harry how are you?

Hi Kevin how are you doing?

I’m good thanks how are you today?

I’m well thanks. In fact I’m feeling wicked today.

Thanks for taking the time to speak to me and how is life treating you?

No worries Kevin. Thanks for thinking of us. Things are not bad at the moment. I’m just mooching about writing some songs (laughter). We get back out on the road later this month so I have a while to be able to chill.

The album Happy people, were you pleased with just how well it was received?

Yeah, it was received pretty well, most of our fans liked it. In fact I think that it was the perfect second record for us Kevin you know. I am pretty stoked with it.

In the video for Generation Strange there is a certain Mr Peter Crouch. How did that come about?

Peter has been to a few of our shows and to be honest, he is so tall that he is totally unmissable (laughter) and so I have met him a few times. The actor who was supposed to play that part in the video at the last minute got offered a part in a TV show so they couldn’t make the shoot which meant that we were down by one actor. We were shooting the video ourselves and I jokingly said that I would get Peter Crouch to play the part (laughter). So I text Peter asking him if he fancied doing it and he text back saying that he would love to do it but he couldn’t. So I thought that was that.

Anyway a few hours later Peter text me saying that he would do it and that he was going to get a train down to us and meet us at the location for the shoot. We picked him up from the train station and he did it. Peter really is a stand-up kind of guy (laughter).

Now I have to say that I have been listening to the album and I really do like World Pleasure as I am a sucker for the strings.

I’m with you on that one Kevin, I really like the strings too. It was a big move for us to put the strings on that track but then again it simply wouldn’t be a clichéd second record if there wasn’t a string section on there (laughter). We had to do it, we simply had to do it (laughter).

Do you ever get fed up with constantly being compared to The Maccabees for example?

It would be so nice if we were just recognised as Peace. We consciously made sure that we were doing lots of different things. I’m A Girl for example is rather heavy and almost a grunge song and then Lost On Me is a sparkly 70’s glam pop song. The record is all over the place but that was to try, maybe not avoid being pigeon holed, but to frustrate those who want to pigeon hole us (laughter).

The BBC just love to pigeon hole everyone.

You are totally right Kevin, it’s so strange. The BBC like to pigeon hole everyone because then it is far easier for them to see if the record is going to sell, who the record is going to sell to, and what audience it will appeal to. But if the record is absolutely all over the place it is difficult for people to judge you. I like that (laughter). I like being absolutely all over the place (laughter). Musically it is representative of my life which is great as I am totally unsure about anything.

I just feel sorry for the people who drop through the cracks simply because their style of music doesn’t seem to fit into any pigeonhole and therefore does not make it onto the BBC’s playlist.

It’s a pain Kevin I know but there is plenty of time to get play listed. To be honest we have always done really well with the radio playlists and stuff. They have played us a bit, not hugely but enough to make us happy.

Perhaps things may change in a few years’ time, who knows.

Yes let’s just hope that they will be searching for bands who are all over the place and are not just one thing. And at that point no doubt we will have settled on soft rock (laughter). It’s a nightmare.

I have to ask you, recording, playing and touring with your brother Samuel. Does that work well?

It works really well Kevin and it is totally the opposite of the Gallagher Brothers (laughter). We get on really well and we enjoy being on tour together. We love making music, all four of us do. I have known Douglas (Castle) and Dominic (Boyce) for so long that we are basically like four brothers. It is pretty easy going as no one argues. If we did argue then we couldn’t really be called Peace Kevin could we (laughter). We all just bite our tongues trying to live up to our brand (laughter). We have to make sure that we don’t shatter the illusion. We are all constantly living in a state of awesomeness if that is even a real word. That is how I would describe our touring life and our relationships.

Are you looking forward to getting back out on the road touring?

Actually Kevin I really am, yes. I was saying to Dom just last night whilst we were out for a drink, that I had written a whole bunch of songs and I can’t wait to work on the next record (laughter). Dom laughed and said that perhaps we should get the tour out of the way before we even start thinking about the next record (laughter). Then I started thinking about it and I got really excited at the thought of being back out on the road. It’s going to be great Kevin. That is now keeping me going until we get back out on the road. Festivals are okay but you don’t play that many shows. Perhaps a show or two over the weekends but from Monday to Friday I find myself just stumbling around thinking oh my god what’s it all about (laughter). And then I calm down and think it’s ok we have got the tour to look forward to (laughter). Just hang in there.

You are playing here in Nottingham at Rock City once again. What do you think to the place?

I love it Kevin it’s a great venue. They look after you well, there is a lovely dressing room area, the size, the shape, and everything lends itself to it being a great rock venue. We are lucky to be able to keep playing there. This will be our third time in under three years. We love it. They give you a t-shirt every time that you play there and I intend to get a wardrobe full of them (laughter). It is a great venue. It is just big enough not to be a small place if that makes any sense, but on the other hand it is not huge. I think that it is the perfect size. I think that they have got it just right. And I just have to add that the guys there cook a very nice meal.

So I will ask you the question, Rock City or Reading Festival?

Probably Rock City to be honest because Reading Festival is just so stressful. It is so stressful Kevin because it is the only festival where all of the management, all of the label, and all of your mates want to come. You find yourself feeling under so much pressure. Then on top of all that you find yourselves playing at a weird time. Don’t get me wrong it is always a great show but it is not as enjoyable as a big headline show. So I am going to have to go with Rock City because you have got all day to chill out after your sound check. There is no stress, you go on stage on time, and then put on a great show. It’s great.

A little bird tells me that something special almost happened to you here in Nottingham.

(Laughter) and just what would that be Kevin?

Let me just say that it almost involved a certain Miss Hannah Reid (laughter).

(Hysterical laughter) yes I now know what you are referring to Kevin. The last time that we played Rock City I had some free time so I went for a walk around the city. I was looking for somewhere to get a bite to eat and as I was looking through the window at Nando’s I saw Hannah Reid, who as you will know is the singer in London Grammar (laughter). I kept thinking to myself should I go in and invite her to the show. She has got such an amazing voice and I would love to hang out with her (laughter). I have to be honest with you and tell you that I actually bottled it Kevin. Who knows, we could have been great friends now but sadly we are not (laughter). I was too chicken to walk into Nando’s.

Describe your music to me in a few words.

That’s easy Kevin, absolutely brilliant (laughter) I’m joking of course. I have always tried to mix up different things; originally I wanted to mix funk and grunge. Those are the two things that I really wanted to mix because no one has ever managed to do that properly. I then liked the idea of mixing grunge and hip-hop with a bit of glam too (laughter). I just love anything exciting to be honest. I would love to take everything that is good about music from the last fifty years, throw it all into a blender, stew it up and pour it out. I would like to think that is what we are striving for Kevin. Just anything exciting really, we are trying to do everything. Perhaps that’s the problem, perhaps we should just stick to one thing.

I imagine that if we ever release a greatest hits album after recording let’s say fifteen albums, I would love to think that if you listened to a track off each album that they would all sound totally different but would still all sound like one band. I think that our music is simply all over the place; I have no idea what it is and you don’t need to. We will just do whatever we want.

On that point I have to ask, who has influenced you along the way?

The big influences that stick out from when I was younger would have to be The Who, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix were guitar gods when I was younger. Later I got into The Velvet Underground and The Stone Roses. After that I got heavily into house music and started clubbing which taught me a lot about rhythm. I got into David Bowie quite late but you could say that it was all of the classics really. I also actually got into some really heavy German techno (laughter). I have no idea as to why; I think that it was the people that I was hanging around with at the time. You could say that I fell in with a bad crowd (laughter). I have to say Kevin that my music taste is erratic (laughter). It is as if you were looking through the record collection of a serial killer (laughter) it is all over the place.

After the tour what next for Peace?

We aim to get together after the tour to play the new songs together. I have already written twenty-five songs; I think that I am going to write about five more and then we are going to get together and chose the ten or fifteen songs that we like the best and play them together, jam together and make them into what they need to be.

On that note Harry, let me say thank you for taking the time to speak to me and I wish you and the band huge success for the future.

No worries Kevin. Thank you for your interest in the band and I look forward to seeing you at Rock City.