This week saw the release of the second offering from PEACE. ‘Happy People’ adventures every shade of the bands repertoire to date, from pop gems such as ‘O You’ and ‘Lost on Me’ to darker tones in ‘I’m a Girl’. We caught up with Dominic Boyce, drummer for the band and he walks us through the album track by track. Here is ‘Happy People’.
Recorded with Jim Abiss at London’s Dean Street Studios, it was never intended to be an opener but is probably now my favourite song on the album. A song that features a string section which was a good experience. We went to a classical recording studio, which is exactly the same as a normal recording studio but a lot smarter and less shit everywhere! It was great to sit on the other side of the grass and hear an arrangement on top of your own music. It’s got a rock opera-esque middle section which sounds like it’s going to be awful but it’s between rock opera and good old fashioned ROCK.
Again, recorded with Jim Abiss at Dean Street. It was put out as a teaser for the album to get people excited. It’s a great one to play live. It’s got some interesting sampling on it actually, it might be a clock sample? We really got into stuff like that on this album. Quite often it was resampling our own stuff, we’ve not really used anything from archives. Jim pushed us in the right direction with that after working with DJ Shadow and Kasabian records.
Lost On Me
Was recorded in our first chunk of recording. We may have even started it at the end of 2013. It was probably for me one of the less comfortable things to record. As a drummer, what I know is to hit drums really hard but on ‘Lost On Me’ it’s explosive in a different way. Heavily compressed drums and lots of delay on the snare and hi hats, lots of dance techniques production wise. It’s a song that I learned a lot from. I remember from when we were chucking guitars on, I think it may be Doug’s guitar part. When he was learning it and doing takes for it, it reminded me so much of the DVD menu music from Flight of the Concords. Like when you fall asleep and you’ve got the music from the title menu going on loop, it’s kind of got that on it. I think it’s one of the best songs we’ve ever made. In a literal sense, as pop music and that’s something we weren’t shy of doing, very intentional. That’s not to say it’s obvious or more boring, I think it’s the opposite because as a PEACE song, this wasn’t expected of us.
‘Perfect Skin’ was one the last songs that we did, quite recently actually. It was as a result of the week we spent in Wales that we did with Duncan Mills. Because our album was due to be released at a later date than initially planned (for boring reasons), we thought there was no point touring at the end of last year as there’s nothing to tour so new management encouraged us to go in the studio for a week. If we come out with something that’s better than the album then we will put it on. We actually came out with three songs that are on the album now. ‘Perfect Skin’ was one of them. It was fun to write and record. I feel like ‘Perfect Skin’ was one of the more collective songs. By that I mean we kind of went from start to finish as a four piece more so than the other songs. It was on the heavier and rockier side of our album. The bass sound is ridiculous, The bass part almost takes a lead actually. There’s a middle 8 which is a bass solo that sounds like it should be a guitar part. It’s a bit of a Sam Koisser moment, there seems to be quite a few of them on the album actually. A good track to get people going. We’ve been playing it on the tour and by the end of the first chorus everyone’s loving it.
Now this one is the best example of the sampling I was talking about earlier. The drum track, I recorded everything onto vinyl and then we re-sampled the vinyl on to the track. I’ve actually got a 12” vinyl of just my drum track and some fills. That’s about as organic sampling as you can get. On paper it’s one of the more repetitive songs and the rhythm section almost becomes subconscious by the end of the song. The parts are interesting but by the end you almost don’t notice they’re there. Lyrically, it’s a song that gets me a bit sad. I don’t think Harry ever intended it to be any kind of sob story. I don’t like to talk on Harry’s behalf but the lyrics of that song, I can’t listen to them without feeling quiet and emotional. Anyone will pick that up even without knowing him, it’s a powerful song!
One of the last three that were recorded in Wales with Duncan Mills. It is a slow song of sorts, its “The Ballad” without being the token ballad. It was in no way supposed to be the ‘California Daze’ of this album. Harry came in on those three days and he was really passionate about getting that song on the album. For the most part it’s basically him and the guitar. It’s quite up front, it’s not delicate, it’s almost the opposite. It’s up front and powerful. There’s some interesting references to describe it actually. What’s that Green Day song? ‘Time of Your Life’? None of us are Green Day fans but he just heard it and thought that it was a really good example of a song that can be quite down tempo but still really in your face. Harry got me a Timp for my birthday, so there’s a Timp part on there. Any excuse to get the Timp on the track!
Money was the first song that we did from this whole process. It’s between ‘O You’ and this to be my favourite on the album. I may have even said this about the track last time we spoke but, ‘Money’ came out as it did because of the release of excitement to be in the studio with each other again. It’s got that excitement and energy in it and I’ve never got bored of it. Even though it was a long time ago (that it was released), there’s now a second generation of fans, and with an “award winning” video, so live, it’s a song that everyone wants to hear. When we are building set lists, they’re now at the stage where they’re contenders to be openers.
I’m a Girl
The third song we did in Wales. It’s on the rockier side of the spectrum, you’ve got ‘Money’ in the middle and then ‘Lost on Me’ on the complete other side. Another Timp feature on this one and we put some Porn samples on there too. Our producer Duncan, and this makes him sound like a real weirdo, has some old porn samples. If you listen closely, not to the radio edit of course, there’s a scream or two! I think it was a joke that went too far, I don’t know how it actually got on there! Of all the songs we are playing live at the moment, this is getting the best response. It’s full of energy. Lyrically, it’s probably one of the most interesting ones (maybe that’s why it was released with 4 lyric videos). People listen to ‘Lost on Me’ and like it but equally say the same about this one. It’s exciting in a different way.
Under The Moon
Demoed in a hotel room in Australia, although I might be wrong? And it was recorded with just a guitar and sung through the headphones microphone, hands free speaker. The guitar part on the record is the exact one from the demo. Obviously it was mastered and brought alive a little bit but we really didn’t touch that song from the demo too much because it was good as it was. I spent half an hour putting on some drums in one take, Sam did the Bass and then it was done. It was a really straight forward song in the studio. Yet I’m sure a lot went into Harry’s demo.
‘World Pleasure’ is a combination of the first thing that we did and the last thing that we did. We managed to get the first half of the song to a good place. We played it a lot and tracked it a bit but we all thought that something needs to happen at the end of it. Then we were in a rehearsal space and then Harry just started playing this riff. Harry gets a bit like that, when he gets something in his head and it just comes to him really quickly. He will be really intensely excited by it, to the point where he will shout for Sam to get the bass and be like, “PLAY THIS, PLAY THIS, PLAY THIS!” and it just happened. We played it once, and it was the same when we were doing the song ‘1998’, we would play it for like 25 minutes. It was only when we got a producer in and asked, “what d’ya think of this?” and he’d say , “that’s great but you’re gonna bore people with half an hour of it”. Which is probably fair enough. It was another ‘1998’ moment in that respect. One of my favourite moments of the recording process and I love playing it live. That had another big string section in it. It started as Harry’s distorted keyboard sounds and then we thought it would sound amazing if we actually got some proper strings on it. So we did it and it was complete. We got so excited by it that we just put it online! Until it went online there was never a point where I thought, “Oh? Harrys started rapping?” I’ve never heard it as rapping. But I suppose it’s just another Justin Bieber moment isn’t it? Everybody just loves to say that the lead singer of PEACE has started rapping. And that’s the album unless you purchase the deluxe version!
‘Happy People’ is out now and you can purchase it here.