If there is one thing that causes an internal debate in my mind , it's hipster culture. On the one hand, I look with scorn at their tight patterned shirts, their bandwagon jumping ways, their self conscious posturing and their elevated ideas of what's cool and laugh quietly to myself. But then on the other, isn't that what I'm doing here, with this blog? Looking out for new and trendy things, and then getting on board if it fits my fancy?
Nation Of Shopkeepers is the Leeds equivalent of a hipster convention, regardless of which band are playing. Bunting adorns the walls, Red Stripe is 4 quid a pint and the bouncy floor comes ready made with Doc Marten imprints embedded in it. I absolutely love it. I love the people watching, I love the youthful atmosphere, and I love the feeling that I might happen upon the next big thing. Word on the street is that Peace might just be that.
We have two bands to enjoy before all of that merry excitement though. Hometown boys Forloco take to the stage first in a whir of microphone difficulties, making singer Dan Joyces vocals fragmented and very difficult to judge for quality. The issue improves by the time they start 'No Future' and it becomes clear that the suspected difficulties were not actually all technical, but in his singing style itself, barking and brash. It's an acquired taste, but works pretty well over the spiralling guitars, and even better when they pull off a psychedelic cover of M.I.A's Paper Planes.For the energy they are putting in, the crowd remains surprisingly cool, but I think this just goes with the territory. Bloody hipsters.
*For the bands full set, visit this link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgL42kWAtBc
From the tremendous shriek of extended feedback that sends me scurrying for my ear plugs, Carousels impress. Teleported straight from the 80s, they are shoe gaze dynamite. I hate shoe gaze, as a rule, but it's near on impossible to dislike their fantastically glum demeanour, stopping halfway through a song when they realise they are completely out of tune. With a bit more stage presence, they could be something quite special.
When it comes to Peace, it seems that you can take the boys out of Birmingham, but they will remain brummie through and through, asking the sound guy to 'bosh it up' and whipping their pudding bowl haircuts. Recent single Follow Baby gets the crowd jumping with it's Viva Brother come Nirvana riff, a headspinning dive back into the glory days of 90's indie. They're onstage for just under an hour, but it's clear that they are at their best when they know the end is nigh - California Daze sounds just as carefree and dreamy as it did upon first listen, Harrison Koisser delivering a considered vocal similar to that of previous tourmates Mystery Jets. It's a sign of career trajectory they could hope for with a little more work and a handful more of sunshine drenched magic.
Interview: Harrison Koisser, Peace
SIS: Last night we saw you at Nation Of Shopkeepers, how was the show? Is the tour going well? What do you make of Northern crowds?
HK: The tour is going spectac'. Spirits are high. Leeds was great. We love northerners hard.
It’s been quite a big year for you guys in terms of critical acclaim, do you ever worry about being written off as a hype band?
Not particularly. I think 2011 was the year for all that whateverism.
You’ve been compared to Wu Lyf, Foals and Vampire Weekend, what do you make of these comparisons? What would you describe your music as?
Errrrrrrrrrr Festive. I don't really know. I think most of them comparisons were based on our first demo or whatever. It's still very early days.
California Daze has also been described as this generations ‘A Certain Romance’ by Arctic Monkeys, a kind of indie epic. It seems that we’re lacking a sort of band of a generation and people are desperate to find it. Who was it for you guys growing up?
Spice Girls I guess. I still don't feel grown up.
What do you make of the music industry nowadays, are you bored of it? What do you think needs to change?
The music industry isn't actually that bad. I expected everyone to be a total prick but the people I work with all actually work hard, have a good swing & are all just really into music/really know their shit. I think it's people on the peripheries who think they're the big man who make it a kind of weird thing. Anyone can snort their way into a false sense of importance but it's just like.. what?
It seems these days that bands are putting a lot of money into merchandising or selling their music to advertising or endorsement companies. Is this something you would consider doing yourselves? Do you worry about the culture surrounding illegal downloads and the lack of physical sales, especially as a new band?
I think that's always happened right? It's cool to make people feel something with music. I'm not really worried about anything if i'm honest. I'm sure everything will be ok.
You’ve supported the likes of The Vaccines, Mystery Jets and Manic Street Preachers already, who has been your favourite band to tour with?
Mystery jets were the funnest. We really bonded & we're quite similar in that none of us are douche. We rolled on the floor laughing for as long as we could. It was heartbreaking when we realised we couldn't stay on the road together forever.
Your Delicious E.P has been out for a month now and has attracted a lot for praise for it’s cover, how did that come about? Are aesthetics something that are particularly important to you?
It was an idea I had at a party. We were drinking from hollowed out watermelons and I made the bold claim that a watermelon would be the cover for the EP. I'm a man of my word so I spoke to the artist Sam Coldy and we made it happen. It's weird how things happen.
Do you have any plans for your debut full record yet? What can people expect from it?
Yeah we've recorded most of it. It's sounding good. Expect a christmas meets summer solstice vibe.
You come from Birmingham, part of the kind of Best Midlands thing that seems to be happening at the moment. What is it about Birmingham that inspires you creatively?
Just having fun with friends and not really caring about anything ever. I used to work holding a stickboard outside the bullring for the club night FACE and that got me enough money to rock out for the week. I did that for the best part of 2 years maybe? I can't remember. It really felt like nothing mattered except for having fun. I guess it was irresponsible but so what?
What did you make of the riots in the area?
I remember on riot night we got a load of laughing gas & then went to a friend's house. I can't remember. No one really had anything to say did they. It sucked that loads of weirdos just smashed shit up for no reason. How boring. Eat my shorts rioters.
Are there any other bands from the area people should check out?
Yeah Swim Deep, Jaws, Wide Eyed, Pigfinger
You seem to have attracted quite a fandom on social networks like Tumblr and Twitter, what do you make of these platforms? Do you find it out that people seem to know loads and loads about you?
It's weird that people ask me about like highschool battle of the bands I was in and stuff but it's cool. Internet is spooooky..
Finally, for the students out there, what advice would you give to surviving academic life?
Don't worry too much about what's going on in the future. Make some sweet memories and everything will be okay.