What a year it’s been for Peace. Their EP Delicious might have come out at the back end of 2012 but 2013 has to be seen as the defining year for the Birmingham band.
Debut album In Love was released in March and since then they’ve gone on to play in the likes of Mexico, South Korea and Thailand, as well as notching Glastonbury to their already enviable headboard.
They’ve just started their biggest tour to date, spanning 13 gigs in 12 cities and ending in their hometown of Birmingham on December 13. We spoke with drummer Dominic Boyce on Friday ahead of their show at Nottingham’s Rock City about how the year has been for the band, setting up his own fight club and getting mugged in Coventry.
Hello Dominic. 2013 has been one hell of a year for you, with the release of your debut album In Love and some pretty intense touring. How have you found it?
On a band level and a personal level it’s been great. As a band it’s been progressive and positive all year. It feels like it’s inclined in every sense, down to the literal element of playing bigger shows but also in terms of developing our sound both live and in the studio. This tour is for us the peak of that.
How exactly has your sound progressed?
It’s quite trivial stuff really. It’s nothing to do with growing a sound as a collective; it’s more about becoming less ignorant than we were this time a year ago. Things as simple as the equipment we use and the way we tune up the drums or the amps we use. We’ve all played for years but this year as individuals and players we’ve grown and along with that our knowledge of what we’re playing has grown with it. I’m sure our sound has probably changed a bit, we’ve been doing some new stuff in the studio and I guess that’s moving slightly in a new direction
What can you tell us about the new album?
It’s pretty much at the beginning stage. We’ve got some stuff down but it’s very early days at the moment.
Any hints regarding what it’ll sound like?
I wouldn’t say it’s a radical new direction or anything. It’s slightly more refined and less ignorant perhaps but I wouldn’t really know how to describe it at this point.
What’s been the highlight of 2013?
I know it’s only just started but I think that this tour will definitely be up there. Also, doing things like Glastonbury and Reading/Leeds are undeniably things we’re all really proud of doing. Travelling the world as well and going to places which realistically we wouldn’t have seen if we didn’t do what we’re doing, and we’re very grateful for that.
You’ve played in so many different countries, from Mexico to South Korea, which has been your favourite?
The Asian tour we did was the most striking and surreal – just to go to that part of the world. To me that had more impact than going to America or Europe because culturally it’s so different. It’s quite weird when you see a different culture reacting to your music in a way that you wouldn’t really expect because it’s the other side of the world.
We played Australia and on paper that is really weird that we’ve literally gone to the other side of the world but what makes it weirder is that when we were in Asia it was just so different to anywhere that we’d been before. If you play in Australia and you close your eyes and listen to the way they talk it could have just been in… Derby.
You’ve been non-stop touring pretty much all year, how do you find the drive to keep on going?
I think the best thing to do is to just keep on going. The only times we get ill and feel run down are when we stop. We always find that when we get home and spend two days at home we start to feel ill. You could be on the road for six weeks and feel fine for the whole time. It’s always moving and it never stops so there’s not chance for your body to get ill because it’s constantly working to keep up. When you stop and relax that’s when it catches up with you.
Like a constant adrenaline rush then?
Maybe, yeah. Adrenaline is probably a very good cure for colds because it gets your body in super fast mode. I’m no doctor but I might have just cured the cold.
An adrenaline shot every winter and you’re sorted, probably.
If you ever get ill then just go and start a fight down town. If you’re still ill after then you get your money back but I very much doubt it. I might start my own fight club, but call it flu club.
Tell us about this tour then, on your Facebook it’s described as the biggest Peace tour.
It’s our biggest tour in terms of numbers, the size of venues for example. It’s also the biggest because we’re on the road with production, we’ve got lights now and a crew with us. It’s the most professional tour we’ve done I guess.
We’re going to come along to Birmingham as we’re Coventry based.
Oh, I like Coventry! We played the Kasbah earlier in the year and I walked out of the back of the venue to get to the shops and someone tried to mug me…
That’s one of the roughest areas of the city…
It’s actually the one and only time someone’s tried to mug me!
I can only apologise on behalf of the city Dom.
I appreciate that but it’s too little too late.
The last gig of the tour is in Birmingham, which is nice because it’s a homecoming and then Christmas. What have you got planned over the festival period?
I’m just going to go back to London and stay there for a bit and then be with my family over Christmas. Then me and my girlfriend are going on holiday to just chill out. I’m really looking forward to it but at the same time I’m not wishing away this tour because I’m really excited about it.
As you said earlier you’ve played at some huge festivals this year, including Glastonbury. Do you prefer the big festival stages or the more intimate gigs?
Any band would say that their favourite shows are their own shows, the ones that you headline, whether in a club to a 100 people or in an arena to 20,000 people. On the whole you don’t approach it differently because a show’s a show, but it’s a different kind of show. You love them for different reasons. You love your own shows because they’re your own and your fans are there to see you and you take real care over that. For festivals it’s kind of like you’re trying to win people over as you’ve obviously got to bear in mind that not 100% of the audience are going to know who you are.
Did you get to hang out at Glastonbury?
I stayed for the whole weekend at Glastonbury and that was really nice but unfortunately that was the only one we were able to do that with. We played Bestival on the first day and I really wanted to stay but we had to go to Japan the next day which was a shame.
Drenge and Superfood are supporting you on this tour- if you were supporting on a dream bill, who’d be on it?
I’d have us on first, then Arctic Monkeys, then George Harrison and then Led Zeppelin. That’s a pretty good line up – some old, some new, some dead, some alive.
That’d definitely sell a few tickets wouldn’t it…
It would wouldn’t it? I think it’d sell out the Rainbow in Digbeth easily
Speaking of Arctic Monkeys – they’ve gone on to become one of the biggest bands in the world right now, is that something that appeals to you or not?
It certainly appeals – at the end of the day you want your music to reach out to as many people as possible and you want it to be a worldwide thing, there’s no point in concentrating on where you’re from. What we admire and look up to is the fact they released their album eight years ago and they’ve been touring ever since, they’ve headlined Glastonbury twice, done their own worldwide arena tours, played at international festivals, but that’s seven years of hard work. That’s something that we aspire to rather than just being one of the biggest bands in the world. Absolute respect to Arctic Monkeys, they’ve worked for everything they’ve ever got.
And finally Dom…what position do you want to be in this time next year?
I’d liked to have released another record, to have seen even more places that I haven’t already seen and to go to South America. In fact, I want it to be exactly the same but times two. Two albums, two times as many places, two times as many people there.
That’s pretty much a perfect answer…
I think that’s an industry standard answer for that question. I just read that out of a handbook, but what I might do in a minute is open a window and chuck it out. And then just do something mental.
Then what you could do is find some kind of rule book and just tear it up?
Exactly yeah, or piss on it or something.
Click on the tour poster above to buy tickets for a Peace gig near you, but be warned, they’re selling out fast. To keep up-to-date with the band be sure to regularly check their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and official website.