The Chester three-piece have been cutting their teeth on the UK scene for over four years. SlantedPress sat down for a chat about their progress, plans and that priceless name.
You’re already thinking about the name, aren’t you? Rolling it over in your mouth a bit, figuring out how to say it? Turns out, Peaness (PEA-NESS) don’t think about it too much themselves. “We weren’t taking it very seriously, and then we did, and we were like “oh…we’re called Peaness now”” Rachel (drums) muses. “It does raise a few eyebrows”, Balla (guitar) chimes in, “Think we’re just used to it now. It was our own fault really, we brought this on ourselves”. There’s a harmony between the three of them that extends beyond their music, and they bounce off one another comfortably as they chat.
The trio, completed by Jess on bass, met during university. “We all studied music at Chester and used to practise in my old student accommodation, which I’m sure the neighbours really enjoyed” Rachel says. But it was more than a love of music that helped form the band, and according to Balla, messing around for a bit was key. “For me, it wasn’t until we started playing together that we realised “oh, this is actually working really well”. It’s difficult to find that kind of magic group of people or whatever. As soon as we had a few practices, I was very happy with it.”
Their friendship was clearly just as important a motivator as the practice and creativity. “You’ve gotta be able to enjoy each other’s company, otherwise it’s just not gonna end well. We’ve already been in it for a few years and we don’t hate each other or anything like that” says Jess, for whom the bond clearly comes first. “It’s like a three-way marriage”, Balla elaborates, “so it’s kind of important that we like each other.”
Once Peaness was rolling, as Rachel explains, they turned their attention to writing music and playing gigs. “It was about a year after we finished uni we started gigging, because I moved back to Birmingham and started travelling. At the start we just met up for fun, just to see what we came up with”. What they came up with were two EPs, No Fun and Are You Sure?, released in 2015 and 2017 respectively, blending summery indie-pop with a DIY punk vibe. The reception to the releases was extremely positive, but Jess remains humble. “At first, we didn’t know if we were any good. You kinda think it’s good, but you’re biased. So, having a good response was encouraging I guess”. Are You Sure? received a spate of four and five-star reviews, and Rachel seems a bit dazzled by the response. “I wasn’t really expecting the kind of feedback that we got, we got featured in Kerrang which was a bizarre experience. Seeing our faces in that, what the hell’s going on?
The two EPs total nine tracks, but Balla and Rachel both share a fondness for ‘Same Place’, from the band’s second release. When asked why it’s their favourite, Balla offers up the track’s themes. “It’s got a little bit of like…. nostalgia about it and it’s a little bit sentimental ‘cus it’s about where we live and all our friends”. Rachel, on the other hand, is more technically-minded. “We’ve got a lot of dynamic changes, I really enjoyed writing that one”. It’s easy to hear—and see—why; it’s an uplifting track with an adorably low-fi video.
It's been a gig-heavy run for the band, but we wanted to know if they were planning to release more music any time soon. “Maybe. We’re not really too sure when it’s getting released or anything” Rachel tells us, pausing to choke on a slice of pizza. “We’ve recorded an album’s worth now. But we’re not really too sure when it’s coming out. The material’s all there, but it’s secret”. An air of mystery, then.
Still, we had to get something out of them, so we asked if they’d come up with names yet. While Rachel is quick to crush our hopes of an exclusive reveal, Jess is confident that they’ll have something witty eventually. “We came up with ‘Peaness’ so it’s gonna take us a while to come up with some album names” she explains. “I think it comes quite late usually. When you’ve got the vibe and the order of the songs, then it seems to come about. No rush.”
As a final question, we ask who they’d most like to collaborate with in future. Rachel’s quickfire suggestion of Courtney Barnett provokes an excited “I KNEW you were gonna say that!” from Balla, before the trio spiral into a game of ‘who can suggest the biggest name’. Jess goes for Paul McCartney, while Balla opts for the perhaps more suitable Biffy Clyro.