Earlier this year, indie-pop trio Peaness released their debut record World Full of Worry, a harmony-dense charmer brewed with a concoction of wit, riff, and rhythm. Following the release of their excellent debut, I caught up with Rach from Peaness to find out what they were all about.

Who’s in Peaness? Introduce Us!

I’m Rach! I play drums and sing a few harmonies. We also have Jess on bass and vocals, and Balla on guitar and vocals.

How did you all meet, and when did you decide to start Peaness?

We all met at uni in Chester studying Popular Music Performance. Jess and Balla were in the year above me and we started writing together just as I was finishing my third year. I was living with Balla at the time and we used to set my kit up in my room, use a guitar amp for Jess’s bass cause it’s all we had at the time, and used to annoy my neighbors living in a terrace student house haha. This was back in 2013 – we just started off doing it for fun, but only started doing it properly in 2015 when we released our first EP and started gigging around the same kind of time.

How did you find your sound, was it something you knew you wanted to go for from the start, or something you came upon later?

In the early, early, early days we were just instrumental cause none of us could sing and play our instruments at the same time. As I say, we used a guitar amp for the bass which gave us the fuzzy fat bass sound we’ve kept now, same with the drums being big sounding and a big part of the sound. 

We wanted to sound like Death From Above/Sex Bob-omb (Scott Pilgrim vs The World) to start with, but we got a lot more poppy and gentle sounding the more we added to it/more we considered the vocals.

We’re big fans of The Beatles who have been a big influence with the harmonies aspect. The more time we spent in the studio, our sound developed as we became less focussed on replicating a live sound with a recorded track and allowed the songs to be as they are in a recorded format, which gave us the room to add more synth and different sounds for the album tracks. 

Tell us about your influences, musical or otherwise.

We’re all big fans of a well arranged pop song. It depends on when you ask us and what we’re all listening to at the time. What we’re listening to definitely has a big impact on the kinds of songs we write.

We love The Beatles, Paramore, Mitski, Courtney Barnett, Death From Above 1979, Pinegrove, The Beths, Avril Lavigne, Andy Shauf, Self Esteem, Phoebe Bridgers, Big Thief. So I guess a weird amalgamation of these things all get their way into Peaness songs.

Outside of the music – our experience of being the age we are, in the world we’re in, and the conversations we have around that, comes out in our songs. We’re all pretty environmentally conscious and are acutely aware we’re living on a dying planet, so that influences a lot of our conversations and music that comes off the back of that. We’ve also all gone through our 20’s now, so a lot of our music is about that time of your life, relationships around that time—with ourselves, partners and friends. 

What are you guys working on at the moment? 

We spent a very long time sitting on our debut ‘World Full of Worry’, and recently have been writing some more stuff with the vision of doing a second album at some point. It’s been very refreshing to go back to writing as we definitely had a phase during the pandemic/for a while after where we were struggling to get ourselves going creatively again.

Unfortunately, our producer Russ Hayes who we’ve worked with from day dot has been taken ill and is currently in hospital recovering, so we’re focusing on the writing aspect for now as opposed to finishing off anything in the studio.

With it being a self release and only having a very small team around us, we’re still working on the campaign and the tour surrounding this, while giving ourselves the space to live our lives outside the band. 

Your debut album World Full of Worry came out in May, how have you found its reception? 

Pretty mad! We all found it pretty bizarre to be in the UK Charts and to be featured in Time Magazine haha. Wot.

It’s been especially lovely doing the live shows and seeing familiar faces of fans that have supported us over the many years of us being a band. We have a very supportive and wholesome fanbase and we’re very grateful to those that have stuck with us for so long and still come along and buy the millionth edition of handmade peas my mother makes us.

On the other side – we definitely have a habit as a band of comparing ourselves to other bands and wondering why our experience isn’t the same as theirs. Such is the days of social media. So we definitely have phases of thinking ‘oh god, we’ve done it all wrong and are we even musicians’- then we talk to each other and realise we’ve just spent the last 4 hours scrolling Instagram and we’re just being silly billies.

What was the writing process for the album like, and what inspired it? 

We tend to work in cycles as a band – touring and writing. It was quite a while ago when we wrote a lot of the songs now so it’s hard to remember the exact process! I remember writing a load of them in the lead up to a weeklong slot we had in the studio a couple of years ago. I think we work well under pressure knowing there’s a point the songs have to be ready for.

It’s a pretty collaborative process. A lot of the songs start off with either an acoustic version of the song or an idea like a riff, chord progression or drum beat which we’ll work off. Some songs have come about by being in the rehearsal room and one of us telling the other to just ‘play something’- then one of us will play something over the top of that to fit in with it. I enjoy mixing up the different ways we write cause I feel like it brings different elements to the songs every time we do it.

You’ve got a pretty relentless set of dates coming up later this year, what do you do to cope with the stresses of tour?

God, it is pretty relentless isn’t it. We aren’t a very rock n roll band at all, so I think just honouring that about ourselves and not pushing ourselves to go out every night on tour definitely helps. Most nights we’re in bed by half midnight with a green tea in our Travelodge and a podcast! There is the odd night where we’ll have a ‘mad one’, but none of us can cope with the hangovers anymore. So if we have a very rare hangover day, we’ll make sure we’re not playing the next day.

We also try and arrange staying at friends/our mom’s place’s when we’re on away, which helps with both the financial aspect of touring and also being nourished by our moms who send us away with full tummies and a bag full of snacks. Jess’s mom also has a sausage dog called Mash who we all fuss the living hell out of when we stop there in Oxford. Love you, mothers of Peaness x

Thank You!

Peaness has a load of tour dates coming up, take a look and get tickets here.

Written by

Drew Manning

Drew Manning is the Owner and Lead Editor of Alibi London.