BIO Formed in Chester, England in late 2014, three piece indie-pop band PEANESS are the kind of instantly likeable, warm and creative people that can get away with having radio DJ’s blush like a peach every time they have to say the band’s name on the airwaves. Lucky really, as it’s a phenomenon that’s becoming increasingly more common with spins racking up at BBC Radio One, BBC6 Music, Radio X and more as this burgeoning bunch of friends grow quickly into the big shoes that the early press-hype has set out for them to fill.
First meeting at university, members Jess (bass), Balla (guitar) and Rach (drums) built their bond on timeless founding principles of friendship, a desire to escape small town boredom, an embracing of the DIY nature of the music they make, and their close relationships with other local contemporary bands. Their merch often includes handmade limited edition items by Rach’s mum, the band frequently make their own music videos, and their artwork and press shots are all done by close creative friends – Peaness then, is a family affair.
“We started practising in Rach’s bedroom after two of us graduated. Rach was still at uni in the year below me and Balla” says bass player Jess of their early days “We were just messing around - but with a full drum kit and amps - in a terraced house. Rach moved back home to Birmingham for a bit, but when she moved back to Chester we decided to give it a proper go. It was all just a bit of a laugh to start with!”
Referencing the likes of Drenge, Courtney Barnett, Death From Above 1979 as influences in the early days, the band say the key ingredients for the perfect Pea-pop song are “slow-punk, fuzz-pop, indie pop and DIY - it's got to have that punk ethic, but be a bit more polished”, and whilst much of their material is packed with melody and feel-good choruses, their lyrical content treads a smart line of light-hearted commentary on some timely social and political themes. “A lot of songs come from the conversations we have” continues Jess “‘Ugly Veg’ came from a documentary we watched about food waste. We got quite wound up by it and we wrote a song about it. Our songs just come from the things we talk about and things that are relative to people our age. There’s a lot about relationships and escapism too. We might comment on political things sometimes, like on ‘Oh George’, but I wouldn’t say that we’re a political band.”
The trio started performing live in July 2015 and since then have gone on to play alongside the likes of We Are Scientists, The Big Moon, PAWS, Francobollo, The Spook School, Yak, Goat Girl and The Lovely Eggs, with festival appearances at A Carefully Planned Festival, Wales Goes Pop!, DIYPOPFEST, Chester Live, Focus Wales and Sŵn Festival.
Their debut EP No Fun was self-released in 2015 and immediately won fans at BBC Introducing, BBC6 Music and BBC Radio 1, leading to limited edition 7"; AA singles of ‘I’m not Your Problem / Fortune Favours The Bold’ released via Canadian DIY label Kingfisher Bluez and ‘Same Place / Seafoam Islands’ in early 2017 via Odd Box Records, which sold out of pre-orders in two days.
Slots at this year’s 2000 Trees, TRUCK and Indietracks Festivals are the latest in a long line of big steps forward that the band have made in 2017 since signing with UK independent label royalty Alcopop! Records for the release of their new EP, Are You Sure?, earlier this year. Seeing a sharp upturn in both gig attendance and press coverage, they’ve won a raft of support from the likes of Kerrang! Magazine, Rolling Stone, UPSET Magazine, DORK, The Metro, The Skinny, Clash Magazine, Drowned In Sound and many more, for their playful but perfectly crafted power-pop. It’s a partnership which has so far proved lucrative, with the band’s core principles aligning nicely with Alcopop! Records’ sense of fun and staunch DIY ethic, especially as all three members still balance regular employment with the growing demands of the band. “It’s best to do as much as you can yourself” says Jess of their current situation “The joy of the DIY scene is always knowing exactly what’s going on, having control, not being told what to do and not being afraid to say “no” to things. We say “no” to loads of stuff, so we don’t wear ourselves out.”
Spending the rest of 2017 working on new material and slotting in further live dates to be revealed over the coming months, everything’s looking pretty rosy right now down on the Peaness veg patch.
The moral of the story? If you’re thinking about giving peas a chance, you probably should – the world could use a little more of their sunshine-laden indie-pop to brighten its gloomy days of late.