Writer__Lucy Brisbane McKay
Peers are four eighteen and nineteen-“almost twenty” year olds who are working on their debut single, which, if the music industry buzz is anything to go by, is going to be big. Under the same management as Alt J, the boys are in good hands. Their casual youthful image makes the bold sound of the Reading based guitar band even more surprising than it already is, in the synth and folk filled sound of the moment.
I met Peers in Angel before their gig. The lead guitarist and the drummer, Chris and Jack, rolled up on long boards, the kit on their backs. Manager Kirsten, who seems sweetly mum like with the band, commented, embarrassed, that the other boys were so naughty for being late, just as the shy bassist Elliot and not so shy frontman Mathew strolled in.
Discovered via Myspace in 2010, Peers were still at school when they began, practicing after class until the janitors locked up. “We’ve had our heads down finishing A levels,” said Jack. Two years later with their exams finished- the real work is beginning.
I wondered where the name Peers came from. “It was lame how we’re all the same age and our songs were about our peers.” laughed Mathew, “but the name Peers just fitted.” He described their sound as “Big…like a soundtrack to a film that hasn’t been made yet.” Jack and Chris said that at first it was bands like Arcade Fire and Daft Punk that were influential and Mathew referenced “Bowie, Springsteen, people like that. I like listening to artists,” he said “who have their own kind of world and image”, which certainly showed in the frontman’s stage presence.
Talking to them, it felt as though they were just good friends out for a drink but a few hours later I was standing in an audience which contained scouts from every major record label to mind, who certainly seemed impressed. The band is raising the volume of the twinkly London music scene with energetic, exuberant tunes. Despite their age, they filled the stage effortlessly, with a sound that you can picture being echoed by thousands of drunken fans at festivals, particularly the anthemic ‘Nightdriving’.
Peers have been working with a producer but record most of their stuff in true lo-fi style in Jack’s garage. Soon they are opening a show for the Mystery Jets and have a number of headline gigs coming up around the UK as they work on a single for release around Christmas time. In the long term however, the boys have big ambitions. “Being invited onto Jools Holland is the ultimate goal,” said Chris. Elliot would be happy just to “do something you like every day.” Jack joked that maybe they could have a documentary “on BBC four, sixty years down the line” and Mathew dreams of a band film “to immortalise us” and “albums and touring… To transcend the fucking internet. Not just be ‘some band’, I want to be Peers. Just Peers.”