Interview: Pace

In the short year they’ve been together, Pace have achieved miracles: from working with Suede’s Bernard Butler, to selling out two London shows, they’re swiftly on their way to taking the world by storm. They took some time out ahead of the release of their new single, and their first festival appearance at the Great Escape, to chat to Gigslutz… 

So let’s start off with the new single ‘Through Your Fingers’ – tell as a bit about the track…

It was written about when you meet someone and things are going really well; you’re at that sort of beginning of a relationship. It’s sort of an ode to that time when you don’t wanna let them slip away but you don’t wanna be too keen. That weird middle ground. It’s a mantra to tell people not to be scared, to be yourself and be honest, ‘cause otherwise you might let them slip away and lose something really cool.

Which is what everyone needs at the moment. There seems to be lot of music out reflecting the mood of the world and politics, and it’s good in a way but we need a change. Do you feel like you purposely stay away from that kind of stuff or is it just not how you write?

Yeah, I don’t really write about politics. It is a positive song and it is positive energy, but I don’t think I necessarily sit down and decide that I’m going to write a sad song or a positive song. I was just going through something similar to the situation the song describes and it manifested itself in that way. But I know what you mean, there is a lot of misery. I think ‘cause the world is quite scary and shit at the moment it’s reflected in music.

Completely, but it’s nice to have some positive things coming out. And when did you start writing music? Obvious Pace only came to be last year but were you writing beforehand?

Yeah, I’d written for some other people, and I’ve been writing for about 8 years so 7 years of songs had built up over that time. It’s nice to have a platform. And we write together as well, so we have new songs but then we’ll develop ones that I’ve written before. I’ve always been writing really, I’ve just never had the right chemistry or platform.

With the band there’s quite a big focus on the vocals – were you brought up in a musical background learning to sing, or was it something you discovered by yourself?

I was brought up with music. My granddad’s really into jazz so my love of music stems from sitting down and listening to old jazz records with him. I learnt some brilliant things listening to Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. I’ve always loved singing and I had singing lessons as a kid, but then my voice broke and I got rubbish. But I got back into it, and writing as well. The songs are quite stripped back, we’re only a three-piece so perhaps the vocals stand out more than other tracks. I think it’s just the way it happens – we don’t really think: the vocals have to stand out.

And it works obviously, since you managed to spark the attention of Bernard Butler (Suede). How did that come about?

We’re really fortunate. He’s a really busy guy, but we had a mutual contact and he put us in touch and basically said ‘I think you’d work really well together’. He had a few weeks in between cutting some other records so we had a jam and I showed him a bit of what we were working on. He liked it and wanted to produce, so I think we were just fortunate with timing, we had a really good chemistry. He’s a huge name, I felt really lucky to get to work with him at such an early stage.

It is incredible. Who else would be your dream producer to work with?

I’m a really big Bowie fan, so Visconti definitely. But honestly, Bernard Butler was amazing. I’m a huge Suede fan so that was a real big moment for us, to work with someone of his calibre. I’d have to think about that more… Spector, as well, I’m a big fan of him.

So you’ve now had Bernard Butler produce your tracks and your only two shows so far have been sold out. What’s next? What else have you got planned for this year?

We’re still in contact with Bernard so, going forward, hopefully we can work with him again. We’ve got the single coming out, then a couple of shows at The Great Escape. We’ve not played a festival before so we’re gearing up for that.

A lot of bands seem to do it the other way round: they play loads of shows before releasing stuff whereas you’ve got a few tracks and only done two shows. Was that intentional?

Yeah, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way of doing it. The opportunity to work with Bernard came along quite early, and we ended up with this really great song so instead of spending time on the live circuit we’ve spent time in the studio. We’re still doing that, and we’ve got a few songs now, so only time will tell if it’s the right or wrong way of doing it.

It seems to be working! And lastly, before I let you go, can you recommend any new bands for us?

Umm, we listen to quite a lot of older stuff to inspire us like Billy Joel and Paul Simon… New music-wise: I really like Natalie Prass, although she’s not that new…  Angel Olsen’s album was awesome. Then Tobias Jesso Jr, Mac DeMarco…

Lovely, thanks a lot and good luck with the single release and festival shows.

Thank you!

Pace play at Beyond Retro, Brighton as part of The Alternative Escape (The Great Escape) on 18 May. ‘Through Your Fingers’ is out now. 

Melissa Svensen

Melissa Svensen

Melissa, 21. Editor. Student, music journalist, probably talking about Blur or Bowie