The never-ending Minnesota winter is a good time to check out Imposter Syndrome by The Peace Accord. It just might give a glimpse of meaning or acceptance or even appreciation for endurance and wisdom of adversity.
Please tell us about The Peace Accord and your musical history.
I should say that The Peace Accord as a band name was something that I had in mind before I even played in bands.
I started playing in bands as a teenager, nothing too serious until college after joining up with a punk band and then doing design work for bands while playing the occasional show here and there. Then it was playing in bands with friends playing wherever we could. Later, I would start a post rock band to kind of build bigger instrumental movements that were fun and went through a few iterations under other names.
When I moved to the Twin Cities in 2018, I wanted to start a band somewhere like Pavement meets Superchunk. While I joined two bands, I was writing more than the bands I was in wanted to do and that ended up making the first Peace Accord record in 2019. Initially, it was instrumentals working off weird tunings and when the Pandemic hit, it kind of became its own thing and I made it my vehicle to make it whatever I felt.
The lyric turn in Guestroom from borrowing from The Temptations’ Not to Proud to Beg to moving the guestroom is such an interesting reversal from the original. What was the inspiration?
For Guestroom, I already knew that song was going to be different from any of the others on the record in terms of style. Something about The Temptations kept calling out to me. I love the Classic Five lineup and while I’ll never sing David Ruffin, I realized I could take the sentiment of the opening lyrics and turn around the perspective.
A person without regret is either a person in denial or who has yet to see regret of their own. Not every choice we make is correct, sometimes a good idea is not the right idea. Guestroom is about a person thinking they made the right call, and having to live with that weight of knowing there is a person they have left behind lingering out there and on their conscience.
Your music is atmospheric with vocals and movement. What is your process for creating the sounds?
Thank you for saying such a kind thing about my music! Atmospherics are something I attempt but don’t always land. My approach varies from song to song, but in my tool box of reverb and delay are really just space and placement. The right amount of quiet can make the subtle sound like an ocean. I think I’ve yet to capture it like that, but I would love to! As far as atmospherics with vocals, much of that is me experimenting with making my voice fit the song. The problem with that is that my voice will change up in tone from song to song, but I’m just trying to enjoy each song and what I hope goes well with the music.
Selfishly and in part because I’m planning on a trip to St John’s, please tell me more about The Lighthouse Keeper. The music and lyrics remind me of some grey days in Ireland but not in a bad way just in a heavy way. The music makes me feel the bracing, yet comfortable, cold of a northern sea.
The Lighthouse Keeper is such a fun song for me. I have this strange fascination with the maritime north atlantic area of our continent and was asked to write a sea chanty as part of a songwriting club that I am in. I immediately thought of the place where people live in Atlantic Time and had to incorporate it. Living in Minnesota, we have our own struggles with winter and the isolation it can sometimes provide, so it seemed fitting that writing about someone in another time trapped on a rock during winter could be relatable. I had just gotten an antique tenor banjo and a simple progression inspired a melody that reminded me of The Pogues and it just came together. While, I didn’t intend it to be a bummer, it just kind of progressed to what it became and I try to let a song be what it is as opposed to what I want it to be.
The way you describe it is very similar to how I see it! May you have a great trip!
It feels like Imposter Syndrome embraces hard parts of life – not in a surrender or huff or dismissal but acceptance. How did it feel to create and how does it feel to have it created?
I like how you worded that. Life, without the adversity could debatably not be life at all. How are we to know of the good times and what they are if we haven’t experienced bad times? I also didn’t intentionally mean to write a record of sad songs, I just let the songs be what they are and hoped that they worked together. Candlelight Moves is an open letter to a dear friend who just happened to be going through a very hard time.
I would say also that as far as social media presents things, we are always given the best and glossy version of things and I hope that I shared some moments that could let people know that those matte moments are important too.
At first, I wondered how people would take these songs. It’s a mixed bag of fiction and non-fiction and I hope someone could take a song about being with a loved one as they pass or the regret of wondering if you’d made the right call as something that is ok to take in for what it is.
Life isn’t always glossy, life isn’t the perfect picture. And I hope that with this record, I could let people find the beauty in what we got to have as opposed to an ideal that might not happen.
Writing is always a joy for me, and some of those songs hit me in various ways, but I’m happy to share these stories as a whole.