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Master Peace
Master PeacePhotography Sahra Zadat

Master Peace is not following the crowd

Meet the genre-splicing musician as he releases a new single, ‘Regular Feelings’

Master Peace is shooting for the stars. “I want to be a pop star,” the 21-year-old musician told us earlier this year, when he was shortlisted for the Dazed 100. “I want people to listen to my music and laugh, cry, and let go.”

If he does become a pop star, his route to fame would be the sort of unconventional route that many young musicians go through in the streaming era – basically, typically atypical. Master Peace started making a name for himself in the UK rap scene, freestyling on east London’s now defunct Radar Radio, and getting namechecks from scene stars like AJ Tracey. But he cites bands like The 1975, Bloc Party, or the Arctic Monkeys as a much more significant influence on his current work. This sort of genre-busting alchemy was heard back in February this year on a remixed version of his single “Night Time”, which saw Peace combine his indie rock vocals with a guest verse from grime hero JME and a pop hook from west London singer Sophie DeMasi.

His latest single, “Regular Feelings”, is another left turn, inspired by the reggae music his parents listened to growing up. What it does share with his previous work is that knack for nailing late teenage, early adult feelings and anxieties. “I’ve got regular feelings that I can’t lose!”  It’s the first single to land from his upcoming EP, Love Bites.

Watch the video for “Regular Feelings” below, and learn more about the song and about Master Peace in our interview.

What was the inspiration behind “Regular Feelings”?

Master Peace: The inspiration was to show a side of me that fans haven’t heard before. There’s a massive UB40 influence on the record – I’d say “Red Red Wine” and “Kingston Town” gave me a brief idea of how I wanted the song to sound. I remember hearing it on the way to the studio and thinking, “I wanna make a reggae song.”

How did the song develop between your initial idea for it, and the final recording we can hear today?

Master Peace: Originally, I wanted it to have a very stripped back, reggae feeling, but my managers, Felix and Paddy, said it had legs to go further. Then I fleshed it out more and built it up to make it feel fuller in case it got played at Carnival. During lockdown, me and my producers, Manuka and George Reid, were trying to find the balance between the two – and  a few weeks later, boom, “Regular Feelings”.

The song is a bit of a left turn from what we’ve heard from you before. Do you like keeping listeners on their toes?

Master Peace: 100 per cent. I’m genre-less! That’s why it’s a ‘master peace’.

You said it’s inspired by the reggae music you’d hear your parents listening to while growing up. What’s the best advice they passed down to you?

Master Peace: My parents would say: definitely be you, don’t follow the crowd, go with what you believe in, and especially in anything you do.

Enough about your parents’ music collection though – what was the first music that you discovered that you felt you could call your own?

Master Peace: Definitely it would be pop or indie music I feel that I discovered on my own. Bands like Bastille, The 1975, and the Arctic Monkeys have definitely influenced my sound. And a lot of R&B too, like Brandy, Usher...

“The record is very different to what people have heard from me in the past – it shows me in a more vulnerable place as a man and falling in love with someone, and the pros and cons that come with that” – Master Peace

How did the idea for the music video come about? And why did you decide on a countryside setting?

Master Peace: My creative director, Sahra Zadat, came up with the countryside idea. She really wanted to make it seem like we were in another country, even though we was in Southampton. Sahra inspires me everyday. Her and the director, Reece Selvadorai, done an amazing job in making sure that something that isn’t an everyday situation looks so honest and genuine. I also want to shout out the actress, Savannah Small. Her vibe was infectious; she’s so talented. We all came away from it blown away by her confidence and ability to perform. It was a pleasure working alongside her.

The track is taken from your debut EP, Love Bites. What else should we expect from that release?

Master Peace: It’s a brief introduction. The record is very different to what people have heard from me in the past – it shows me in a more vulnerable place as a man and falling in love with someone, and the pros and cons that come with that. The EP is amazing. It’s going to be a pleasant surprise. It’s taken a lot to get to this point. I’ve basically been developing as an artist and developing my sound; it’s been a sick journey. I’ve got so much to offer as an artist, I can’t wait until everyone can actually hear it.

Who’s your dream collaboration? 

Master Peace: My dream collaboration is to work with Matt Healy from The 1975, Dan Smith from Bastille, or Dominic Fike. I’ve been listening to them.

After this, you’re going to be working towards an album. What ideas do you have for it?

Master Peace: I haven’t started it yet, but I got a brief idea so far – I think! I’m always in the studio writing and recording, so it’s on its way, but I want to make sure that the EP is heard by everyone before I get into album mode.

What’s the first thing you plan on doing once lockdown is totally finished and live music can return?

Master Peace: Go on a whole bloody tour! Promoters, hit me up. DM me. I’ve got a show that the people need to see.