Master Peace: ‘There’s more to this than ‘Black guy making indie music”

With his debut album, Master Peace is reimagining indie music, crafting a record filled with self-awareness, community, and a pursuit of joy amidst a world in turmoil.

Master Peace I Might be Fake Lead Image (low res)

“This finally feels like my moment,” says Peace Okezie, who’s been making music for as long as he can remember. First came a buzzy rap group that was “definitely” on the verge of something special but Peace left before things took off. “I just didn’t want to be stuck in that lane forever,” he explains. “I liked rap music but I was so intrigued by indie and pop, that I felt like I needed to explore that.”  

Almost six years later, Peace is gearing up to release his debut album as Master Peace. A ferocious, urgent record that reworks the fiery energy of indie sleaze and takes it to the club, How To Make A Master Peace (listen here) is inspired by Princess Superstar, Bloc Party, La Roux and Arctic Monkeys as well as the likes of Justice and Scissor Sisters.

“I just didn’t want to make a straight-up guitar album,” says Peace, despite the acclaim 2023’s Peace Of Mind EP and 2021’s Public Display Of Affection EP earned him. “The only reason I’ve lasted as long as I have, is because I’ve always pushed against the grain,” he continues. “I’ve never tried to stick to what everybody expects me to do. There are so many bands making predictable albums right now but I have not played it safe at all.” 

Rather than working through a backlog of tunes, all eleven tracks for How To Make A Master Peace were written specifically for the record, meaning Peace wasn’t precious about anything. Only the most vibrant songs made the cut. “I’m more sure of this record than anything I’ve done in the past,” he explains, with that swaggering confidence dancing through the entire project. 

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Credit: Press

A coming-of-age album about belonging, community and finding your own path, Master Peace’s debut sees him “speaking realness” and touching on a lot of subjects he’s never spoken about before. “Realisation and reflection are the key themes,” he offers, with How To Make A Master Peace covering his turbulent journey so far. “I needed this space to work through a lot of things,” he says of the cathartic record. 

For a chunk of his childhood, Peace lived in South-East London before his mother moved them away from the rising crime rates and they relocated to the sleepy suburbs of Morden. “It was the maddest juxtaposition,” says Peace. Some friends were jailed, others were talking about university and careers. “I had this real identity crisis and I really had to figure out who I was and what I wanted.”

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Things didn’t get any easier when he turned to music, either. “I’m not what the industry is used to when it comes to electric guitars, so I’ve always felt like an underdog. You do get down and start wondering if you’ll ever get clocked for what you’re actually doing, rather than what people assume you’re making,” he adds. “Hopefully this album will show there’s more to this thing than ‘Black guy making indie music’.”

“I could have made a record of mad guitar tunes and spoken about relationships but I wanted to make something real,” he continues, with The Streets’ Original Pirate Material and Arctic Monkeys’ Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not inspiring Peace to sing about the brutal, beautiful and mundane everyday. “Mike Skinner stood for broken Britain and the people who were living for their Friday and Saturday nights. Because I didn’t come from money, it felt like he was talking to me. There was realness to it,” says Peace. “I wanted to make an album that reflected this time we’re living in. What’s the point in making music that doesn’t say anything,” he asks.

Master Peace GET NAUGHTY ! Lead Image (HIGH RES)
Credit: Press

“I was trying to make a timeless album and I think I’ve achieved that. You want people to like it, but you can’t expect anything in this game,” he adds. “So I just made the record I needed to hear”.

Growing up, Peace saw Dev Hynes [Blood Orange, Lightspeed Champion] and Kele Okereke [Bloc Party] as “superheroes. They were Black, but still made this indie, dance-inspired guitar music,” he continues. “People criticised them for being whitewashed, even though their influences came from Black culture. I get the same questions, but I always knew if I gave Master Peace the proper energy, it would land.” With a string of singles from the album already connecting, Peace believes “it’s starting to do just that.”

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Despite songs touching on race, class, mental health and the growing pains of finding your own way in the world, there’s a resilient joy to How To Make A Master Peace. “I could have easily gone down the angry, political route, but that’s not me. This project is all about happiness and freedom,” he says. “With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it’s not easy to be a young person but I want Master Peace to stand for inclusion. I want this music to bring people together.”

The biggest lesson he’s learnt? “There’s happiness and love to be found in every situation.”

Master Peace LOS NARCOS Lead Image
Credit: Press

Way back when Peace Okezie first started thinking about switching lanes, his ambitions were clear. “I wanted to be the biggest artist to come out the UK. That’s not changed,” he adds. “I still feel that exact same way. Sure, it’s not as easy as I first thought, but I know that if I keep going the way I’m going, it’ll happen.”

And the first real step on that journey is How To Make A Master Peace. “There’s a lot of pressure with that, but pressure makes diamonds,” he says. “If it was an easy thing to do, everybody would be doing it, but I know how hard I’ve worked to get here.”

“The fact a person like me is about to release their debut album really isn’t the norm, but it should be,” he continues. “Master Peace really did come from nothing. I don’t have family members who work in music or anything like that. We built this from the ground up. I want others to feel like they can follow their gut wherever it takes them as well. Master Peace started as an idea, and look at it now. Who’s to say how far we can push it from here?”

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