With his solo recording project Peace De Résistance, Moses Brown has crawled out of the sewers from his roots in favor of "demented glam" fused with motorik-driven art punk and fuzzy Zamrock. While last year's debut LP Bits and Pieces shows heavy nods to the glittering glam and proto-punk idols à la Iggy Pop and Diamond Dogs-era Bowie, it leans into Brown's admissions of anxiety on the fringes in a hyper-surveilled America. To dig deeper into Bits and Pieces, we caught up with Brown to unravel the making of the debut album and the ethos of PDR.
Peace De Résistance is the solo recording project of Moses Brown, best known for playing in the Texas punk bands Glue, Institute, and Recide. While hardly affiliated with hardcore, Brown is now based in New York City and has crawled out of the sewers from his roots in favor of "demented glam" fused with motorik-driven art punk and fuzzy Zamrock, a Zambian take on late-sixties guitar rock that evolved alongside glam. Brown first unveiled this recording project in 2020 with its debut EP, Hedgemakers, a swampy and more abrasive force of Brown's DIY aesthetics. Brown's street-level rock 'n' roll swagger and outsider charm widened once his self-released debut LP Bits and Pieces was ready to be recorded alongside Sasha Stroud at Artifact Studios. With heavy nods to the glittering glam and proto-punk idols à la Iggy Pop and Diamond Dogs-era Bowie, Bits and Pieces is a swarm of gruesome melodic guitar tunes that leans into Brown's admissions of anxiety on the fringes in a hyper-surveilled America. On the opening track "Boston Dynamics," Brown's recognizably harsh and groggy vocals break through the fuzz fury while melodic earworms like "Heard Your Voice" and "Manifest Destiny" prickle with nervous energy under Brown setting fire with his sharp guitar riffs. "We Got The Right To Be Healthy" sounds like a raygun burrowing into your skull with its romping groove that echoes legendary proto-punk anthems (The Velvet Underground's "What Goes On" and The Modern Lovers' "Old World"). Tracks like "Exploitation" and "Alphabet Au Pair" synthesize Brown's shimmering guitar hooks with the hypnotic rhythmic pulse of Krautrock. To dig deeper into Bits and Pieces, we caught up with Brown to unravel the making of the debut album and the ethos of PDR.
Paperface Zine: Peace De Résistance debut album was included in the top 20 of our favorite records last year. I'm familiar with your other projects, but tell me what led you to this new solo venture?
Moses Brown: Thank you! That's great to hear. This project started at the height of Covid. I was locked down in my apartment and began to figure out how to record at home. I had some more rock-oriented songs floating around in my head before the pandemic so lockdown really gave me the time to make them a reality.
PZ: When I looked up your name on Discogs, I saw you were affiliated with a project back in 2015 called Peacetime Death. Did that project progress into your new moniker Peace de Résistance?
MB: Yes [laughing]. In name only though. I thought if I was going to do another solo tape it only made sense to have another "Peace" name. Peacetime Death is sonically totally separate from Peace De Résistance. It sounds like me trying to blend Zero Kama and Syd Barrett eight years ago.
PZ: Why the name Peace De Résistance?
MB: To me, it sounded like an old anarcho band that released one song on a comp and then promptly broke up. It's also got a cool accent on the É and is hard to pronounce. The lyrics are full of lefty propaganda so the "Peace" and "Résistance" felt right. Plus, I liked the absurdity of calling my solo project a "Piece De Rèsistance." I don't know, the name is just kind of stupid [laughing].
PZ: Bits and Pieces melds fierce '70s old school rock 'n' roll flavored punk with hints of glam rock and warped outsider pop. Take me through its recording process and what was it like further developing your skills in home recording?
MB: Totally! So, a lot of the songs sounded pretty awful in their early stages. I really don't think my skills developed too much from the tape! I think the main difference was I got a fuzz pedal and a wah. My friend Sasha [Stroud] at Artifact Studios is really who's to thank for the improvement in audio quality. She recorded drums, percussion, vocals, and mixed and mastered everything. I listen back to what I brought in to her sometimes and it's mind blowing-ly flat and tiny.
PZ: How did you approach the recording? I see people using the word "slacker bedroom rock" [laughing].
MB: I have not heard "slacker" thrown around yet [laughing]. I do kind of understand what they mean though. I was going for the vibe of albums like Lou Reed's Transformer or Iggy's The Idiot. The sound of David Bowie convincing a burnt out Lou Reed or Iggy Pop to get into a studio, with only a couple songs figured out, and letting Tony Visconti or Mick Ronson help sort everything else out. The songs are all pretty simple. They probably each took about 20 minutes to write. It was figuring out the production, lyrics, and delivery that took like six months.
PZ: I read that you recorded these songs in an attic. What was your setup like up there?
MB: Ya! A hot attic with low ceilings and no windows [laughing]. The heart of the record was recorded up there with a fuzz pedal, wah, 4-track, audio interface, couple of iPhone synths, and GarageBand. Not much stuff! Headphones only too. Like anyone could easily recreate this set up in a heartbeat and should.
PZ: What were some sonic inspirations for this record? Any records you had heavily on rotation while making the album?
MB: Definitely Transformer and The Idiot, but I was also thinking about The Ghetto Brothers and NYC Latin jazz/soul like The Lebron Brothers or Joe Bataan. My partner introduced me to a bunch of that stuff and I can't get enough. Hmmm, other than that, I had "What Goes On" basically on loop. That's a 10/10 for me.
PZ: That's my favorite Velvet Underground song and I can totally hear that all over "We Got The Right To Be Healthy." There's also certainly a bit of Television Personalities and Cleaners From Venus to the sprawling stream of consciousness lyricism. What inspired the songwriting here and how did your original ideas develop into songs?
MB: Cool, I love the lyrics of Cleaners From Venus. Martin Newell is a genius. These lyrics came out of my disappointment with the lyrics of the last Institute record. That record has a huge overarching lyrical concept that at the end of the day was a bit alienating and preachy. I liked exploring these more political anti-capitalist ideas, but I wanted to do something from my own perspective. Like how does capitalism make my own existence miserable? So we got songs about being 1099'ed, songs about needing free healthcare, songs about being hyper-surveilled, etc. The daily nightmare. If I needed inspiration, I'd just go watch Frontline.
PZ: What felt different recording Bits and Pieces compared to 2020's demo tape Hedgemakers?
MB: The "band" on the demo was like a hypothetical Oi band that recorded in the same studio as Ngozi Family. Some of those tracks had elements of The Velvet underground and The Stooges. I felt most attached to those elements and decided For the album I wanted to take that inspiration and do a full on glam rock record. So, the approach was broader and more ambitious I guess.
PZ: What is Peace De Récords? Is this just a vehicle for your solo recordings or do you plan on putting out other artists' releases that are in the same vein of your new album
NB: Peace De Récords is a funny way of saying the record is self-released by Peace De Résistance. I don't think I'm gonna start releasing other people's music.
PZ: What do you have in store for 2023? Do you have plans to perform this project live one day?
NB: Not sure if you own the vinyl, but the insert says, "There will not be shows" and I'm pretty sure I'm sticking to that. I want to keep this a studio project. If you don't have any pressure to play songs live there's so much more ridiculous shit you can throw in there!
Bits and Pieces is out now. Purchase a copy of the 12" at Sorry State Records here.