Peggy Sue have had their fair share of identity crises in their almost-decade together, but in recent years, the trio have managed to adhere to a stronger, more fully-realised sound, and focus on a singular m.o., which has meant grand cohesion and powerful, fuzzy indie-pop. Trading in their twee-folk moniker (Peggy Sue and The Pirates or The Pictures), swapping pep for a matured edge - but still showcasing a poppy pizazz every now and again - and ascending towards an arena of atmospheric indie, dominated by acts like The xx and London Grammar, has been their prerogative .

The Brighton indie-poppers recently impressed us with their third full-length studio record, Choir Of Wolves: "strong lyrics, powerful vocal harmonies and unpredictable melodies make [it] a fascinating, enjoyable listen," wrote Doron Davidson-Vidavski in our review. While the new LP didn't necessarily venture gung-ho into fresh territory, there are enough subtler changes to their formula that it doesn't sound stale, and it's still a plenty addictive brand of noise. Lead single 'Idle' is, in particular, a grand highlight.

Katy Young, 1/2 of the vocals and guitars, was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the record's formation, their evolution, and life lessons - one lesson learned is that the Pixies have a thorough clean-up crew.


How is 2014 treating you so far?

Very well thank-you. We're just on a little tour of record stores this week, which is a wonderful but dangerous thing - we're going to have to start arriving late so we don't have time to wander off and spend all our monies.

What do you make of the BBC Sound Of 2014 list? Who would you have chosen?

I really like Empress Of and All We Are so I'd have put them on it and made them joint winners.

What was the process of creating Choir Of Echoes like?

It was great. We had a really clear idea what we wanted to do quite quickly this time - we had twelve songs we all loved that seemed to belong with each other by the time we went into the studio... and then we added a sneaky extra one while we were there. It took a little longer than planned, but I guess that's just the way it goes.

Where did you record it?

At Rockfield in South Wales at the end of 2012.

What was the biggest lesson you learnt from the process?

If you can't play something right for over 25 minutes, a game of table tennis will definitely make you feel better.

Who, aside from yourselves of course, was involved?

Jimmy Robertson was producer and engineer and all around good-guy, and John Askew mixed it transatlantically from Portland, Oregon.

Were there any interesting stories from the studio?

When we got there, there were all these big boxes marked 'Pixies' lying around, which we thought was very mysterious until we discovered that they had just been in doing a session until a few days previously. We searched the computer for their session but sensibly they had deleted everything... we took it as a good omen though, and listened to Surfer Rosa, as well as Title TK by the Breeders, lots.

What do you think has been the main change from when you started out almost a decade ago?

I can play guitar now, so that's good.

What advice would you give your past selves if you could travel back in time?

Pick one band name and stick with it.

Could you describe the evolution between Acrobats and Choir Of Echoes?

It's probably mostly in the guitar sound - Rosa in particular has been buying lots of toys and working out a sound that is really her own. Also, we used bass throughout for the first time - Ben from Mariner's Children wrote and played all the parts. That freed us up to play around with the guitar more. It's a little less grumpy as well - but whether that is an evolution or not, I don't know.

Could you give us a breakdown of 'Idle''s lyrics?

The opening and closing parts are a kind of mantra - I was unemployed and restless and spending a lot of time just hanging out. It's a prayer to someone - not a god, but someone - to distract me with something, even in the knowledge that it probably wouldn't be something particularly good or wholesome.

How was it created?

This was a song where the lyrics very much came first. I remember Rosa laughing the first time I played her the opening because I'd taken such a stock phrase and made it so completely about myself - I really am the worst when I've got time to kill - I make a million plans and write a million lists.

The video's interesting - is there a reasoning behind all the found footage?

I think we are just drawn to that aesthetic; the tone seems to go with our music for some reason. I love the idea of taking something from sixty years ago and transforming it through editing... there's some pretty sexy dancing too.

You've said the album's about singing. Can you elaborate on that for us?

Musically, the vocals take more of a front seat on this album. I think we both started enjoying singing more again and experimenting with all the different types of harmonies and backing vocals. Lyrically, the album is a lot to do with that too: losing your voice is a metaphor and a reality that both lead to a sort of helplessness. We've always considered songwriting a cathartic process and the writing of a song is in itself an assertive thing, kind of a way of rewriting your own story. The final song, 'Errors', is about that - the way that writing a narrative can empower you and give you closure.

Who's your favourite singer?

Chan Marshall - the early Cat Power records have such an unbelievable amount of emotion and subtlety to them, mostly from her voice. Also Sam Cooke, for just sounding so great.

What's been the biggest inspiration for the record?

Probably the process of making Peggy Sue Play The Songs Of Scorpio Rising. It made us all really think about song structures and hooks and harmonies again, and it made us really have to think about what Peggy Sue is musically - because we were playing other people's songs but making them our own.

How are the songs translating to a live scenario?

Really well. They haven't really changed much this time around except that we've added a slightly epic ending to the album closer.

Are crowds responding well to new material?

Very well!

Where would you play your dream gig?

I would love to play in Nashville... but that might just be because Olly and I love the TV show a lot.

If you could tour any country, where would you go?

We did a couple shows in Scandinavia last year with Jack White. I'd really love to do a whole tour of that area, it's unbelievably beautiful.

Can we expect you to do much festivalling?

Hope so!

What does 2014 hold for Peggy Sue, apart from the album of course?

Perhaps our long-promised R&B covers album....


Peggy Sue's third full-length album, Choir of Echoes, is out now. You can read our review of it by heading here.