A nostalgic trip down memory lane, Acid Star explores the music of Peel’s members Sean Cimino and Isom Innis’s youths that influenced their deep connection with music. As Innis puts it, songs that are “lodged in my subconscious and also in my muscle memory”. Embracing the energy of the 90s and 2000s tracks like Y2J and Pavement carry a resemblance to the hazy and electronic whispers of Tame Impala and Gorillaz, making full use of their creative powers.
Performing together for decades, these two know the industry like the back of their hands, and as a result, know each other inside-out – allowing them to bounce off each other and not be afraid to spark a debate. Sean describes their relationship as one that blends professional and personal, saying that their “synergy” has created an environment where creativity oozes. Their trust in each other has resulted in an album that is courageous and tenacious having been able to work off each other’s intuitions and experiences.
Disregarding any preconceived notions of what is meant to sound good, Peel just rolled with whatever groove that sounded like it had potential, and, clearly, that technique has worked. This LP is elastic and seasoned – a feat of their musical journey together. Even though Acid Star is taking influence from the past, it is very much still forward-looking. Out on March 29th, Acid Star utilises new technologies and orphic visuals; a collaboration between the old and new, and an album that, we hope, future generations will reminisce on. We introduce to you, Peel.
Hi Sean and Isom, itʼs a pleasure to speak with you two. Could you define each other so our readers get to know you a bit better?
Isom: Nice to speak with you! Weʼre both musicians living in Los Angeles.
Sean: Itʼs a pleasure to speak with you too.
Congratulations on your soon-to-be-released album Acid Star! Can you tell us more about the concept or theme behind the album?
Sean: Thanks! Well, the title of the LP came from one of our songs on the record called Acid Star. Holistically, the name evokes such a visual stimulation and obscurity of sound. It aligned perfectly with the visual and musical influences that shaped this album – rave culture, the rhythms of 90s acid house, and the emerging guitar bands of that time. The concept though was birthed during an extended weekend session with my brother Nathan Cimino at his studio. We found ourselves immersed in the music that shaped us. It was a no-pressure exploration of what drew us to music in the first place, and writing from that place of pure happiness. Although we drew inspiration from the past, it transcends that nostalgia. Itʼs very much forward-thinking.
Isom: Acid Star is a representation of who we were artistically from 2020 to 2024. I look at it as a hub, planet or umbrella for the spectrum of creativity in the album across the music, lyrics, visual language and artwork. 
Innis, you said that this album is free from “any taste or judgment,” because it is influenced by the music you listened to when you were younger. How have you recreated the pureness and unconfined energy associated with a childlike relationship to music in Acid Star?
Isom: One of the things I love about playing drums is that it is an expression of rhythm that comes from the body. There are rhythms from songs on the radio that I would listen to as a kid that are lodged in my subconscious and also in my muscle memory. In our first recording sessions we started messing around with recreating those familiar childhood grooves. It almost started as a joke, but when we listened to the rhythm tracks back, they were filled with confidence, energy and life. My childhood love of music was free from judgment from the outside world, before my inner critic was developed. Expressing from that purity I think helped guide the rest of the record.
Sean: Our guiding principle was simple: it had to excite us. We weren't interested in pursuing ideas that sounded cool but then lacked depth. If a groove, lyric idea, or a synth sound sparked that childlike curiosity, then we were all in and pursued it relentlessly until we had a great song– that was our goal. We approached the music with a complete disregard for any preconceived notions, and that mindset helped shape the final outcome.
You both met while touring with Foster the People and just knew you had a spark. How has your bond influenced your sound?
Isom: Weʼve been playing music together for over a decade. Thereʼs a shared consciousness we have from all of our experiences over the years that I think absolutely gets fused into our expression together, not just music but the way weʼve grown up and have seen or see the world.
Sean: Touring in FTP it was like being in the same cultural whirlwind together; a shared immersion all happening simultaneously. When you're in sync like that, meaningful connections are bound to form, and that synergy inevitably spills over into our creative endeavours. Human relationships influence the outcome of any creative output.
Has your close connection added to the meaningfulness of this album? How much does trust come into play?
Sean: I think the close connection plays into the meaningfulness of the record for sure. I mean, we've covered the globe together, navigating the highs and lows that come with extensive touring. It's gruelling at times, but undeniably fulfilling. Spending more time on the road together in a year than with our own families is a unique bond. Despite our individual musical backgrounds, our time together has been profoundly influential; witnessing each other's growth and maturity as individuals and artists. Isom possesses qualities that complement mine, and I look to his perspective for sure. Trusting his instincts, even when it challenges my own, and vice versa - itʼs what strengthens the whole thing. The decision to do on another musical project together speaks volumes about our connection and shared vision for the future.
Isom: Definitely, trust is a huge thing when writing music. In our process when one of us has an idea, we usually will chase it 100%. Even if it ends up not working, it will usually lead to something productive. The beginning of writing a song is always my favourite part because we can just make bold choices and not put expectations on how something is supposed to sound. The finishing process is where the editing process gets a little more fine tuned and ruthless.
If your album was a recipe, what ingredients (instruments, time, location) would be essential to its sound?
Isom: Drums, Line 6 DL4, Juno 106, Ableton, Autofilter, pandemic or post-pandemic boredom, Los Angeles.
Sean: Synthesis: Korg Er-1 beats, arp sounds of the Prophet 6, and deep Moog undertones. Guitars: Fender Jazzmaster, Rickenbacker, and P bass. Creative engineering of Nathan Cimino. Taylors Gialiʼs Camera. Various studios in the process: Susanne Street Studio (Costa Mesa), Sargents Studio (LA), Domino Studio (LA) and Isomʼs loft (LA).
You worked on this project in Innisʼ loft in Los Angeles. How did this acoustic and industrial space impact the production of the album? Are there any tracks that are directly influenced by the echoes and reverberations of the loft's sonic qualities?
Sean: Naturally, the concrete walls gave us a lot of swirling tones so we focused on making the drums as dry as possible. We didnʼt add any ambience or reverb, unlike our EP where we embraced the atmosphere. It was cool hearing all our synths, guitars, and vocals a bit more distant creating depth to the drums in that way.
Isom: I think with each part we try to approach it from a live perspective, how it would sound if 4 people were playing it in a dingy club. Making music in a loft helps fill the space out, even with electronic-sounding tracks. I think it gives the machine elements a little bit of humanity.
Surely you sometimes bicker or disagree from being in such close proximity to each other, have you ever faced any challenges in production as a result? Have you faced any challenges in general?
Sean: Yeah, that's happened before. We both feel strongly about the music and the visuals in Peel, and that's why it clicks – because we genuinely care. There have been moments where we've had to let each other fully explore an idea, no matter how long it took, just to grasp it completely.
Isom: I think getting in disagreements sometimes is part of the process. I think we have an intuition of when the best idea wins. The biggest challenge I think is deciding when a track is finished.
Your single OMG is being released on February 27th. When I was listening to it, it felt reminiscent of Tame Impalaʼs psychedelic-groove vibe. Is this hypnotic melody thatʼs consistent throughout the album because of a 2000s influence or for some other reason?
Isom: The 2000s were my formative years discovering music. One of my favourite albums I found in that time (that Sean and I share a love for) was Air’s 10,000 HZ The Legend. Thereʼs something very psychedelic in the way they treat their vocal performances, and even how they incorporate technology. That influence I think is baked into the sound of Peel. Also, there are so many Neptunes songs that were played on the radio during that time. Their grooves are so hypnotic— you can play them over and over again.
Sean: We're always experimenting and trying new things. Our goal is to create something authentic and meaningful, and if listeners find connections along the way, that's a part of the journey.
How do or will the visual components contribute to the way we listen to the album? You have already released a music video to accompany Y2J, are you planning on releasing anymore?
Sean: Yeah, we've got more videos lined up. Visuals are absolutely key for us; it's like they're the heartbeat of our music. Our culture, you know, it eats music with its eyes first. Phones glued to our hands and I guess goggles on our faces now? It's hard not to link music with some kind of imagery. But I love it, I’ve got to be honest. [We’re] fortunate to have our dear friend Taylor Giali, who is practically a third band member at the creative helm. He and David Black contributed immensely to our latest album. Taylor directed these videos we have in the works called Rehearsal Tapes. Isom and I overlapped, playing all instruments live in 2 looped takes in a David Hockney-inspired layout. Weʼve always delved deep into visuals; even made an NTS mix visual installation you can watch on our website at peel.global. Even though it's a mix of our favourite artists and a little bit of our music sprinkled in, it inspired us, so we went all in.
Having developed as people and as artists, I assume your music taste and style have also changed! What would you say your current favourite songs or artists are? Do you think your next album will be influenced more by who you are now rather than your child-selves?
Isom: I havenʼt been listening to a ton of music lately but when I do itʼs either Korn or random songs from TikTok. I really like Memo Boy as well. I actually have no idea.
Sean: Respect to Korn. I donʼt know, this question is daunting. Looking through my recents - compositions of mid-20th-century synth pioneers, CAN and Joy Division. I love anything Paris Texas does. The collaboration between Rosalía and Björk was beautiful. Troye Sivan's visual storytelling is equally amazing on his latest release. Iʼd love to work with all of these modern artists somehow. As for our next album, itʼll be a reflection of our evolution as individuals and artists. Change is constant, art informs art, and our next project will be a testament to that, capturing who we are now and where our journey takes us.