Peachy Keen - Peaches Plays Groovin' The Moo
In the mid to late 2000s, PEACHES ruled supreme. Responsible for fearless dance-punk bangers like ‘Fuck The Pain Away’ and ‘Boys Wanna Be Her’, elaborate costumes and lyrics to make you blush, the Berlin-based artist has always done things on her own terms. In the middle of a “hectic morning” – with the occasional pause as her roommate brings her coffee and eggs “sunny-side” – Peaches chats about her forthcoming new album, Rub.
“I’m splitting my time between Berlin and Los Angeles,” she says, adding that the new album was recorded out of the garage of her LA home. “This is the first time I’ve actually done an album in complete collaboration with one person, my friend Vice Cooler,” says Peaches. “We just spent ten hours everyday for a year in my garage and came up with everything. No pre-writing or anything, just ‘do it now!’ Which is good – having a person present all the time was a different experience. We’re very comfortable together so I think it was a really good collaboration, good for me too to not just be alone,” she laughs.
Like her other albums, Rub is brimming with guest vocalists, including Feist and Kim Gordon, the latter who Peaches declares as “amazing.” Of Gordon’s performance, Peaches says, “It’s funny, because when people record with you you can’t hear the music you just hear them, you know? They have headphones on and it doesn’t bleed through the microphone. She doesn’t really sing, she has a rap kind of a voice. So it was really cool – it was like, ‘oh my god, that’s the voice!’ She just listened to the track and nailed it in the first take. I thought that it may be difficult because it’s not noise guitar, but I realised that she’s so experienced at experimental situations that she just rolls with stuff so easily.”
Thematically, Peaches has always been bold. Teaming a theatrical demeanour with playful, sex-positive lyrics that empower and provoke has always been her thing. What’s the concept she’s tackling on Rub? “I’d say it’s like post-gender, like a post-gender album. Like instead of struggling with why women fight with men..” she trails off, before declaring, “Next level.” But still with feminist values? “Of course. I mean, in a post-gender world, everyone’s a feminist,” she laughs. “It’s recognising that we have come far and recognising all the genders and understanding that some people don’t like to be defined by any gender whatsoever. Just feeling more than, you know, ‘are you a man or a woman’? It’s going beyond that and hoping that it gets more extensive – more respect, more things to say, more discussion.” And the musical style? “It’s very classic Peaches sound,” she confirms.
Of her approach to songwriting, Peaches is candid. “I’m not the kind of writer that writes every day, which I’m sure makes some people feel that then you’re not a real writer,” she says. “Like half the battle is just writing everyday, Nick Cave 9-5, like it’s a job you do everyday.” Instead, she pools her creative energy into the album or project she’s working on, giving it her full attention.
Since 2009’s I Feel Cream, Peaches has been busy with a multitude of other creative endeavours, including starring in a one-person version of Jesus Christ Superstar and creating her own loosely autobiographical musical. “This is my first album in six years,” she says. “It wasn’t like I was not performing – 2010–11 I did the play [Peaches Does Herself] which turned into a movie and then I toured with it 2013. I did an opera, L’Orfeo, [in which she played the lead] where I had to learn Italian and I’d sing these melodies for six months.”
When I mention that’s there’s expectations of what the stage show is going to be like, I’m met with an “uh oh.” Renown for her madcap stage outfits – such as a flesh-coloured leotard decorated with a cluster of large breasts, complete with barbie heads for nipples – this tour will see Peaches dial it back a little. No outlandish costumes or back up dancers. Instead, it’ll just be her alone on stage. “It’s kind of a little scary for me too, because I’m going back to a more of an old-school way where it’s just me on stage,” she says. “But I’m excited. I think it’s more of a test, too.”
As for her upcoming Australian tour, she’s keen. “I think Australian audiences really let go and are always really giving and I’ve had a really good relationship through the years.” While she’s no stranger to larger festivals like Big Day Out or even prestigious venues like the Sydney Opera House, Groovin The Moo - which will snakes its way through regional areas across the country - is a different venture. “I look forward to freaking them out,” Peaches says of the GTM audiences, “In a good way.”
Catch Peaches at Groovin The Moo, Sunday May 3 at The Meadows, UC. $99.90 +bf. Full lineup and tickets at gtm.net.au