For those of you who’ve been living under a subcultural rock, Peaches wooed the indie world last year with her beatbox porn debut, The Teaches of Peaches (Kitty-Yo). Formerly an elementary school teacher in Toronto, she got bored with life there, reinvented herself, and moved to Berlin, where scenesters were quick to recognize the genius of a woman spanking herself in pink hotpants and reciting raunchy deadpan raps like, “There’s only one Peach with a hole in the middle.” Armed with a trusty Roland MC505 sequencer, her music is simple with bawdy, repetitive lyrics—think Gary Glitter as a horny chick on cocaine. Her live show is a post-Spockian spectacle, in which audience members are known to strip, hump, and chant “Fuck the pain away!” in unison. Yes, for real.
Heeb: I saw you at Siren. The end of the show seemed sort of weird.
Peaches: Yeah, there were all these moms complaining, “That girl’s masturbating.” I wasn’t masturbating. And they turned off my microphone, which is really fucked up. But I had another one, so I picked it up, and that’s why I was like, “I’m being censored in America.” They had a sign up saying, “Say Goodbye.”
You were singing in German at one point, weren’t you?
Yeah. It’s a cover of Jeans Team song. That was really fun.
Jeans Team is an 80’s band?
No, they’re on Kitty Rock, too. They’re four really cool nerds who like punk style, Kraftwerk and that stuff. I would love to bring them here but they have so much equipment that it would be really expensive. That’s my band, (she points to a minidisk player). I made all the beats. I have eighty loops, so I just pick whatever and put it on there.
(Noticing scabs on her knees.) What did you do to your knees?
Oh, I’ve just been sliding around on stage and stuff, trying out these new moves.
So, we were talking about German music. Have you heard of Nina Hagen?
Yeah, I like her. My friend Ninya listens to Nina Hagen, and she lives in Germany so she knows all the songs in German, but I know them in English. They sound completely different. She’s an amazing singer, Nina Hagen. So cool and out there. But if I was going to make that kind of music, I’d really find it important to be a little straighter and get a little bit of that beat all the time.
I’m not sure if I know what you mean.
Well, a lot of people just find her really weird. And a lot of those songs aren’t so listenable. There are some good parts, but I don’t know if every song is like “New York New York.”
And your songs are pretty easy to sing along to?
Yeah. I like people to sing along.
What do you think about comparisons to Suicide?
It’s funny and kind of embarrassing, but I didn’t know who Suicide was when I first started playing this stuff. My friend Justin came to my show with his Suicide album, and was like, “Peaches, you need this.” It was my first Suicide album and I was like, oh, this is cool. Same with ESG. They’re four sisters from Queens, and their mom got them instruments in the 80’s so they wouldn’t get involved in crime and shit. They’re amazing. I get compared to them a lot, and I didn’t know them either. My influences were more punk rock and rock and roll, like Pat Benatar and The Who.
What do you consider your biggest influences?
I guess a lot of early influences were grade seven junior high dances. That was disco, man. There was the whole Jewish group of kids, and this sounds totally stereotypical, but there was also the Ontario Housing group. They were all black kids who were fucking amazing dancers, and all of the Jewish girls would stand behind them and be like, “Fuck! Look at those moves!” And we’d be trying to do the freak, and you knew you were doing a good job when one of the black guys came and danced with you.
Do you feel like you have a persona on stage?
Anybody that goes on stage has a persona. It’s just that mine is more a cartoon version of a persona, because I’m like, “Look, I’m onstage.” It’s a persona, but it’s deeply rooted in me.
Do you consider yourself shocking?
I heard somebody at the Coney Island show who was like, “Fucking karaoke. Give us a guitar or a cowbell or something!” My biggest problem is when they treat it like folk music and play my beats really quiet and my voice really loud. I sound like a comedian folk act.
How do your parents feel about your persona on stage?
I think my mother’s having a hard time, but that’s her problem and not mine. It’s not that I don’t love her, it’s just that I’m an adult, so she needs to respect me as an adult. She likes that I’m all over the press, but she definitely has problems with it. My dad, he played a lot of Barry White and Donna Summer when I was a kid. He was much more into music than my mother.