The Canadian musician and performance artist Peaches pull us into the whirlwind that has been raging around her electric persona and eclectic career since the 1990s. Enjoy the ride.
Peaches is not just a singer. She is so much more than that: a musician, a producer, a filmmaker and a performance artist. She is the kind of artist who can simply enter a room and wow everyone inside. She instantly gets her audience’s attention and makes them think by using a simple tool – fun. “I think my music is fun. I think my ridiculous costumes are fun,” she explains. “I want people to enjoy the songs, dance to them, enjoy the spectacle. But when the lights are gone and the silence is there, then you actually start thinking about what you just saw and what you just sang along with.”
And Peaches’ lyrics are always to the point. “I chose this way to do it because I used to sing along with so many songs that were completely sexist,”
she says. “[I was] like, ‘Why am I singing along with this? This has nothing to do with me!’ So I have been presenting my world and my way and hopefully that’s helpful to people.” If you have ever experienced Peaches in her element on stage, you’ll know what she is talking about: dancers in bizarre, fetishistic costumes, vagina hats – even a huge inflatable dick. Peaches’ out-of-the-box performances are about showing resistance to the patriarchal system and she does it totally in her own way. “But I don’t wanna be preachy,” she says. “And I don’t wanna be angry. So I work in a way that brings people in – an inclusive way that celebrates.”
Peaches is devoted to creating concerts that are experiences for her audience. “You have to be devoted,” she says, firmly. “A lot of people ask me, ‘What advice do you have for young performers or musicians?’ It’s like, ‘Well, you better like what you’re doing, because you’re going to be doing it for a long time.’”
Peaches sees her presence as an artist as about more than making music, though. “Music is the core of making incredible art videos, making incredible performance art on stage, exhibition work beyond that. Music, for me, is definitely the core and the most important part, but it’s not the end… It’s just the beginning. It’s the jumping-off point!”
Her dedication to her performance is key to her success as a multitalented artist. “It’s over the top and it’s ridiculous, and it’s also political and it’s also a good time.” While some people have asked her to do less on stage – to take it a little slower, to calm down – she remains firm in her stance. “I can’t! This is how it is. I find it more exhausting if I don’t give it my all. Because [if I don’t], at the end, I have this empty, dissatisfied feeling.”
During her career, Peaches has been involved in lots of projects, including singing the title role in a production of Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo and touring with her one-woman performance-art show Peaches Christ Superstar. She chooses projects and collaborations that she feels are important – and if the defiant music she makes goes with them. “You know who I am! You know why you wanna use [my music]! You use it for a reason. I love that I established myself this way. You can’t use Dick in the Air for canned beans. It’s gonna make a statement if you use my music.”
Peaches makes statements with everything she does – every move she makes. She’s political and is more than happy to take on the patriarchal system. “People are full of fear and that’s what annoys me most. Fear of other people. Fear of something that’s not like them.” She aims to counteract this fear with the mayhem of her sound, lyrics and performances. “I want people to feel comfortable in their own bodies. That means everybody! I’m not just talking about queer people. Everybody needs to feel comfortable in their own body and that’s also the main reason why people have fear, or turn to power and greed,” she says. “It’s just something within them that’s not right, that they’re not dealing with. We’re all fucking insecure. All of us are!” But it’s important for Peaches to make clear that she isn’t fighting for sexual freedom – she’s celebrating it.
If music is just the jumping-off point for Peaches, we are excited to see where she ends up next.
Words by Ole Siebrecht
Photography by Jennifer Endom
Styling by Nuria Gregori
Hair and make-up by Tony Lundström at Blossom
Hair and make-up assistant: Felix Conrad
Postproduction: Marius Wolfram
#1 Cape by Nobi Talai, earrings by Xenia Bous
#2 Jacket by Acne Studios at COMME des COSTUMES
#3 Cape by Nobi Talai, trousers by Lena Voutta, earrings by Xenia Bous, belt by Urban Outfitters
#4 Cape by Nobi Talai
#5 Jacket by Acne Studios at COMME des COSTUMES
#6 Jumpsuit by SAMSØE & SAMSØE, gloves stylist‘s own