GT (UK) - - MUSIC -

She’s right. Who would’ve thought the cover im­age of Peaches’ 2003 al­bum Father­fucker – where she sports a fetch­ing beard and bathing suit – would find a mir­ror im­age in main­stream Euro­vi­sion star Con­chita Wurst?

“So I de­cided this al­bum I’m not strug­gling,” says Peaches, “it’s not a con­tro­ver­sial al­bum, it’s a cel­e­bra­tion.”

Con­tro­versy has al­ways been an easy bed­fel­low for Peaches, just by virtue of her in­cred­i­ble and con­fronta­tional live shows. We’ll never for­get an early 2000s Manch­ester show where she per­formed unan­nounced and spat fake blood in our face.

“I think that it’s be­come even more im­por­tant now, with such a dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence that ev­ery­one is hav­ing,” she says. “I’ve al­ways been a cham­pion of be­ing there. That’s why I feel like I’m a per­for­mance artist, be­cause I want to be di­rect with you and right there. I feel the cel­e­bra­tion, I feel the anx­i­ety, I feel the ela­tion, I feel the re­pres­sion.”

Peaches recorded Rub with Vice Cooler, the coolest queer you’ve prob­a­bly never heard of. From an Alabama bro­ken home, he saw Peaches as a 16-year-old and started putting bands on in his base­ment, be­fore hit­ting the road and be­friend­ing the likes of Deer­hoof, Fugazi, Sonic Youth... and the head peach.

“I took him on tour many times, ‘cos I have this in­sane energy, too. We talked so much about mu­sic and pro­duc­tion and what we like aes­thet­i­cally. I bought a lit­tle house in LA and it had a garage, and we just worked there ev­ery day – ten hours a day, from scratch, noth­ing. For a year. And it was great, ‘cos there’s no sex­ual ten­sion and there’s no ul­te­rior mo­tive. It was like, ‘Let’s get this done’. We were a lit­tle shell shocked af­ter, we were a lit­tle bit, ‘What just hap­pened to us?!’”

What hap­pened was Peaches re­turn to the grubby, raw, messy self of her first two al­bums.

“I agree this al­bum is back to ba­sics, raw, fuck you.” And it’s a fun fuck you, that you can fuck to. “It’s ac­tu­ally very well pro­duced, but the raw­ness hasn’t been taken out. We had it mixed by an in­sanely ex­pert mixer, but we were like, ‘No, we wanna make it more raw, we wanna make it tougher.’ ‘Cos if you can make things slicker, you can ma­nip­u­late sounds.”

There’s one mo­ment on Rub where things take a more lit­eral fuck you, on Free Drink Ticket. There’s a real mal­ice, the kind of song Peaches hasn’t writ­ten be­fore. It hap­pened with Plan­ning­torock and taps into the raw feel­ings of a break up – but equally ap­plies to bitchy club cul­ture.

“We were in the stu­dio to­gether and I was like, ‘Could you leave the room for a minute?’ And it just came over me and was like ‘waaargh!’ And in Plan­ning­torock style, we pitched the voice down and then we were lis­ten­ing to it and grab­bing each other and fear­ing for our lives. Who is this per­son?!” When Peaches isn’t scar­ing her­self shit­less, she’s mak­ing the sex­u­ally charged, min­i­mal punk elec­tro she made her name with. Lead sin­gle Light in Places is a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple, one of the pop­pier mo­ments – and com­plete with a laser­shoot­ing light-up dildo in the video.

“With that video it’s so funny, all the com­ments they were just great,” she says. “Some­body wrote the best com­ment, ‘Power bot­toms be like...’ I was like, ‘That’s it!’” In a cul­ture of bot­tom sham­ing, it’s great to hear some­one talk so openly about anal plea­sure. Es­pe­cially for guys, who have an anatomic ad­van­tage.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with a ‘straight’ guy and you go near his but­tocks and he’s just... To­tally shocked. And there’s al­ways an, ‘Oh, uh, what?!’ And then it goes ei­ther way. But it al­ways feels like it’s free game to go to a woman, which doesn’t make any sense. As I’ve ex­plained in Back It Up, Boys – there’s ac­tu­ally a phys­i­ol­ogy that makes it more plea­sur­able and in­tense for a man.” She laughs, and we re­gale her with some per­sonal tales that con­firm her point.

And as we get ready to leave Peaches on the couch, we get a bit nos­tal­gic about elec­tro­clash, the move­ment that barely was, that got mer­ci­lessly de­rided but still man­aged to en­lighten a whole gen­er­a­tion of ‘gays of a cer­tain age’.

“I ac­tu­ally read a re­ally good ar­ti­cle on elec­tro­clash re­cently, why it only sur­vived so briefly, and how be­cause it was about bring­ing back the cel­e­bra­tion of gen­der and cul­ture, and no­body was ready to han­dle it yet. Then it went into nu rave, where it went all fash­ion and more straight. Elec­tro­clash was the first queer move­ment that’d hap­pened in a while af­ter riot grrrl. But then it in­flu­enced ev­ery­thing that came af­ter­wards, so fuck all y’all.”

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