Maranda Pleasant: Hey Peaches, how are you?
Peaches: Good, how you doing, Maranda?
MP: What is it at the heart that inspires you so much, with your work and your life?
P: Just to get to my own truth. To always be able to speak my mind and do it creatively.
MP: You’re so full of life and color and passion. Where does that all comes from? What place do you pull from in your work?
P: I question everything. I question authorities. I question norms, I question the mainstream. And I wonder how that relates to me, because that should be my world. I shouldn’t have to fit into the world that is presented to me. The world—and all of us should do this—should reflect not what we should be but who we need to be.
MP: One thing I love about you: there’s not a lot of masks and bullshit. What is it that makes you the most vulnerable?
P: I put myself out there in a very vulnerable way, actually. I [pray] to people’s good wills, that people have the sense that they use [it] the right way and not destroy themselves or me in the process.
MP: I’m working on that one! [laughing]
P: It’s hard, it’s hard.
MP: How do you process pain? I know a lot of artists channel it, use it. When pain comes in, how do you work with it?
P: The first part is, you try to process it. That’s actually the most difficult part of all. Because to really deal with it, you really have to understand that it is a process, that you’re not going to understand right away. It’s going to be different. You can have different feelings around it, and it’s going to change, and you’re going to have to go through a lot. It’s really about the process, and letting yourself process it.
MP: Do you ever use it in your work?
P: I definitely do. Part of pain or feeling, not feeling whole—whatever it is, you have to process that. You have to find a way to deal and question why that is, if you can find a way to overcome that pain.
MP: When I watch your work, it’s like you invite people in and then we come on this journey with you, and you take us to this world that is possible. Where does that come from—this beautiful, surreal, edge-pushing passion? The costumes, the fire behind it?
P: I’m in a really good position. I never signed on to be any sort of mainstream star. I never had the goal of winning a Grammy or being the number one person at Glastonbury or being on the cover of Vogue. That set me free from adhering to any sort of beauty standards or anything like that. My goals are more to express myself and say, Look at the possibilities. Don’t be like me, but I want to show you, by modeling—not modeling like fashion model—modeling my behavior. To say be yourself. Do your thing.
MP: Have you always been so colorful? Have you always pushed ideas and limits?
P: I think we’re all born that way. That’s how you learn, right? You push. That’s what you’re like when you’re a kid. That’s why they call it the Terrible Twos—because you can finally push buttons. And we have to continue learning and growing. I’m not interested in really being an agitator as much as inclusive. I’m always surprised how shocked people are by that, and how close-minded people can be, and how they find what I do maybe angry or exclusive.
MP: What is it that drives some of your work?
P: It’s definitely a feminist perspective, and not in an old-school way, where it’s like, Don’t do that, don’t do that. It’s more like, Oh, you’re doing this? So I’m going to do it, too, and I’m going to do it harder, and I’m going to do it stronger. That’s my post-feminist direction: questioning the mainstream, questioning authorities, questioning religion, questioning people’s relationship with their own body, and [questioning] people’s relationship with their age. You know?
MP: WOW. I’m inspired. Are there any particular issues or causes that you’re passionate right now?
P: I put a lot of work in for this Pussy Riot debacle. I made a song and a video because there were big celebrities writing letters. And then there were a lot of artists and underground people who were doing incredible actions and weren’t getting any attention, which is what it was for—to get attention, to show. People need to be creative. I felt like I was the middle ground and the missing link.
I am appalled with American politics, Republicans, and how nations are run. Organized religion—I believe people should believe what they want and religion is fine, but organized and extremist is really an incredibly hurtful thing, and takes away from the meaning of what religion should be, which is just loving your fellow person, neighbor, people.
MP: You live in Berlin?
P: Yeah, but I’m on an American tour right now.
MP: Let’s talk about that. What projects are you working on right now?
P: I just finished a movie called Peaches Does Herself, which is a fantastical rock electro-opera based on my music. A fake biography that deals with all the myths and misconceptions that people have thought I should be or who I am throughout the years. That’s my biggest project right now. It was a stage production that I did two runs of. We filmed every night, and then I would bring people in in the afternoon for filming close-ups. It’s basically a film of the stage production. I wrote, directed, starred in it, produced it.
I have a single that just came out a few days ago and the video will come out next week, which is super dark and awesome. I’m really excited. The song is called “Burst.”
MP: Love it: Super dark and awesome.
P: We have a lot of pictures from the film. The video single has fantastic images, too. Now I’m on a DJ Extravaganza tour, which means I can’t keep from behind the decks. I definitely mix but I’m jumping around and singing and spraying people. It’s exciting. It’s also commenting on DJing and the boys’ club of DJing. And how my show is really way more fun—it’s not just a video of fun, it’s just really interactive.