Controversy-baiting ex-electroclash star Peaches talks about new album I Feel Cream
Andrew P Street
‘I’ve done the dash/Done electroclash/I’ve packed my lash/And outlasted the backlash.’ With her first lines Peaches sets the agenda for her fourth album, I Feel Cream, deftly summing up her career to date over a track that could almost have sat on her debut. After the guest-heavy 2006 effort Impeach My Bush, the new disc sounds like a return to the sequencer-and-voice template of 2000’s The Teaches of Peaches.
‘Actually, this is the most I’ve collaborated with producers ever,’ she counters. ‘You’re right, there aren’t a lot of guests on specific tracks – but the beats aren’t made by me this time. For instance, ‘Lose You’ was written together with Simian Mobile Disco in the studio. Something like ‘Talk to Me’, which was already structured and everything, I just really didn’t have a handle on how to bring out the best production for the way I was singing – so I asked [Belgian band] Soulwax to help me for that. And then I got to shove my own productions on tracks such as ‘More’ and ‘Serpentine’, back to the old-school style – and then on songs such as ‘Take You On’ and ‘Billionaire’, we just get more hardcore.’
‘Lose You’ and ‘Talk to Me’ are among the most surprising tracks Peaches has ever produced – sure, we knew she could spit rhymes with the best of them, but the songs reveal that the woman also has one hell of a singing voice. ‘Talk to Me’ proves she can belt it out like Gossip’s Beth Ditto while her vocal on ‘Lose You’ is an exercise in fragile, ethereal tenderness. Who knew?
She laughs delightedly. ‘Yeah, that was the thing that I’ve always been able to do, but I wanted to make sure that on the first album that I wasn’t pigeonholed as a singer,’ she explains. ‘I knew the minute I sang then all my other points would go away, like being a producer and a songwriter and all those things. But yeah: now I can let out my secret weapon!’
Considering how much touring Peaches has done in recent years – first with the all-star backing band The Herms, then with Berlin-based combo Sweet Machine – it’s surprising that I Feel Cream is actually the most studio-focused effort yet. ‘I didn’t want to have any guitars on this album, that was the point,’ she explains. ‘I wanted to have a dance record. I’ve done a lot of remixing lately and noticed how I work in that world. But I think my last record was a rock record. And live, ‘Shake Your Dix’ is like a big rock song now.’
While there’s no shortage of quotable lyrics on I Feel Cream, we couldn’t let Peaches be interviewed without clearing up something that has been bothering us ever since we first heard ‘Stuff Me Up’: exactly what kind of biscuit was being referenced in the chorus ‘Eat a cookie, a big d***, everyday, what?’
‘It would have to be complete chocolate through and through,’ she replies without pausing for a second. ‘A big solid chocolate cookie, and then it’s got all this droopy chocolate inside, you know?’
Any more culinary advice? ‘Don’t be afraid of garlic,’ she says. ‘If you and everybody around you eats garlic, then nobody smells like garlic: you don’t notice.’
Well, it makes sense. ‘It does! Some people get afraid of garlic. It’s very yummy and amazing, so just make sure everybody eats it and then everybody will smell the same way: they won’t even notice.’ She laughs. ‘Now I’m showing a bit of my sensitive side, you know? Andrew P Street. I Feel Cream is available online.
Some of the weird and wonderful musicians Peaches hangs with
Digitalism The German dance-punk duo co-wrote ‘Mommy Complex’ with Peaches. They’re signed to super-cool French label Kitsuné and record their tunes in an old WWII bunker.
Simian Mobile Disco These UK-based tech and electro house bods have worked with a number of alternative artists, including Hot Chip, Super Furry Animals and Gossip, not to mention helping out on I Feel Cream.
Feist This anti-folk singer used to be part of Peaches’ backing group, playing a sock puppet character called ‘Bitches Lap Lap’. The duo have also collaborated several times.