Canadian Merrill Beth Nisker has built a reputation over the past two decades with her penchant for explicit lyrics, well-stocked with sexual connotations. Better known as Peaches, she will be playing in Madrid and Barcelona on December 1 and 2 thanks to Houston Party. Although at the beginning of her career she flirted with acoustic folk bands (Mermaid Café), avant-garde jazz (Fancypants Hoolum) and noise (The Shit), it was not until 2000 when she rose to international fame thanks to her debut, The Teaches Of Peaches, a combination of burlesque and punk-disco. Crotches, humor, rock, dance, programmed rhythms, repetitive guitar riffs, left-wing references, energetic songs and trashy culture.
Trump is here and we’d better not tolerate him. It’s time to wake up and take a stand
Over time her albums have featured a more electronic and eclectic sound, made evident in her 5th album I Feel Cream (2009). Then she went on a hiatus and devoted herself to other projects, including writing, acting, and doing an opera rock. She went back to the recording studio to record Rub (2015), which featured Kim Gordon and Feist. The album was as dirty and shameless as ever, offering an updated version of the elements that made her debut an essential electroclash album.
You are a genius of provocation and staging and showwoman. What part of Peaches is a character and what part is Merrill Beth Nisker?
I don’t really think of them as separate entities but rather from a situational perspective. If I am acting, then it’s not a natural state. Being on stage and communicating with the audience is, of course, very different from having a conversation or relationship with you.
You have been playing music for 20 years, always expressing your activism with explicit language and lyrics. How do you see the world now, socially and politically and artistically? Are we moving forward? Are you optimistic?
We’re living in a bubble. Each of us live in our own bubble and it may seem things are changing in our favor. But let’s not kid ourselves. Everything is growing exponentially in all directions. Where there is progress in one place, there is just the opposite somewhere els.
And speaking of politics: What do you think about Trump being president of the USA, especially when it comes to women? The idea is terrifying.
Well, Trump is here and we’d better not tolerate him. It’s time to wake up and take a stand.
It’s all about realizing one has the power to control one’s vision and be free
We are fascinated by the style and visuals of your shows. How do you work this part? How importance is that in your speech?
It’s all about realizing one has the power to control one’s vision and be free.
Your latest album features Kim Gordon and Feist. You’ve also collaborated this year with Jean-Michel Jarre, Joan Jett, Chicks on Speed and many others. What was it like to work with them? What makes you collaborate with other artists? Is there an artist that you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t had the opportunity yet?
It’s always great to collaborate and learn from other artists. There’s no one I dream of collaborating with, but I would have loved to have done something with Bowie or Prince.
In recent years, we have seen you only in macro festivals. This is the first time we see you in a small venue. Do you deal with both differently? What can we expect from your performance in Razzmatazz?
I usually do both and I tackle both in the same way: on stage I ALWAYS give 500%.
Your albums feature a wide range of musical genres, could you cite some of main influences? What did you compulsively listen to when you were a teenager? And what are you currently listening to? Can you make us some recommendations?
For me it’s more about being in contact with culture and where the world is, that’s what inspires me. I grew up loving Grace Jones and Kraftwerk and listening to punk rock and riot grrrl bands. Today I would recommend you to listen to ABRA.