Peaches speaks to Attitude: 'I like women, I like men, I like combinations'
When it comes to LGBT counter-culture you don’t get artists more brutally honest than Peaches. Born Merrill Beth Nisker, the Canadian-born singer/songwriter/performer, who now resides in Berlin, has been making music since 1995. Taking the beats of sometimes misogynistic and homophobic genres like rap and rock as inspiration, Peaches twists and turns the lyrics into edgy queer anthems that celebrate sexuality in all its forms.
We speak to Peaches in the new issue of Attitude, available in shops now, digitally from attitudedigital.co.uk and available to order in print from newsstand.co.uk/Attitude. Here's a sneak peek at the fab full interview, in which she talks sexual awakenings, who she likes on the current pop scene, and her place in the wider LGBT community.
Who is Peaches?
I hate this question; I mean how can I possibly say who I am? I’ve been making music and shaking up the mainstream for fifteen years. I started saying what I wanted to say from my perspective because I felt that things were still heteronormative and very patriarchal. It seemed like what I did was not in the vein of what everyone else was doing. Now when I say what I do people are like ‘So? Everybody does that’. But they didn’t then, so I’m quite excited that it has become such a topic and that people are addressing these things. I’m not trying to just pick topics because I want them to be controversial. I see this new album as more of a celebration post-gender, post-age. I love [the new album track] Vaginoplasty because I intro it by saying, “This song isn’t about your big ass, it’s not about your big dick or about your big tits, it’s about your big vagina.” You know, who’s gonna talk about that?
Let’s talk about the wider LGBT community…
Let’s talk about how drag queens weren't initially allowed to perform at [Free] Pride in Glasgow. I think it’s ridiculous and I don’t know any person of trans experience that would disagree. Why would you have a problem? Drag queens are celebratory, they’re not offensive. They’ve always been part of Pride, it’s always been them leading the way – in a buffoonery way – saying ‘I’m the most ridiculous, so don’t worry, be who you are’. It’s about being the most extreme ‘you’ that you can be.
What was your sexual awakening?
I remember watching a movie and it had a scene with a bunch of women touching each other, and I felt funny in my pants. I’m bisexual. I like women, I like men, I like combinations, and it’s all good to me.
Who do you look at now and think they are really pushing the boundaries?
Anybody who stands up for something that’s not accepted in their own way. It doesn’t have to be sexual, but the strength of standing up for something, like Malala and education rights for women, is insane.
What do you think of contemporary pop music?
I like the new Rihanna song Bitch Better Have My Money. It’s fucking great!
What do you think of the video?
Yeah, it’s pretty violent, it’s pretty sensationalist. It’s funny because I have a new video and we have a similar premise. We were in the middle of editing and someone said ‘The beginning of Rihanna’s video is the same theme as yours’. It’s about someone getting kidnapped in the desert and taken to a place, but ours is much more inclusive and non-violent and weird. It’s for Rub. We got a lot of queer porn artists and body performers and the whole video was done with all women, from the key grip to the lighting. We went up to the desert and shot it, and it was a great experience for everybody because no one had ever been on a set with only women. Everybody got along and it was awesome.
Peaches' new album Rub is out 25th September. The book What Else is in the Teaches of Peaches featuring photography by Holger Talinski and text from Yoko Ono, Ellen Page and Michael Stipe is out now.