Last month Philly got to experience an uncharacteristically hip evening upstairs at World Café Live, when LA rock noir duo The Peach Kings put on the grimiest and sexiest performance the dinner theater venue has seen in years. The Peach Kings, comprised of Paige Wood and Steven Dies, have been kicking out ineffably soulful, bluesy garage jams and slow jams for more than half a decade now. They bear some sort of resemblance to nearly all of the 20th century’s greatest sounds and looks that dance on the darker side of things, and slightly more recently, the likes of The Kills and mid-period Gossip. They’ve released a few EPs, had their tunes wind up in a handful of prominent media, and even earned a fan in Drew Barrymore. Shortly following their last area appearance they took some time so we here at PHILTHY could get to know what they’re all about.
Izzy Cihak: So I realize this is a huge question to start with, but what have been some of the highlights of the band so far? You’ve shared stages with a ton of really amazing bands, had your songs in a lot of cool media, and seem to be generating a buzz among a lot of really cool people.
Steven Dies: Definitely been a lot of highlights. One of the most satisfying moments we had as a band was watching our music get pressed into vinyl. It’s always been a dream to have our music on a record, and it was especially satisfying knowing that we did it by ourselves, for ourselves.
Izzy: How would you characterize your process of writing and recording together? How do songs usually come to be, or is it different every time?
Steven: It’s totally different every time.
Paige Wood: One thing that is usually universal throughout any of the process however, is that the more we try to force something, the further from the song we get. It’s common that lyrics appear out of a melody and get fit to a riff. Or conversely, the riff shapes the lyrical melody and the words follow. Sometimes, when the conditions are right, the whole song appears as a whole, music and lyrics. That’s when we know it’s a good one.
Izzy: What would you consider to be the most significant influences behind your music, both musical and otherwise?
Steven: I really admire people and artists that seem immune to all the influences and styles going on around them. Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Tom Morello, all stand out as artists who inspire me.
Paige: Fashion has always played a big role in my life and my music. Along with film. I’ve always been an extremely visual person who appreciates a good landscape.
Izzy: Is there anything about you that you suspect your fans would never guess, whether it be tastes, rituals, or just your outlook on life and creating art?
Steven: They would never guess how much I love corn beef hash.
Paige: I love aromatherapy and cooking just to create good smells.
Izzy: Out of curiosity, have you drawn comparisons to The Kills? A lot of your work really reminds me of their Midnight Boom album, which I was a pretty massive fan of.
Steven: We do love The Kills. That’s definitely an initial comparison people have to our look and our tastes, also X, the White Stripes, or the Black Keys with female vocals. It’s the female/male/duo rock dynamic that we all kind of have in common. Also, until recently, we’ve done a lot of our recordings with sequenced drums and vintage drum machines, of which Jamie Hince is the master. I think we were drawn to that kind of drum/beat sound more from the hip-hop side of our influences, but when dirtied up and applied to rock music, it definitely can start to sound like The Kills. Our new recordings are moving more towards a reflection of our live sound, while still maintaining some of the original elements of our existing music, with drum machines for example.
Izzy: You both have really amazing personal style… Do you have any particular significant “style icons,” if that’s even the kind of thing you think about?
Steven: I’ve gone through so many different phases of style that, when I look back, are all pretty embarrassing. So I’m glad that you like what I’m working with right now. I think that timeless is my goal; I’ve done the brightly colored and all over prints and loud shoes and hats and neon pants, and I cringe when I see photos of myself. Now, I’m always in black jeans and leather boots. Shirts can’t be too tight (although doing laundry on the road usually results in some shrunken garments) or too loose. When I write it out, it sounds like I’m describing an elderly man.
Paige: I definitely think about it. Ditto to the classic and timeless vibe. I love a strong woman in a solid pair of trousers.
Izzy: Your music videos are also very cool (I especially like “Fisherman.”) Are there any visual artists that you’re especially fond of, or who might inspire that side of your work?
Paige: We love movies so we’re fond of David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Wes Andersen, and also we are big photography fans of Mick Rock, Ellen Von Unwerth, Jamie Nelson, and Richard Avedon. The list goes on.
Izzy: Finally, how are you spending the rest of 2016??
Paige: In the studio recording new music. Planning the release and our next tour. And having some fun.