The Creators Project: So we’re conducting this interview in your studio, which is full of random gear and other stuff. Some of it looks really old.
Peaches: Yeah, definitely. [points] That’s my first electric guitar from years gone by. [points] This is the machine I started with. I used to be a rock musician and then all my friends moved away, but I wanted to continue playing music. I didn’t know what to use. It was 12 years ago and not everyone had a home computer and a program like GarageBand definitely didn’t come with a computer. Pro Tools was expensive, so I picked up this machine that had a mixer and eight tracks and decided to make an album on it using just keyboards, which I would change from drum samples to guitar samples to bass samples.
How did embracing technology in such a way change your musical style?
It was great because what I was interested in was how to make everything minimal—how minimalism and directness could be really dynamic. I wasn’t into the type of dance music that was going on then, but I liked a lot of the sounds. I liked more of the experimental styles like Autechre and Pan Sonic. They had almost metal sounds. I also wanted to flesh out performance personality and had something to prove as a woman who was doing something like this. It seemed like all the guys were geeking out, and I wanted to show that you didn’t need to be a technical wizard to do this. And that you can also incorporate a rock and roll element into electronic music.
How did this development change your live performances?
I took a chance and decided to have no musicians onstage, and for a while I’d just use backing tracks. At the time it was revolutionary and also controversial because people were wondering if I was doing performance art or music. I was kind of annoyed because yes, of course, I was a musician, but I was also a performer. I would play guitar on stage and people thought I was miming guitar and miming my singing and things like that.
What happened from there?
After that, I made an album where I had a duet with Iggy Pop and I wanted to perform it every night, but I didn’t have the proper equipment—Iggy Pop obviously couldn’t show up for one song every night. So what we did is we got a video projector and a movable screen and it came on and off stage and he sang with me every night. What I really wanted was a hologram of him, and I’m hoping that in some years to come I can develop a hologram of whoever I am dueting with.
Have things come full circle now regarding technology and its relation to music? Are people more accepting?
To give you an example: The first electronic machine I used to make music was developed by Roland, I think. It was like a Theremin and I used to play it with my tongue, my head, my elbow, whatever... which was fun. Now I’m playing the same type of equipment with lasers. I’m still a musician and I want to be in a music context when I’m doing it, but when you use technology you have to watch out that you don’t end up looking like a mime troupe. Now that I’m using all this technology, people don’t doubt that I’m singing or playing guitar. They don’t really question the fact that I might be playing a laser or ribbon controller. It’s just accepted.