Peaches on Peaches @ Pop Montréal
Canadian singer, musician, DJ, director, performance artist, and all-around cultural icon Peaches will be in Montréal for the first time in three years for a DJ set this Thursday, Sept 20, at Église Pop (5035 St-Dominique, 11pm). Shawn Thompson spoke to her about queerness, Berlin, her new movie, Pussy Riot, and why people need to figure themselves out!
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2B: With the material of your songs, fucking with genders, super sexualized lyrics and videos, the gay, lesbian and transgender communities have always really identified with your work, what’s your connection with this community?
P: Usually that community is ahead of the game because they had to question themselves early but that sexuality has put them, like being canadian, jewish or whatever, it’s that same thing, I’m different so why or you know you have to question authority and question everything, so because of the questioning it’s put you ahead of the game.
2B: Tell us about your recent action for Pussy Riot in Berlin…
P: I organized an action for Pussy Riot, 250 people came out to get videoed, cheering, we made a 100 balaclavas and people made their own too, and it went incredibly. Change.org made us a page and we got a thousand signatures in one day, got the attention of every German media and also The New York Times and because I made a song and a video for Pussy Riot, and that comes out on Tuesday, just to help give donations for their lawyers and also just to help people show their solidarity with them.
2B: So you were in Toronto for TIFF to present your semi-autobiographical musical movie?
P: I have a movie called Peaches Does Herself coming out. It’s my directorial screen debut but it’s an anti-jukebox musical, do you know what a jukebox musical is? It’s these stupid things like Queen which I like a lot but Queen did that musical so that they can build those stupid stories around it so they play the Queen songs like Mama Mia, but so I made an anti-jukebox one that is really relating to me and actually tells a mythical but related story about me.
2B: Which part is autobiographical and which parts are not?
P: Well I became Peaches and had a career and (laughs)… It’s much more factual when it comes down to my music and then I take it too far and to the point that I have a sex change and then fall in love and get my heart broken.
2B: You were once a teacher and now your lyrics are studied in universities in Canada in queer and feminist studies: would you say you’ve come full circle then?
P: Yeah it’s funny, [I'm taught] in American universities too, and in the German curriculum also, in feminist courses and gender study courses and in protest music, things like that, it’s pretty exciting. But I wasn’t a teacher with a teaching degree: I was just looking for a job and I could kind of entertain kids at the same time so…
2B: Now this is pretty much what you have done all your life just keeping doing what you do. Do you feel people are better or worse at being themselves?
P: I don’t know everybody but [laughs] I think people really should take the time to learn who they are or who they really need to be inside… I think that’s how really horrible atrocities happen in terms of organized religions. I’m not against someone being religious, but an organized religion dictating something that you have to abide by, that’s bullshit – or nations or sexual preferences – you know, it’s all just based on fear, so we really have to know who we are. It’s not about aggression towards them or anything, it’s just we would have less aggression if people figured themselves out.
2B: And did you have weird responses for having a Jewish background and going live in Berlin?
P: I’m not really interested in Germany, but Berlin is very interesting and magical place and I think although Germany they really, I mean it’s funny because I know people of my generation and they all know Hebrew songs because they had to learn them in school, in German, but its also funny because now its Israel-Palestine. It’s always been really complicated being anybody! (laughs)
2B: It’s also funny that you have been in a heterosexual relationship for a really long time, and why is the response from many people from the gay communities have been disappointed in learning that?
P: Oh I don’t really take notice, if they are disappointed I’m sorry I mean it’s too bad, because I found someone that I can really relate to and live with on a day-to-day basis, and be able to be whoever I need to be and whoever they need to be to, yeah it’s too bad, I don’t really care anymore.
You can hear more of the teaches of Peaches at the Peaches DJ Extravaganza and, with all of us, harangue our Pop-savvy friends to find out what else she might be getting up to while she’s in town…
Thursday, Sept 20, 11pm, at the Église Pop (5035 St-Dominique)