Photo by Poppy Marriott.
Towards the end of last year three piece Skinny Girl Diet played The Owl Sanctuary in Norwich, having interviewed them in June I was interested to see them live and went along. Supporting them that night were two very impressive local bands, first up were Sink Ya Teeth followed by the full on Riot Grrrl punk of Peach Club, a four piece made up of Katie Revell, Rebecca Wren, Charlie Hart and Amanda Mackinnon who, for some reason made me think of the very early days of punk and the album 'Live at The Roxy'!. Formed in April 2015 Peach Club quickly released debut single 'Not Your Girl' and, after a few line up changes, they solidified in January 2016 as a four piece releasing in quick succession 'The Bitch Diaries' EP, 'Gr8' and 'White Girl'. A while after the gig I contacted them for an email interview.
Could you give us an overview of Peach Club? How did you meet? When did you start? Why did you start?
Katie: We're an activist punk band. We're hoping to revive the riot grrrl scene from the 90's but make it way more inclusive since it was pretty racist/transphobic back then. We all met through each other and past band members and luckily we all get on like a house on fire! We started, PROPERLY, as a four in January '16 and it's been pretty crazy since then! We started this because we care a lot about spreading a positive, powerful message about equality and empowerment.
What had you been doing before? Had any of you been in other bands together at all?
I (Kat) started a band with some friends but it didn't work out so I went solo for a short while but then I decided I wanted to expand and become part of a band. Luckily I had a friend who was a drummer who joined for a little while and she introduced me to Amanda who is our bassist. After a while unfortunately our original drummer left the band so I put posters up around our home town, Norwich, advertising for a new drummer. Becca got in contact with me really quickly and she joined straight away. We were a three piece for a while and then we got Charlie involved and now we're definitely the dream team. I think other than silly bands for GCSE music we weren't in any other ~proper~ bands.
Who would you list as musical influences?
Definitely bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Hole, Black Honey, Deap Vally etc. I'm personally really influenced and inspired by disco/electro acts too and if I wasn't doing punk I would definitely be doing that.
How did you decide on the name?
It's a bit silly really, but when I was solo I had peach coloured hair and adopted the nickname 'Peach' and was 'Peach Hex'. When I started the band with the original drummer she said she wanted to keep the peach element as she saw it as kind of a metaphor, like the band name is all cute and soft (like a peach) but our music is raw and rough. I love it, it's like 'this is what you expect us to be, cute and soft, but actually we're fucking badass'.
Did you have a fairly clear idea of the sound you were aiming for from the start or has it evolved?
We always wanted something gritty and loud, we're hoping to evolve our sound a bit next year, perhaps incorporating more elements and effects (if we can afford it). I like our music to be simple and not too complicated but with punchy and powerful lyrics.
You had 4 releases in 2016, 'The Bitch Diaries' EP, 'GR8', 'White Girl' and 'Mission Impossible'. Could you talk us through the tracks, what sort of subject matter were you exploring?
'The Bitch Diaries' is a whole EP mostly about empowerment. 'Equivocator' and 'I'm A Bitch' are definitely about exploring female sexuality and owning it and not being afraid to use it. I love the idea of making female sexuality... completely normal, because it's pretty ridiculous that (it isn't) anyway, right?... 'Go Away' is just about being left alone to make your own decisions. I'm sure everybody has had SOMEONE tell them 'you shouldn't do that because you're *this*' and it's SO frustrating. For us, this song is about the way people try and tell us what to do with our music and lives and bodies because we're women. Simple as. 'My Best Friend' is a celebration of female solidarity. There is something so sacred about female friendship, it's so special to me which is why I adore being in a band with three other fantastic and beautiful girls. 'Gr8' is essentially about being so cool nobody will ever forget your name/face haha. To be honest, it's a bit of a silly song but I love it! 'White Girl' is about women who believe feminism isn't necessary because they, personally, have not faced any sexism. 'Mission Impossible' is about all the men in bands who have told us how difficult it's going to be for us and that we have to 'keep practicing!'. There's a few bands in our home town who've said this to us and at a gig recently one of them told us he was shocked at how much we've improved. I should have told him to go fuck himself but unfortunately I'm too polite and just wrote a song about it instead.
What sources do you draw on in lyric writing? Personal experiences, books, films?
A mix of personal experience and experience's I read online. I want to include everybody in my writing, so I have to take from the experiences of trans/woc/disabled people to help develop my lyrics so they are more inclusive. I try really hard not to talk over other people, and play their oppression off as my own, and I hope to collab with someone who is not white/cis soon so I can learn how to help lift voices up properly.
Often female musicians have to put up with sexism from men with essentialist attitudes, and some bands (eg Petrol Girls) have confronted the sexual harassment that women have to deal with in music. What has your experience been in the punk/DIY scene? Is it a better place for women than other sub-cultures?
As I mentioned early, we have met a fair few sexist pricks in our short year as a band. On the other hand, we've also met some absolutely amazing bands who are so supportive and not in the slightest patronising. The main problem we face is people not taking us seriously because we're a young band, not because we're girls. I definitely do not think the punk scene is as bad as the pop scene, and we're hoping we can help that in some shape or form.
It seems to me that there has been a real upsurge in feminist punk bands and gigs over the last couple of years-is that true or was I just missing it!?
I think there's always been feminist punk bands floating around, but they didn't label themselves as 'feminist'. The new surge of feminism is really helping underground feminist bands come to light as we're always searching for new ways to spread a message.
Capitalism tries to create a sense of insecurity and anxiety about appearance in women particularly, encouraging them to construct a sense of self based on visually pleasing society. Do you think having a sense of community and exploring your creativity can help in resisting those pressures?
Having a community where we all encourage and support each other really helps to lift those pressures. I think we're at a point in time where a lot of women are no longer concerned about other people liking them but liking themselves which is very important. We're in an age where self-love is no longer frowned upon and is encouraged which I think really helps reduce insecurities we may have, and promotes happier and more rounded self images. Women are starting to realise now that they do not have to be skinny or have eurocentric features to be beautiful, and that beauty comes in so many different forms, and that no matter what the media shows us this fact is true.
What are your plans for 2017 -are you going to be out playing live, do you have any plans for further releases?
We're really hoping we can gig more around the country and less in our home town. In fact, our first gig of the year is in London which is super exciting. We're probably going to write and record some more next year, we're always writing new material and working on new stuff so no doubt there'll be new PC material next year!
What bands and writers have you been enjoying lately?
I've been listening to lots of The Cure lately, Robert Smith is an incredible writer and a huge influence to me. We've been getting a lot of influence from Deap Vally lately, we really dig their sound.