We met with icon, musician, performer, director, and voice of a generation, Peaches, aka Merrill Nisker, in her Berlin rehearsal studio, just a week away from beginning her anniversary tour in North America. While we hurriedly made ready for the photoshoot, I pulled up a chair and began to interview Peaches while our makeup artist, Alex, prepared her for the shoot.
When I entered the studio there were rails of well-organized costumes hanging neatly in transparent garment bags, archiving her performances and documenting the life and evolution of Peaches over the past twenty years. The room felt precise, deliberate and fun. The sun warmly lit the room in the same way Peaches welcomed us into her universe. As she was on a tight deadline, we slid into go-time.
我们在柏林的排练室会见了偶像、音乐家、表演者、导演和一代之声 [瑞典街头朋克乐队]，Peaches ，又名Merrill Nisker，距离开始她在北美、然后在欧洲和英国的周年巡演只有一周。绝对是一个瞩目的场合，可以体验这个无畏的、聪明的、推动边界的艺术家的令人难以置信的激动、有趣和性感的表演。当我们匆忙为照片拍摄做准备时，我拉起一把椅子，开始采访 Peaches，而我们的化妆师 Alex, 则为拍摄做准备。
当我进入工作室时，透明的衣袋里整齐地挂着一排排整齐的服装，记录着她的表演，记录着桃子过去二十年的生活和演变。 房间感觉精确、深思熟虑和有趣。 阳光温暖地照亮了房间，就像桃子欢迎我们进入她的宇宙一样。 由于她的截止日期很紧，我们进入了准备时间。
So you are about to embark on your 20th-anniversary tour of the Teaches of Peaches album. In terms of nostalgia, how do you feel about who you were then and who you are now?
Oh! Get right in there, get right in!
I think I reflect a lot about that time because it really changed my life, you know? I made it in my, you know, bedroom in Canada and I liked it & had fun making it. You know, I wanted to combine a lot of things that I felt were not happening in music at the time. In terms of like, just kind of electro. Like punking up electro in a way that also was very, you know, gender fluid and inclusive. So. And so, I feel so proud that I… or proud may not be the word, but I just feel like I had this idea, and I feel like it’s grown in terms of like, where music and culture have gone, and to me, it makes this album and the whole experience relevant. It’s exciting and I’m happy and I’m excited to celebrate.
所以你们即将开始《the Teaches of Peaches》专辑20周年的巡演。回望旧时光，你对当时的你和现在的你有什么体会？
For me too! For all of us, and to see how much progress has been made since then.
Yeah, but of course, there’s also been shitty things. I like to focus on America. It’s so easy to point out that you can’t even get an abortion in Kentucky or Ohio, and how horrible transgender teens are being treated, and not being able to play sports, or how these laws are now like, ‘don’t say gay or critical race theory,’ how all these things are trying to erase all of the work that is being done. So we can’t forget that there is still a struggle and that even though there is a big progression on one side, people are fighting to keep their fucking patriarchal bullshit alive.
Sometimes it feels like one step forward two steps back.
Or that they’re going at the same time.
How did you feel about becoming a rock star?
When I started in music, I was playing acoustic guitar. I was teaching kids music. I needed a job and I got a job at a daycare and it was really boring and I had an acoustic guitar so I used to like sing songs and makeup stories and I noticed that the kids really responded to it so I made up this drama music program and I ended up working all over teaching nine classes a day, drama music to kids all over and at the same time playing acoustic guitar at night with a little band we called Mermaid Cafe, after a Joni Mitchell song. We played once and they asked us if we wanted to have a weekly gig, so just things were going on, and after a year of playing folk music I was like, oh I don’t want to play this music and I started to experiment with a bunch of other kinds of music.
What else shaped you as a performer and artist?
Not feel like I fit in with whatever normal things were happening.
I was looking up the lyrics to that Nina Simone song, and how you chose the name Peaches.
Well, yes, and I would like to say that I am not identifying with the struggle of the women in the song. To me, it was just how she says ‘Peaches’ in the end with such passion. I wanted her to say it to me. Literally the word, ‘Peaches’. She wasn’t about to sing, Merrill. MERRILL! So I wanted to be inspired by that passion.
嗯，是的，我想说的是，我并不认同这首歌中女性的挣扎。对我来说，只是她在结尾处如此热情地说出 “桃子”。我希望她能对我说。从字面上看，”桃子 “这个词。她并不打算唱 Merrill。MERRILL 。所以我想从这种激情中得到启发。
When I was reading your book, there was this one part by Elliott Page where he went to a Peaches show and there was blood.
Yeah, I used to like, fake get sick on stage and spit blood on everybody and Elliott got blood on his arm and wouldn’t wash it off for like two weeks.
当我读你的书时，有一段是 Elliott Page 写的，他去看 Peaches 的演出，有血。
I thought that was really cool. Because it’s like, even for me, I am feeling more empowered just from speaking with you, I feel like I can do more things. I don’t know how to explain that.
Just with touring and how crazy touring can be, how do you stay relaxed or healthy?
Well, let’s see. (chuckles) It’s fucking hard because you work your body very hard and then you have adrenaline and that adrenaline can take you to some places where you might not be able to get up in the morning, so you have to be careful. Stick to the pot and red wine, that’s what I say! If you’re going to…I like to have, you know, high-quality good sipping tequila or single malt whiskey. You can’t be doing drugs and then expect every night, or you’re just going to go down a slippery slope. And also, you have to take care of your voice.
How do you take care of your voice? Because I know singers who have actually lost their voices.
I can lose my voice and still sing. It’s fucked up. But it’s true. That’s why you have to be careful with the pot. I just smoke a lot less. You just have to do less, to be honest, you really have to do less. Because you’re not going to sleep.
What do you think shaped you into like, I mean at least for me, accepting my body or different things…were you always confident?
I questioned a lot of things and once I had this platform I could start playing with it a little more.
Like, I’m not going to shave my pubes, I’m not going to shave my legs or shave my armpits, and I saw the reactions that happened, and I was like this is crazy and unnecessary, so I could play with that a little more. Yeah, just to play with it in terms of like, being ok with it. For instance, I didn’t know I was ugly until I started reading it in magazines.
And they were like, ‘it’s her ugliness that makes this so interesting.’ And I was like, oh, I’m ugly? I never thought I was. But it didn’t bother me. But it’s interesting.
This also was really inspiring because when you decide, and you have this platform and you see how you can inspire others too, and then how it can bring you to new places.
So how many hours a day are you dancing and practicing and preparing? Is it full-on?
Yeah, it’s like some days are rehearsals. Some days are music rehearsals, some days are programming rehearsals, some days are organizational rehearsals, and some are just like costume decisions or you know. Yeah, lots of stuff.
Have your parents ever been to your shows?
Yes, they’ve been to all my shows. My dad was a huge fan and he cried at every one of my shows. He would come to every one of my shows, even if it was just like ten people there, he used to come to my shows. Whatever I was doing. Huge supporter. One day, he said to me, ‘I used to play you, Donna Summer.’ I know. I know what you’re doing.
What music do you listen to when you’re just at home?
I listen to a lot of nasty rap by women. There’s so much. They’re so great. When I started there was Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliott, and that’s it. But now there’s so much, so many varieties and awesome nastiness that I get really excited about it.
我听过很多女性情色感觉的说唱。有这么多。她们是如此厉害。当我开始时，有Lil’ Kim和Missy Elliott，仅此而已。但现在有这么多，这么多种类，和令人敬畏的情色，真的让我很兴奋。
I heard that when Fuck the Pain Away came out (2000) you produced it in your bedroom while masturbating and had your machines on your bed all around you. There was no video, and it was censored on the radio, but you didn’t even find it to be explicit at all.
我听说，当《Fuck the Pain Away》问世时（2000年），你在卧室里手淫时制作了它，并把你的机器放在你的床上，围绕着你。没有视频，而且在广播中被审查，但你甚至不觉得它有多露骨。 而这是如此的朋克！这就像在说，我就是我，你们需要跟上。至少我认为对某些人来说，这就是为什么它是如此自由的。这是给那些需要许可的人的许可，因为不是每个人都在那里，而且它也是如此有趣。
And that’s so punk! It’s like saying, I am me, and you guys need to catch up. At least I think for some people, it’s why it’s so freeing. It’s giving permission to people that need permission because not everyone is there yet, and it’s also so playful.
Peaches: Yeah that was important to me. To have fun and make it playful. I love a lot of angry music and I think some of my music can be angry, but I wanted it to have some element of humor so that people would, you know, soften up a bit and then go like, oh, okay actually, there’s humor, but it’s serious.
Okay, looks like the photo team is ready to shoot. Thank you Peaches! (Alex makes her final makeup touches and I sit there thinking, wow. This experience has truly been the Teaches of Peaches).
好了，看来摄影小组已经准备好拍摄了。谢谢你，桃子。(Alex做了她最后的化妆润色，我坐在那里想，哇。这次经历真的是’the Teaches of Peaches’）。
Interview 作者: Angie Jenkins aka Scruffy Kittin @lovatron_
Make Up Artist 彩妆大师: Alexandra Johansson
Translation 翻译: Emi
Photos照片: Keyi Studio [ www.keyi.eu ]
Izabella Chrobok + Grzegorz Bacinski
@ Location 地点: Callie’s Berlin
Production & styling: Soren @sorenmeisterbrau
Assistant: Nobutaka Shomura