The wild, sexy and provocative electro-rocker Peaches has been dabbling in her DJ side, teasing fans across Australia through her recent blitz of thenation. By Jordana Borensztajn.
Despite releasing her fifth delivery I Feel Cream just a few months back, the Canadian wild cat – aka Merrill Beth Nisker – admits to Nova that she has a crafty reason for choosing to be Peaches the DJ rather than Peaches the performer on this visit Down Under.
Knowing Aussies are probably pining to see her perform her recent killer tracks “Talk to Me,” “Lose You,” as well as old favourites like “Kick It” and “Set It Off,” in a bar in Fitzroy, Peaches explains her goal is to offer up a spicy and saucy taste of what’s to come. “I like to tease people,” the very funky and articulate artist admits, fresh off a plane in Melbourne on the back of a wild night in Perth. “I like to tease and keep you waiting because I’ll be back with a full band and the full shebang.”
In the meantime, Peaches has been kicking up a storm. She says Aussie crowds have been totally out of control, and her DJ experience so far has been nothing less than a whirlwind adventure. “I’ve been getting down and dirty. It’s been messy. And it’s pretty crazy, pretty messy, pretty wild,” she laughs. “At some point in the night, the stage gets rushed and the CDs get drenched. So all my CDs are drenched in champagne – sticky champagne – so I have to clean them off.”
The image that’s evoked here – where fans are pouring champagne all over Peaches’ music collection while she’s on stage – is very tame compared to the type of behavior she typically incites in her audiences. Best known for her explicit and sexually-provoking music, it’s fair to say Peaches’ energy, delivery, commentary and electricity undoubtedly propels her into a league of her own as a performer.
Whether she’s DJing or delivering full stage shows, Peaches always puts in the maximum amount of effort. “I just give 100 per cent, not even 100, 500 per cent of my energy, every show. I put so much effort into it… and it just works. It’s my thing,” she says.
While a lot of artists invest time and planning into trying to be as creative as possible to deliver a wholesome entertainment package to fans, for this Canadian songbird, it all comes naturally. In fact, since the beginning of her career she’s offered far more than just music to her audiences.
“When I started, I put myself in a very compromising position, shall I say, because I was a pioneer. I took electro music in, kind of, a punk style – which was not really anywhere to be found – and made it very minimal and gave very direct, and let’s say explicit – to some people – lyrics,” she says.
“And it seemed to press a button with some people in a really good way. Although I wasn’t very commercial, everybody knew my songs, and to me that was really cool. I started 10 years ago with The Teaches of Peaches and that was before YouTube or Facebook and my songs were known to people all over without a video or radio play or anything. “I’m not a very planned person and I’m not a very calculated person. I’m the real deal so I don’t need to be a package. It just happens.”
While some elements of her live shows are mapped out, she says there’s always a strong element of the ‘unknown.’ Not only does this keep it fresh but it gives her room to keep up with the crowd at each show. The wilder the audience, the more Peaches she puts out.
“When there are 100, 200 or 1000 people, I have to rise to the occasion of how many people are there. So when I’m talking to you, I’m one-on-one but when I’m performing, I’m obviously just projecting and just giving the full Peaches experiences as more of a one-on-5000,” she explains. “Peaches the performer is very creative. No matter how planned it is, it’s always improvisational. I’ll always be walking on people in the crowd – not stage diving – but actually walking on them. That’s my latest trick. I spin on them. It’s really fun.”
Peaches admits to often getting so carried away with the vibe and energy at her gigs that’s it not until afterwards that she realises exactly what everyone got up to. “There have been a lot of wild things. The wildest thing for me, as a realisation after a show is when I’m looking at my legs and there’s all these little marks, like hands, from people passing me along. I was like ‘why are there five dots there, and five dots there? It’s very tiring but it’s exciting. I feel really lucky and you make the best of it.”
No stranger to Aussie crowds, Peaches has performed at countless Big Day Outs, and Parklife, and hopes to be back again soon. She says Aussies are wild, and open – two huge draw cards for her as a performer. “People are crazy in Australia. And they’re crazy in a really good way. There’s always people up for whatever. I always get dancers here, I always find really creative people. There’s no fear here.”