words: Alex Wexelman
The last time I was in love I put Peach Kelli Pop’s song “Dreamphone” on a mix-CD for my then girlfriend Natalie, which soundtracked our summer as we drove around Natalie’s home state of California. Reminiscing on those halcyon days reminds me of the lyrics to another song by the garage rock outfit that acts as a musical outlet for singer-songwriter Allie Hanlon: “Listening to the songs that remind me of the days / That we had together before you went away,” Hanlon sings on “Heart Eyes,” the third song on Peach Kelli Pop’s third self-titled album.
Hanlon has a knack for writing songs that perfectly encapsulate the feeling of heartache brought on by a break-up, and even more she homes in on the minutia that makes getting over someone such a struggle. Peach Kelli Pop songs, though, often have a fun spirit to them and a tempo that makes you want to dance. In her own words, Hanlon described her music to Nylon as, “cartoony, dreamy, Ramones-inspired sugar pop.” The Ramones are a good reference point for Peach Kelli Pop: both bands feature pithy poppy punk songs that can be tongue-in-cheek while also tackling heavier subject matter.
Peach Kelli Pop is currently touring (check the dates listed below) in support of the band’s most recent release 7-inch Halloween Mask, which is out now via Lauren Records. Recently, Allie and I spoke over email about touring, the importance of visuals in a band and Glenn Danzig.
TGE: You've done seven tours and you're on your eighth now. What is the most exciting part of touring and what part do you like the least?
PKP: The most exciting thing is the live show and meeting fans, which sounds cliche but it's true. I also love trying regional cuisine and staying at people's houses. We always hope we get to meet local cats and dogs in different cities. I am very appreciative to be able to explore different cities in a more intimate and real way than if we were to visit as a tourist.
That being said, a hard part is being excited to explore a city and having no time. It's painful knowing you'll be in a cool city you've never visited, but you need to spend the day in the car and then go directly into the venue until it's dark out.
TGE: What do you do to keep entertained on long rides?
PKP: We talk a lot in the van. Our phones keep us entertained as well. We use an RPG app called Miitomo and play Tetris and text our friends back home. I'm also trying to learn Spanish with Duolingo which is pretty fun.
TGE: What are your top 3 albums to spin during drives?
PKP: We never play the same thing twice, it seems, but Alex our guitar player has an old iPod that's packed to the brim with great music. Yesterday she played Bad Expectations by Punks on Mars, an album by the Space Lady (great when everyone's sleeping in the van) and a compilation put out by the Cake Shop in NYC featuring mostly bands from 2009-2013.
TGE: Who would you think fans would be surprised to know you count as an influence?
PKP: Maybe Danzig and Samhain. When I was a teen I was obsessed with Glenn Danzig. My love for Danzig remains but has evolved to where I enjoy laughing at how seriously he takes himself. It's great.
TGE: What's your best memory associated with recording the Halloween Mask 7"?
PKP: When Aaron, from Lauren Records pushed me to write a third song after I submitted Halloween Mask and Hundred Dollar Bill. I planned on only featuring those two. The third song ended up being Stuck In A Dream. Even though it is very different than the other two, I think it adds balance and variety and I'm glad it exists.
TGE: Are you inspired to write by other media apart from music? If so, like what?
PKP: Yes! I love art, film and fashion. I went to college for visual art and assumed I'd grow up to be an artist, even though I had no idea what that job would actually entail. I think art, fashion, film and literature are closely connected and often intertwine. The most important to me would be visual media - visual aspects of being in a band are important - people respond and base their opinions on bands' cover art and how a band presents themselves, for example. At home in Los Angeles, I work for an illustrator named Tuesday Bassen. Her work is very inspiring to me.
TGE: "Halloween Mask" is a scathing critique of patriarchal beauty standards. What inspired you to address this subject?
PKP: I was inspired by feeling lesser-than by the constant reminders of how we are supposed to look in order to be considered beautiful. It's mostly to sell us products, but things like advertisements, and noticing how women are represented (or seeing how certain women are never represented) still affects our subconscious and makes us feel crappy about how we look. I came to a realization that even if I transformed into what was perceived by others, or myself, to be beautiful and perfect it wouldn't make me feel happy or fulfilled.
TGE: What is "Hundred Dollar Bill" about?
PKP:It's about general themes like money and power. It can often give us empowerment and confidence. We need money to be survive and live a dignified life, but our dignity and self respect can be compromised by trying to obtain it.
TGE: The three songs that compose the single all seem to have a dark edge to them lyrically yet each still is musically upbeat. Was this a conscious effort to keep things from getting too downbeat?
PKP: I never sit down and plan on writing a song with a specific mood or feel - all aspects of Peach Kelli Pop happen organically. I will likely always write short songs that focus heavily on melody, regardless of the subject of the song.
- 5/13 Brooklyn, NY @ Palisades
- 5/14 Boston, MA @ Middle East
- 5/15 Providence, RI @ Aurora
- 5/16 Ottawa, CN @ House of Targ
- 5/19 Toronto, CN @ Smiling Buddha
- 5/20 Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto
- 5/21 Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
- 5/22 Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory
- 5/23 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
- 5/24 St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
- 5/25 Omaha, NB @ Club Reverb
- 5/26 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
- 5/27 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
- 5/28 Boise, ID @ The Olympic
- 5/29 Portland, OR @ The Know
- 5/31 Seattle, WA @ Black Lodge
- 6/2 San Francisco, CA @ The Hemlock