It’s been too long since the sexually fluid electro-pop/rock dynamo known as Peaches unloaded an album onto our ready and willing ears (six years, to be exact, since the amazing 2009 “I Feel Cream”). But that wait is over.
Peaches’ latest album, “Rub,” comes out Sept. 25, delivering another high-octane dose of funky, danceable and gloriously filthy mechanized pop.
It’s about time too. Since the tour for her last album ended, Peaches hasn’t been idle, as she was starring in projects like her semi-biographical concert film “Peaches Does Herself,” a coffee-table book documenting her travels and performance-art projects and in musicals (“Jesus Christ Superstar”) and films (“Ivory Tower”).
Peaches said she thinks her fans appreciate seeing her versatility when she steps into different artistic arenas.
“I think they are very open to it,” she said. “It’s something different. It’s another way to look at an artist that you like and give them more dimension. Yes, I make music as Peaches and tour as Peaches, but doing other projects is an incredible opening for me, whether it is a contemporary-art context or opera or musical or band or video. I’ve directed a lot of my own videos from the beginning and I’m going to make a video for every song on this album. That is exciting for me to realize all these different ways to express creativity and be the message.”
Peaches said these projects outside of music, in a way, helped get her focused on songwriting.
“I would say what all of that did for me was get it out of my system so I could get back to a lean, mean Peaches machine,” she said. “On my albums I don’t really sing so much, so there were certain things I got to explore with my voice. It let me go back to Peaches as someone who makes albums and I go, ‘Wow, I like this. This is what I do.’ I think it was a way to not think about what I do, but express other things.”
On her last world tour, Peaches had Berlin rock band Sweet Machine backing her up and fleshing out her songs. For this tour, she said she is going back to basics, with most of the music being presented electronically.
“It’s definitely very performance-oriented,” she said. “I think when I don’t have a band, the performances become more fluid between the audience and me. I’m just working with dancers [for this tour], so it’ll be very old-school like my first two albums. I got a lot out of it. Sometimes I feel like I relate more to performance art and dance than musicians, which I don’t think is a bad thing. Maybe it’s a very taboo thing to say and I love playing with people, but I do it better when I’m the focus and it gives me more room to be with the audience.”
Peaches’ talents are also in demand by a growing list of superstar artists, ranging from Iggy Pop and R.E.M. to Christina Aguilera, who have asked her to guest on their songs. She’s also opened for heavy-duty hard rock acts on the road. In both cases, Peaches said she doesn’t feel like she has to change her approach to performance to fit in with other artists’ audiences.
“They’re coming to me,” she said. “They want what I have to give. So I’ve never had to change to do something for them. It wouldn’t work. I always try to be me. It’s always fun to open for other fans that hate you and don’t want you to play because they want to see their headliner. I toured around with Marilyn Manson, Bjork and Queens of the Stone Age. Nobody likes an opening band but it’s a challenge. Janet Jackson would be awesome to open for or Madonna, as a challenge.”
A native of Canada, Peaches has been living in Berlin since 2000, and said she has left her sonic mark on the music scene there.
“Peaches was made in Toronto,” she said. “When I came to Berlin, and this is going to sound totally narcissistic, people were excited about me and my influences. There were a lot of friends I knew that were doing bands that turned into one-person electro acts. I’m not saying I started that but it was sort of an infusion that I gave the city. I think what later on influenced me in Berlin is I had the time and space to do what I wanted and I didn’t feel any kind of urgency that I would feel trying to make it in the states. I was just living my life and doing my thing.”
Peaches added that having the creative freedom to do what she wants when she wants is the only way she knows how to operate and thrive as an artist.
“Some people would rather have the support or money or direction from a label to push it as far as they can,” she said. “For me, I’m a creative control freak and a message freak and an aesthetic control freak. So there’s no other way for me.”
Some parts of the world have evolved in their views and policies of sexual minorities since Peaches last toured. So we asked if she thought that means society as a whole will be more open to her explicit songs, with lyrics promoting positive messages about sexuality and body image.
“I think that if it does, that’s great,” she said. “I feel like [people] are open to that message. People ask me, ‘Now that those rights are more in place, do you feel like what you do is relevant?’ Yeah, I celebrate it. I’m ready for people to celebrate with me instead of having to struggle.”
Peaches has also been very vocal in her support of the members of Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist punk-rock band that was arrested and jailed in Russia for their defiant lyrics and views.
Peaches said she supported the group because it’s something that could easily happen to her.
“That’s why I was so active. I just felt so akin to this feeling of oppressed creativity and political awareness. I’m just doing what I do. I’m not toning it down and I’m not afraid.”
Peaches’ new album, “Rub,” will be released Oct. 25. For more information, visit www.peachesrocks.com.