IMAGE COURTESY OF FAITH ANN YOUNG
Riff-heavy, with silky vocals from former solo artist—and Warped Tour alum—Paige McClain Wood, San Francisco-born, LA-based duo The Peach Kings have found a bi-coastal following with their take on the two-piece, boy-girl blues outfit. They’re not ones to limit themselves to just one genre, though. Remixes of songs like “Thieves and Kings,” originally a sultry, uptempo blues number, venture into heavy electronic territory, while “Easy” and “Little Things” are 21st century takes on doo-wop. The pair has been gaining speed since their debut EP—fittingly titled Trip Wop—dropped last year, and starting August 7, they’ll play a Tuesday night residency at LA’s Harvard and Stone. In September, their new EP Handsome Moves drops on vinyl and iTunes, a release they’ll celebrate with a set at Union Hall in Brooklyn.
We recently spoke to The Peach Kings about their unlikely Texas connection, the sounds that inspire them, and why their songs are never really finished. Plus, we’re excited to exclusively debut the video for their newest single, “Fisherman,” by Whole Buffalo Productions (Jace Armstrong and Andrew Porter), below.
THE BAND’S FORMATION: Paige McClain Wood: I moved from New York to San Francisco.
Steven Trezevant Dies: This is like three years ago.
Wood: My friend and I were looking for a cool spot, and we ended up finding this awesome warehouse, and my roommate ended up being Steven’s brother.
Dies: I was living just across the bay, going to school at UC Berkeley, and my brother was like, “This girl moved in and she’s a musician and you need to be in a band with her.” And I had never met her before, so I was like, “Yeah, okay. Yeah.” And then I finally met her at his place, the warehouse in San Francisco. We started playing and it was pretty obvious from like the second we started playing music that it was working.
Wood: We wrote like three songs in an afternoon. It was pretty cool, too. [Steven’s brother and I] met on Craigslist, but we later found out that Steven’s mom is from Texas and my grandmother taught their mom seventh-grade English.
PRE-KINGS: Wood: I was a solo artist for a while, and Steven’s played in a few other bands.
Dies: Paige was way more serious about it before we met, in terms of the music business. She was in New York doing music there, and she’s been on Warped Tour and stuff like that under her own name. So she’s kind of been there. It was nice to start a band with someone who has been there and isn’t just like, “Well, what do we do next?” She’s like, “This is the person we need to call, and I have this person’s name.”
ON THEIR INFLUENCES: Dies: Currently, I would say we’ve been listening to a lot of Little Dragon, stuff like that.
Wood: We have a lot of similar older influences, like anything from Led Zeppelin to psychedelic rock.
Dies: Roy Orbison. Tom Waits. Devo… We don’t really have that LA sound. We’re so all over the place in terms of where we’re drawing inspiration from.
Wood: But I think it’s always from the same place between us. I always think of LA rock as a little bit surfer, and I think we get that from time to time, but it’s never like all that.
JUST THE TWO OF US: Wood: After I toured for a number of years as a solo artist and had to hire session players… we really wanted to try to do it [on our own].
Dies: We didn’t want to focus our energy on finding a third person when what we were doing just the two of us was sounding so good. Let’s make these songs epic… Before we lived together, just getting the two of us in the same room to play or rehearse or write was like it wasn’t happening enough as much as we or as I craved it, so it was just really frustrating at that point, and we couldn’t imagine brining a third person into that.
THE PROCESS: Wood: It’s always different.
Dies: So many of those riffs would have never been kept if Paige hadn’t been like, “Oh, keep doing that!” You know what I mean? Like, “Oh, I can feel something on that track; let’s write something to that.” I do riffs. I learned the guitar listening to Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Paige, all of these iconic guitar players who were from this riff-driven era; and now that’s totally coming back with The Black Keys and stuff in a huge way. The riff is like the chorus to a song sometimes. And Paige is able to capture the sexuality of the guitar with the vocals. There’s nothing inherently sexual about the guitar, but when Paige picks it up…
Wood: I disagree with that. It’s really fun, too. Steven had his own riffs on a loop pedal, and one morning I woke up with the “Thieves [and Kings]” riff in my head and I was going to meet Steven at the studio in Silver Lake. We were staying at his parents’ place at the time, it was right when we moved [to LA] and we didn’t have our own spot yet. I literally wrote all of the lyrics to “Thieves” while walking down the street…
Dies: Three blocks away.
Wood: …in Silver Lake. I should have been paying attention to where I was going. It was kind of awesome because sometimes they just write themselves when you’re feeling it that much.
THE REMIXES: Wood: We have a lot of fun [with the music]. Sometimes we try to write, just as an exercise, something that’s way out of our element. When we originally started, we weren’t sure how heavy we wanted to go.
Dies: I love hip-hop, and I love all the breaks and all these things that they sample. I kind of put the guitar down for a while, and I started listening to hip-hop heavily and exclusively, until I think a year before I met Paige, when I started coming back out of that and realizing that all of this hip-hop is live musicians from way back when laying it down. It just takes a second of an awesome song to make an awesome beat. So if we could make these awesome songs with so many things that could come out of them, remixes, stuff like that.
Wood: It’s also sometimes where I find a classic song, but where I also hear this [other thing] in my head. Like the guys who we recorded our album with take it and run with it.
Dies: It’s good because the songs are kind of never done when you talk about a remix. You can always do something else. So as we play these songs over and over again or we hear the same version over and over again. Recently we’ve been like, “Well, maybe it could sound good like this. Let’s slow it down, or speed it up.'” It’s just a natural part of the songwriting process. Even when it’s recorded, it’s still writing the song.
DREAM VENUE: Dies: The Olympic Stadium in London.
THE PEACH KINGS’ HANDSOME MOVES EP IS OUT SEPTEMBER 6; THE BAND WILL PLAY UNION HALL THE SAME DAY. THEY ARE CURRENTLY IN THE MIDST OF A MONTHLONG TUESDAY-NIGHT RESIDENCY AT LA’S HARVARD AND STONE. FOR MORE ON THE PEACH KINGS, VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.