Peach Club call themselves an activist punk band looking to revive the riot grrrl scene with their music that isn’t here to fuck about in neither sound nor message.
The riot grrrl movement, remembered best by bands like Bikini Kills and Bratmobile, is often described as either a feminist underground movement or female punk but in actuality often times was a varying mixture of the two. We got to talking with Peach Club about how that feminist message sounds today, and their new EP Cherry Baby.
How did you get started as a band?
Kat: A few years ago I was doing some solo stuff under the name 'Peach Hex'. I realised how much I wanted to be in a band so put posters up around our hometown and Becca responded to me! Becca knew Charlie through sixth form and I met Amanda through an old musical friend! We had a few band practices using my own material and slowly started to write stuff together!
What for you is the ethos of riot grrrl scene and how does it come across in your music?
Kat: Riot Grrrl to me is using a musical platform to spread an inclusive feminist message. Riot Grrrl isn't necessarily punk all the time, it's more of a political movement. We write lyrics about things that matter to us, subjects that we're very passionate about, and that's how we promote our message.
You call yourselves an activist punk band. How does the activism come into play in what you do?
Kat: Again, it's our lyrics. We don't hold back and we don't sugarcoat anything that we say. All of our songs have a specific message, and doing so is activism in itself. We're not afraid to use our platform as cis (identifying with their birth sex), white women, to lift the voices of those who need our help. We use our social media platforms too to spread a feminist message.
The punk scene has always been strongly about the DIY mentality. What do you see as the relationship between that mentality and what you do?
Becca: We are a very independent band, we’ve been making our own merchandise for a long time and we are lucky to be able to get together with our creative friends to produce artwork, which we all contribute to. We are really looking forward to a new zine we are bringing out which Poppy Marriott has put together for us.
Kat: Yeah, everything we've released we've funded ourselves and we work very hard for everything we've achieved.
In the past subcultures such as punk have been strongly associated as being masculine. Do you feel there is more room for female subcultures now?
Becca: It has become more acceptable, especially for non-male bands who are playing outside of the riot grrrl scene.
Kat: I think a lot of people see the genre as a very masculine thing, all the shouting and aggressive lyrics. I think now a lot of non-males are getting more confident in presenting themselves as more masculine, as the lines of masc and femme are blurring. We've got to realise that specific genders don't have to have specific personality traits, then that'll be the point where there will no longer be any boundaries in music
The riot grrrls initiated a press blackout in 1993 to avoid being defined by media. Do you feel the pressure of being determined by media representation?
Kat: In a lot of reviews we are described as quite aggressive and mean, which is not what we're like at all. I don't know, I guess media representation will never be a real representation of what we're like, so I don't really think about it too much.
The past few years we’ve witnessed a rise in strong female artists globally. How do you see the riot grrrl scene in relation to this?
Becca: I see the riot grrrl scene as a more political side of music and punk being its’ genre. Playing music being a girl doesn’t have to have a message but it’s a message in itself.
Kat: I agree with Becca, a woman in music doesn't mean you have to make music about feminism. The Riot Grrrl scene is definitely reviving though, but we're yet to break into the mainstream.
Is there a hope that through the revival riot grrrls and you specifically will not be seen as “women in punk” but just as “punk”?
Kat: That's the dream. Although we make music about feminism, being women is not what defines our music. It'll be nice when we get to a point where we're no longer asked about what it's like to be in an 'all-girl band' and actually asked about our musical style.
Becca: I am playing in a punk band and that’s just really what I want to be seen as.
While riot grrrl movement was widely credited as a feminist movement, not all artists previously felt comfortable with the label. Are you?
Becca: I’m definitely comfortable to be seen as a feminist and I think it’s extremely important that we are each individually seen as that on a personal level.
Kat: To be uncomfortable being called a feminist is to be uncomfortable being seen as someone who supports feminist ideologies, which is totally backwards. Feminism has developed and changed a lot through the years and has become a lot more inclusive. I'm proud to be a feminist, and I am 100% comfortable with being called a feminist.
What are some of the revisions you wish to make to the original scene?
Becca: White feminism is sometimes an issue and we want to remove this. Feminism is for everyone, not just for white women.
Kat: Yeah, just to make it way more inclusive. Originally the scene was very white and a lot of women of colour felt incredibly excluded. We want this modern version to include EVERYONE. If it doesn't speak about issues to do with all races, genders, sexualities, riot grrrl will just be about helping white women, and that's just white supremacy.
Your EP Cherry Baby came out this month. What are some of the themes in the songs?
Kat: 'Death Becomes Her' is about taking control in an abusive relationship. I was in an abusive relationship when I was very young, and this song reflects how I felt when I finally got the courage to leave. 'Venus' is about being left unsatisfied by a sexual partner, the most frustrating feeling. 'Oh My God' is a song about, basically, doing what you want and not giving a shit. It's about those people who think you're rude or a 'snowflake' for finding offensive things offensive. 'Bad Bitch' is another song about leaving a relationship, but more about how you feel after you get over your ex: fresh, bad as hell and like you can take on anything. 'Cherry Baby' is a story song loosely based on the life of Cherrie Currie from The Runaways.
Outside of the riot grrrl scene, where did you draw inspiration for the EP?
Kat: As I said, I took inspiration from old relationships and friendships. I get a lot of inspiration from conversations with my close friends, from subjects I'm passionate about.
What kind of future do you envision for yourselves and female artists in general?
Kat: I hope it'll be easier for all non-male artists to break through and be taken seriously by people. I hope we continue to be given more chances to show how talented we are and how much we deserve to be where we are. We want to play festivals and travel and inspire people all over. We hope we can continue for as long as possible.
Peach Club live in London at BIRTHDAYS on March 3rd, see the event here.
Listen to Cherry Baby EP below: