Moldy Peaches Are Not The Only Fruit
Moldy Peaches & the NYC Anti-Folk scene have continued to excite & intigue us here @ trakMARX this winter. Currently touring the US with the Strokes as an expanded 5 piece, Kimya took a few precious moments out of a hectic schedule to answer some trakMARX questions. Well, to be totally honest (& when are we anything but?), she lost/misplaced our questions but sent us the answers to someone else's questions anyhow - which made us laff (a lot). We've tweaked the questions to make it look like one of our uberkool skribes aktually did the damage, & the shit is shot (& hot). By the way, it appears Kimya is very scared of capital letters & has a healthy mistrust of punctuation, also - just in case you thought we were being even lazier than usual.
trakMARX - How did Moldy Peaches "get it together"?
Kimya - i was living in olympia washington, but came home for a few months one year and met adam at a poetry open mic in our home town. he was the only person playing music. i think he was 13. i got a job at Exile on Main Records and he started hanging out there. he was just getting really into playing and recording songs and i was going to a lot of shows in the city. he was too young to go to the city alone so his parents would pay me to take him with me. i took him to see bands like the make up, dub narcotic sound system, unwound, and love as laughter. just from hanging out with each other so much we would start singing little jingles about stuff happening around us. there were these girls who came into the store one day with a fanzine they made about kurt cobain. so we made up a little song called "this is an ode to girls who write odes to kurt cobain". and we made up a song about candy. and one called "shame" about a girl with a pimple that was dumped by her boyfriend. one day i gave adam a ride to his friend kurt feldman's house. kurt was 11. and there was a girl named denise there who was 14. the 3 of them were playing songs while i watched teevee and when they made up some music they asked me to sing. i didn't know what to say so i sang bunny foo foo, the old nursery rhyme, and that first take is the recording on our album. after that we decided to make more songs together and record them. after recording 11 more songs we put out a cd called "fer the kids" there are only about 80 copies of that in the world. i moved back to washington, to a town called port townsend, and gave the cds to all my friends. so we had this small town washington state fan base. adam moved out there for 2 months in early 1999 and we started playing the songs with our friends; jest commons, on lead guitar, and justice campbell, on drums. we played a few shows- the 3rd was with dub narcotic and the crabs, before returning to new york as a band. after a few months in new york we recruited our friend brian piltin to play bass. but in october jest's dad died so he headed back to the northwest. justice decided to go home too so the band called it quits. (we were moldy peaches 2000 then). in the time we weren't playing i recorded a solo album called "i'm sorry that sometimes i'm mean" and adam recorded a self titled solo album (adam green). we started playing together again last august (2000) for the summer antifolk festival. we played with brian on bass, brent cole on drums, and chris barron- from the spin doctors- on lead guitar. after that show we took on guitarist jack dishel, from stipplicon. in october we fired brian and hired steven mertens to play bass. we recorded more songs and put out an 11 song version of the album that is out now. geoff travis from rough trade was sent a copy of the cd from the lovely people at the mercury lounge and decided to check us out. so he came and saw us play at lach (the founder of antifolk)'s birthday party. he told us he wanted to put out an album of whatever songs we wanted so we combined the cd we had just finished with some of our earlier recordings. ugh, that's the technical history. the emotional history is another story.
trakMARX - Are MPeaches a by-product of NYC?
Kimya - i have never lived in NYC and most of our songs were written when we were both still very much small town kids. i guess it has influenced some of the newer songs, obviously NYC's like a graveyard and downloading porn with davo. we also wrote anyone else but you sitting in tompkins square park. and jorge regula is about a friend of ours who lives in brooklyn. as far as the NYC "sound" is concerned, i have yet to figure out what that is. i know that we are influenced by EVERYTHING around us. and sometimes that everything includes NYC.
trakMARX - Everyone's talking at me, mostly about NYC - is this the biggest NY vibe since 74-76?
Kimya - i think there is a lot of amazing music happening in new york, but i am mostly impressed by the songwriters in the antifolk scene. in the 80's a lot of amazing songwriters were being kicked out of the folk clubs in the west village for being too loud, or for swearing. and when they weren't allowed to play the Folk Festival they decided to have an Antifolk Festival. and antifolk is still around. the players write songs because the songs are in their souls. and so it is a less competitive scene.
trakMARX - Do MPeaches dig the Strokes stuff?
Kimya - YES...YES!!! the strokes are our friends and i love them VERY much, as people and as a band. they are 5 of the nicest people i have met in years. we just finished touring with them and every night i got something new out of their music, maybe the way certain lyrics go together or something subtle in the composition. there are times where the melody and tone alone make me feel like i am drowning. that tightness in the heart. and then it relaxes and i can breathe. it's like when you are a kid and you are in a crowded place and suddenly you don't see your parents anywhere. that moment of extreme terror and sadness, but then there they are. and the feelings co-exist for a minute, the fear and the happiness. and it's sort of embarrasing. i think julian is brilliant.
trakMARX - Inspiration, influence, agenda - where does all that stuff come from?
Kimya - we are definitely influenced by people we meet and places we go and coversations we overhear. we are both into a wide range of very different things but we share that feeling of not really fitting in anywhere. our music comes from that mutual place.
trakMARX - How did ya stumble accross yr. style?
Kimya - well, songs came out of us being around each other.. we never intended on being a band. that happened after our friends had recording of the songs and wanted to see them performed. and since we weren't trying to be a band we never limited our styles. we were both listening to vanilla ice. and i was into the rickets and fitz of depression, punky stuff, and also soft rock - lionel richie and the bon jovi ballads. and stuff like built to spill and slint. and a lot of classical and opera as well as cat stevens and ice cube. adam liked beck and nirvana a lot. and other stuff too. we never even really discuss music with each other. and very rarely listen to music together. sometimes we'll dance around to manu chao's bongo bong, or the beach boys kokomo, but mostly what we share as far as musical interests are concerned is our love for many of the songs written by the songwriters we know. but we fell into this world after we had already been writing songs together for 3 years. i don't think we could limit ourselves to any particular style. we have too many things going on inside.
trakMARX - Where did the groovy outfits come from?
Kimya - when i was 12 or 13 years old i decided to try to fit in and be cool and no matter what i never got it right. so i decided that if i was gonna be teased either way i would rather be teased for wearing what i want and being comfortable than wearing what everyone else is wearing that i rarely even liked. i live in a childcare center. it's the family business. so dressing up in fun costumes has always been a big part of my life. for years i have made clown costumes or queen costumes or superhero costumes or rocker girl costumes. it's a lot of fun. when i lived in olympia i was a superhero a lot of the time. i would rollerskate around town with a cape and a sword. it's not for attention, just fun. sometimes my friends and i get dressed up to play in the woods. and a lot of the time adam and i get dressed up just hanging out with each other. the costumes don't represent anything in particular. i just think it's important to be comfortable. some people are comfortable in designer clothing. i am not. a lot of the time i am not even comfortable in my skin, so i become someone else.
trakMARX - What are MPeaches fans like?
Kimya - we don't have a certain type of fan. the ones i have met have been so nice. we get lots of hugs. most people can relate to the personal conflicts in our songs. the innocent childlike qualities combined with taboo thoughts of sex and dugs and feeling supercool sometimes and feeling like a big dork other times.
trakMARX - Anyone operating on a similair plane to MPeaches @ present?
i used to be really fucked up (drinking and pills) and then christmas 1998 i drank myself into a coma. since then i have been trying to live out all of my dreams. i feel a certain kinship with other artists who have been to the bottom and are making their way back, like joie dead blonde girlfriend. really powerful songs of redemption and healing. and there is a songwriter named barry bliss who is really intense. he believes very strongly in being totally truthful. he told me once that he and i would be killed one day, for telling the truth. he called me joan of arc. but he said to keep telling the truth, and the truth tellers will be reunited in heaven. that's wonderful. i guess i can't think off hand of any particular mainstream artist i feel near too. i definitely think that the way i feel is very similar to the way jim henson felt and i was very very sad when he passed away. and i really relate to the simple honesty of daniel johnston.
trakMARX - What goes down @ a MPeaches gig?
Kimya - well sometimes we do acoustic sets, where adam and i sit in chairs and just sing the songs to his acoustic guitar. but we also have shows with the band. the way the show goes depends on how we are feeling. we are almost always in costume. sometimes things are a little theatrical and sometimes more straightforward. because our songs combine humor and sadness how i perform them really relies on the mood i am in. sometimes i think certain songs are funny, but there are times, particularly with "steak for chicken" where the sadness overwhelms me. the performance is always changing, but the songs are good. we never sacrifice the song for the sake of putting on an act. the vocals are always high in the mix so you can always hear the lyrics. our lead guitarist, jack, is a big guns and roses and heavy (glam) metal fan, so he usually drops to his knees at least once during a set. and i usually start giggling.
trakMARX - Do you enjoy shopping for rekkids?
Kimya - i like shopping for records at church flea markets and thrift stores and tag sales. the libraries all switched over to only carrying cds a few years back and sold off their record collections for really cheap. that's where i got most of my classical and opera albums. a lot of people are upgrading to just cds in their home and will sell their records. usually it's 50 cents or $1 per record, but you can get an even better deal than that if you offer to take the whole collection. last fall i bought 75 records for $20 from some guy down the street. it's an amazing collection. there is some stuff i am not really into as much, like a couple different robert palmer albums, but there's a bunch of bruce springsteen and simon and garfunkle and yoko ono, so i really got my money's worth. the only store i ever get records at is exile on main street, in mount kisco, where i used to work. i still get a good deal there. i got another back up copy of the "a man and a woman" soundtrack for $2. it's always good to have a couple of those lying around.
trakMARX - 1 x desert island, 5 x discs - what gives?
Kimya - oh, that changes daily. but today:
joie dead blonde girlfriend- pretty as a picture paleface- multibean barry bliss- (self titled cassette) the strokes- is this it antifolk- volume one
trakMARX - How do you envisage all this panning out?
Kimya - i don't imagine anything except maybe having a van. i hope we are alive and relatively happy.
trakMARX - MOLDY PEACHES? How did you get to the name?
Kimya - adam's friend came with the theory that the world is a peach and we are the mold. all we can do is grow. there is no other purpose.
trakMARX - How do you write?
Kimya - every song is totally different. sometimes we pass a notebook back and forth and write alternating lyrics. sometimes the songs just happen while we are goofing off with the guitar. the process is rarely the same. we write songs usually when we aren't even thinking about it. it's very cathartic. our recordings have all been done on 4 track and 8 track so far. home recordings. when the album is released in the united states in september it will be an enhanced cd with 10 minutes of video of the making of the album. us dancing around the living room singing into the radio shack pzm flat omnidirectional mic.
trakMARX - Is there much that annoys you in Pop World 2001?
Kimya - no. i think if people are being true to themself it's fine, because there will be other people like them who like it. thank goodness not everyone is like me. as long as the backstreet boys like being the backstreet boys god bless their hearts. it's when people seem uncomfortable playing the role they are playing that i feel sad. i do wish music was less competitive. and money driven.
trakMARX - How did you hook up with Geoff Travis & Rought Trade?
Kimya - in the US our album will be the first release on rough trade USA which is rough trade/sanctuary. sanctuary handles iron maidens affairs, so at all our meeting there are big pictures of eddie looking over me. i figure we are in good hands. eddie would never let anyone fuck with us, right?
trakMARX - Do you feel there is a too much NYC hype in the world right now?
Kimya - people seem to like what we're doing. i think that's nice. we have always written songs for ourselves though and we are not going to stop writing songs, whether it be as the moldy peaches or as adam green and kimya dawson seperately. we both have solo albums. the moldy peaches is what occurs when we both get the itch to write when we are together. the press stuff can't hurt me because i know i am doing exactly what i want to be doing and that is writing good honest songs. i am not trying to climb the rock and roll ladder to fame and stardom. if someday the songs pay the rent then that's awesome, but if it doesn't i'll still write songs. the songs make me less afraid and alone. i used to keep everything in or try to change the way i felt by drinking. for a few years i was prescribed psychiatric meds. antidepressants and mood stabilizers and antipanic pills. now i write songs and i sing. it's very healing for me. that's all. whether or not other people like it. it makes me so happy when i get emails from kids who say that the songs are healing or inspiring for them too. so it doesn't matter what the magazines say. usually when somebody gives a bad review they just don't understand that we are relaying our truth through music and they rate us compared to some sort of standard that has nothing to do with us.
trakMARX - Who has aktually got the crack?
Kimya - we think crack is stupid...don't smoke crack! (we knew that already, have you tried washing yr. rocks in a cold shower? - drugs editor) that song is poking fun at the crackhead/addictive mentality. i have been there. looking for change in the couch cushions for a 40 of malt liquor. it's sad and stupid.
trakMARX - Why is NYC like a graveyard?
Kimya - well, sometimes we hate where we are, but then we go away and miss it. sometimes new york is dreadful and everyone seems superficial and boring, and other times it is beautiful and there are great fun things happening. we wrote that song one night when we weren't feeling so good about the city.
Leicester Banks - 2001 - trakMARX.com