Top image: The Peach Club live at Moth Club. Photography by Sadie Bailey
Impassioned and inspired by the riot grrrl spirit, London four-piece Peach Club – aka Katie Revell (vocals), Charlie Hart (guitar), Amanda MacKinnon (bass guitar) and Becca Wren (drums) – have found the perfect avenue to voice their experiences, concerns and opinions. Drawing from the no-bullshit honesty of artists like Kathleen Hanna, they tell us they don’t want to “sugarcoat” their problems – but to sing about real issues “loud and clear.”
Translating the immediacy of their sound to their process, the band independently released their The Bitch Diaries EP last June and soon caught the attention of Witchgirl Recordings, who released their double A-side tape later that year, featuring singles White Girl and Mission Impossible.
That riot grrrl DIY ethos also feeds into Peach Club’s tangible output, creating all their own merch and artwork. Eager to help carve out a community for women in music by providing platforms and safe spaces through which to express themselves, they are fierce supporters of London’s Grrrl Zine Fair – a major event in the zine community, stocking global independent publications as well as inviting self-publishers to table. Having ripped up the stage at the Fair’s Independent Women’s Week event earlier this year, below we share photos from their set, shot by lenser and independent publisher Sadie Bailey.
Here, the band chat Bikini Kill, Britney Spears and battling preconceptions.
“I have a good few years of experience. Ever since I first listened to Britney Spears it really changed my life and made me want to be a pop star.”
Clementine Zawadzki: How did Peach Club form?
Katie Revell: It was a slow process; basically I started as a solo musician looking for a drummer. I met a girl via Twitter who worked with me for a while and before she split she introduced me to Amanda. After our old drummer left, the search began again and I put up posters around Norwich advertising for a drummer and, luckily, Becca got in touch. For a while we were a three, and then we decided it would be best to get a guitarist, and Becca knew Charlie through sixth form and voila! Peach Club as you know it was formed.
Clementine: What’s the music scene like in Norwich?
Katie: The music scene in Norwich is quite indie and male heavy, like most places, but it’s pretty good! There are some really cool bands here such as Sink Ya Teeth and Dazy Crown.
Clementine: When did you first learn your instruments and start writing?
Charlie Hart: I got my first guitar when I was pretty young, but only really got into playing at the age of around twelve because I saw a female musician playing lead in a film and figured I could do it with my cute pink Fender.
Katie: I’ve been writing music for as long as I can remember, really. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good, but it means I have a good few years of experience. Ever since I first listened to Britney Spears it really changed my life and made me want to be a pop star.
“I only really got into playing at the age of around twelve because I saw a female musician playing lead in a film and figured I could do it with my cute pink Fender.”
Clementine: What is your writing process?
Katie: I usually write the lyrics first, or sometimes create a riff and find old lyrics that would fit well. It then turns into a collaborative process, bouncing ideas off each other, tweaking ideas until it’s something we love.
Clementine: Who and what inspires your music?
Charlie: When writing and playing music, we don’t consciously draw from people as influences, but I try to bring energy from other performances that I’ve seen and thought, ‘That’s what I want to look like and bring to our show.’
Katie: I’m more influenced by topics rather than people and other bands, if that makes sense. I’ll see something and think, “Yes I want to write a song about that” rather than “I want to write a song like that.”
Clementine: What are some of those experiences or issues you’ve felt compelled to write about?
Charlie: We draw on issues that we face ourselves as females and females in music. It’s important for us to talk about our experiences with others undermining us just because of our gender and age. However, we also try our best to reach out and really understand issues for other non-males and POC, as we are still very privileged in our position.
Katie: Mission Impossible is a song we wrote because two boys from bands in Norwich told us to ‘practice loads’ and that they were ‘shocked’ at how ‘good’ we were and one was physically annoyed when we said we had a show in London that we’d been asked to play. So it’s just about that undermining, and the assumption that we’re bad musicians because we’re girls.
“We don’t want to sugarcoat our problems, we want to sing them loud and clear.”
Clementine: What do you look for in a lyric?
Katie: I look for honest, raw, straight to the point lyrics. As much as I am a fan of interesting and deep lyrics full of metaphors, that’s not my thing at all. I love Kathleen Hanna for this, her lyrics are just like conversations, rather than some fancy words hiding a deeper meaning.
Clementine: Do you think sometimes girls in music even get criticised for singing about issues that affect women? Ironic, I know…
Katie: Definitely, there was one review that said our lyrics were “painfully obvious” – but that’s the point. We don’t want to sugarcoat our problems, we want to sing them loud and clear.
Clementine: When did you discover riot grrrl music and what about it initially resonated with you?
Katie: My good friend Chloe introduced it to me when she was posing the idea of becoming a band. I love the rawness and the honesty of riot grrrl and the high energy of it.
Charlie: I’m sure I’d been exposed to it before, but never really understood it as a whole genre and a movement. But after meeting the Peach Club girls I listened to it more and it began to really resonate with me, I connected to the topics of the songs and really began to enjoy it.
Clementine: The DIY spirit is also prevalent to the riot grrrl movement itself. Is this something important to you also?
Katie: I think being DIY is important, having your say and complete control over your message and sound makes it completely authentic. Unfortunately, you struggle in the industry without management and a record deal, so being DIY makes it a lot harder to make it big. We’re trying though.
Clementine: What can we expect from a Peach Club gig?
Katie: Lots of dancing, lots of energy, lots of giggling.
Charlie: We’re always trying to better ourselves and create a fun performance for the audience to watch and want to join in with.
Clementine: What’s next for Peach Club?
Charlie: We’re in the process of writing some new songs and we already have some killer tracks down. We’re hoping that by the end of the year we might have a full LP out but we’re making no promises. Onwards and upwards.