Peach Tree Rascals, LA’s genre-melting new collective, aren’t afraid to break boundaries
With a string of singles across the last two years, the rising US collective are an example of creative control going right.
As we enter a new decade, it’s clear that the boundaries that often hold music within limits are going to be broken time and time again. In hip-hop, for example, major artists are dodging label contracts and the gatekeeping associated with that by forming collaborative ‘supergroups’, while many that find themselves signed to labels - even major labels - are doing so with contracts allowing creative control and freedom. Take BROCKHAMPTON, for example. Their Saturation trilogy showcased how the band’s skill set across music, video, creative direction and branding could create a fan culture not seen in hip-hop for years, and despite signing to RCA in a deal reportedly worth millions, their work since hasn’t felt any less BROCKHAMPTON-esque.
It’s an easy comparison to make, but LA collective Peach Tree Rascals are primed for a similar trajectory. As a five-strong group of first-generation immigrants in California, the collective understand that intense work needed to strive in modern-day USA, and in a way that feels incomparable to anyone else, you can feel this stretched across the group and how they operate. In ways, the group are representative of the DIY aspect to ‘internet-built’ groups: they have a producer and mixer within the group (Dominic "Dom" Pizano) and a creative director (Jorge Olazaba) who works on their art and videos; the need for outside influence is kept to a minimum, and as a result, their work is about as potently them as you can get.
This distinct uniqueness is something that really sets the group apart from the rest. Their work is unclassifiable and boundary-breaking, moulding together influences that stretch from MGMT and Childish Gambino to Stevie Wonder and Gesaffelstein in a way that plucks mannerisms from almost every single sound under the genre umbrella and flushes out the beauty from each one; their sound a combination of flavours and textures that together, are distinctly Peach Tree Rascal, and otherwise indescribable.
Creativity has always been at the forefront of the group, and despite a consistent streak of singles that otherwise could’ve worn someone’s creativity out (their latest, Things Won’t Go My Way, is their 12th in the space of two years), Peach Tree Rascals are still thriving. In 2019, they navigated the worlds of lo-fi R&B (Plus) and summer-y bedroom-pop that feels like the moulding of Mac DeMarco and Haitus Kaiyote (Summa), while tracks like Mango - which came out at the tail-end of last year - struggle to fit within conventional genre boundaries; hip-hop-esque verses, gentle indie-pop productions, soft R&B choruses, and so much more finding themselves placed side-by-side, mixed alongside Peach Tree Rascals’ indefinable charm.
Things Won’t Go My Way continues this trend, embracing a more stirring, guitar-pop sound after experimenting R&B, hip-hop and indie-adjacent bedroom-pop - plus the intersection of each of these genres - in the past. It’s a track rich with that DIY-esque movement to Peach Tree Rascals’ work, exploring the shifting sonics that comes with having this kind of creative rise at the forefront of your work. This isn’t a sound that labels could dictate or ask for, it’s authentically them - and that’s the charm of it.
“This song is special to us because it reminds us of something that’s often difficult to put into words,” the group say on the track, and the emotions that underpin its hazy sound. “We always try to justify that there’s a particular thing preventing us from doing something, but at the end of the day - it always comes down to the fact that it’s a mindset and you’re often preventing yourself from getting where you want to be.
“We think everyone has a moment where they experience self-doubt, or like they’re not able to perform their best. When we wrote this song, we thought a lot about how there are people, or how your own mind will try to drag you down and make you feel like you’re not good enough,” they continue. “In the end, we’re all just trying our best and it’s about acknowledging that, knowing that we’ve all been there and felt that and that you can turn that feeling into something positive.”
Arriving with a video clip worked on by the group, Peach Tree Rascals are really the epitome of music in 2020. In the age of the internet, it’s easier than ever to get your music out there to the world, and because of that, people are no longer needed to get you out of your bedroom and into the spotlight. As a result, those people - who then typically gatekeep sounds, or encourage what they think will do ‘the best’ - are no longer needed in the process, and groups like Peach Tree Rascals can flourish with the creative freedom and experimentalism they want, without having to keep between boundaries of radio-friendliness or label expectations.
Creativity is thriving in music, and with acts like Peach Tree Rascals at the helm amongst the acts of tomorrow, this isn’t going anywhere.
Peach Tree Rascals' new single, Things Won't Go My Way, is out now via 10K Projects / Caroline Australia.
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