FROM THEIR HOME BASE IN CAREFREE, ARIZONA TO
MAJOR FESTIVAL STAGES IN NORWAY, ELECTRONIC POP/DANCE
BAND PEACHCAKE IS ON A MISSION TO ‘SAVE THE
WORLD FROM AUDIO-TERRORISM’ STARTING WITH THE
‘UNBELIEVABLE SOULS’ CHECKING OUT
THEIR INFECTIOUS NEW ALBUM
As the Band Continues to Develop their own Reality Show,
Their High-Energy Single “You Matter”
Has Been in Rotation on FM and College Stations Across the U.S.,
in Addition to Appearances on MTV’s “The Challenge,”
Showtime’s “The Real L Word,” TNT’s “Hawthorne” and
E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”
With a reality TV show in the works based on the successes and travails of the Arizona-based indie electronic pop/dance band Peachcake (www.peachcake.net), frontman Stefan Pruett and his crew are not only a growing international phenomenon—with two headlining appearances at Norway’s huge Slotsfjell Festival—but they’re also “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
All while, in his words, continuing the band’s mission to “save the world, musical superhero style, from “audio-terrorism.”
And it’s all because “You Matter,” the infectious single from their new album Unbelievable Souls that has not only hit playlists on many FM and college stations throughout the U.S., but has found its way onto some of cable TV’s biggest shows– including MTV’s “The Challenge,” Showtime’s “The Real L Word,” TNT’s “Hawthorne”—in addition to playing as a soundtrack behind the further adventures of the ever-popular sisters Kourtney, Kim and Khloe.
There’s another quirky celeb connection to “You Matter,” but this one happened in a wild dream Pruett had while waiting for the song’s producer, Justin Bates, to work his sonic magic into the track. “One night I had a weird dream that we were in the recording studio with the Jackson 5—yep, Michael Jackson and his brothers—played it for them and they loved it and wanted to sing on it. We told Justin about the dream and that inspired him to create a funky new version of it.”
The video for their hypnotic, synth driven musical manifesto “The World is Our Platform To Mean Something” chronicles their rise in the U.S. and their incredible success in Norway, which includes performing at the 2012 Slotsfjell Festival on a bill with New Order, Janelle Monae, Suicidal Tendencies and Friendly Fires; detailing their growing fan base, Pruett says that fans came to see them everywhere from Germany to Belgium.
“The video is a very personal short film about our moving and revelatory travels and experiences while touring in Europe,” he says. “We hope it will remind anyone who is involved in the making of art, music, film and other forms of creative expression why they got into doing it in the first place. We’ve played some amazing venues over the years but performing on a hillside in front of a castle at the Slotsfjell Festival was something else.”
In 2011, “Were We Every Really Right?,” another track that would wind up on Unbelievable Souls, was selected by the International Peace Bureau and Demilitarize.org as the official song for the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, a worldwide event to support demilitarization across the globe.
In the years prior to their emergence overseas, Peachcake toured the U.S. extensively, sharing the stage with the likes of Cage The Elephant, She Wants Revenge, Neon Trees and Peter Murphy of Bauhaus. They’ve also performed on the Warped Tour and at high profile festivals like South By Southwest (SXSW), Toronto’s North by Northeast (NXNE), Canadian Music Week and College Music Journal. It was during Peachcake’s showcase in a small basement-like bar in Brooklyn at the 2008 CMJ that a publicist they knew invited promoters from Norway to check them out. The band was invited to play at the festival in Tonsberg in 2009 and was invited back three years later, with a much higher placement on the roster, for the event’s 10th anniversary.
Almost as if they were begging for the title question to be answered, an unexpectedly supercool, majorly grooving thing happened on the pop music landscape not long after Peachcake released their 2008 debut What Year Will You Have The World?
The emergence of artists and bands like Passion Pit, MGMT and Deadmau5 created an explosive new landscape of electronic dance music (EDM), paving the way for Unbelievable Souls after several key personnel and stylistic shifts towards its current electronic pop/dance vibe. The 14-track masterwork featuring snappy, provocative titles like “Don’t Panic, It’s Organic” (for which the band is currently shooting a video), “Who Are These People And Why Does This Music Suck?” and “Speaking of Handouts, I Got You Something,” owes as much sonically to legendary German electronic group Kraftwerk as ‘80s synth-pop greats like New Order, OMD, Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys. The album was also mixed with the help of Alex Aldi (Passion Pit, The Walkmen, Holy Ghost!).
“That’s what we wanted to do,” Pruett says, “go back to the roots of dance electronic music’s first wave and imbue that into our sound. We wanted to take that classic style that so many love, and modernize it and take it to a new level – so that those fans will feel like it takes them back to that time but will also enjoy the modern twist we put on it. It’s like a trip taking them from the ‘80s to 2013, a truly fun and inspiring journey all around.”
This is all the more fascinating for newer fans of Peachcake when they consider that the original lineup of the band emerged from other bands that were what Pruett calls “guitar testosterone punk bands.” The band’s current vibe began taking shape when Pruett and guitarist Mike McHale began writing with Phoenix based songwriter and beat producer David Jackman.
Peachcake, whose lineup also includes Henri Benard on drums and percussion, has toured extensively throughout the U.S., and its evolution as a live act has played a significant role as the band has come into their own with the creation of Unbelievable Souls.
Although the sound that drives the music on Unbelievable Souls is unique from the band’s earlier EPs and their full length debut, Peachcake’s powerful interactive live performances—centering on the charismatic Pruett’s mingling with their audience and jumping all over the stage—have been a trademark for years. “We’ve always been very crowd oriented and audience driven,” he says.
“I think the energy between the band and the crowd has always been interesting to us, the idea that we could create an exchange with the fans to create a fun and lively, even jubilant experience. The typical band thing, confining yourself to a stage area, can be restrictive, so we decided to create something different, from the studio to the live experience, that reflected this synergy with the audience. I like to think our sound even developed as a byproduct of how audiences were interacting with it and responding to it. Because I had never been a frontman before Peachcake, and sort of fell into the role by default, I never felt the need to play by the rules of what pop music was supposed to be like or what live performances were supposed to look like. Most bands adhere to certain rules, but I feel liberated with Peachcake to make the whole venue our stage and making the audience part of our show.
“To me,” Pruett adds, “this is more interesting than just having a bunch of musicians onstage playing songs and having the audience watching. Our lineup has changed, but from the start of Peachcake in 2004 through 2010 when we began working on Unbelieveable Souls, we had toured pretty incessantly.”
Although Unbelievable Souls was not conceived as a “concept album,” Pruett says that as the tracking took shape and he began reviewing his lyrics, he realized a unique (and even somewhat spiritual) story was emerging—so in essence, it was a concept album that happened almost accidentally. “What emerges from these songs is that we all have the power to be an Unbelievable Soul,” says Pruett, who had lost his younger brother Alex and was experiencing a serious family crisis during the time of writing the album.
“Instead of internalizing the negative, I looked at songwriting as a means to say something in the face of all the challenges I was facing. That’s the message our songs convey, that we all have a choice about how we handle the adversity that comes our way, and the way we process the good things in life is just as important because good things can turn into monsters too. You don’t know what life will throw at you, but we can all control the way we react. We create a certain environment for ourselves that dictates how we treat different situations and other people. All of this came to me when I started listening back to the music. Suddenly, I realized all the songs on Unbelievable Souls fit together like perfect puzzle pieces. They were just waiting for me to figure it out.”