Interview with The Peach Kings’ Paige Wood and Steven Dies
With Song River firstname.lastname@example.org
If there ever was the perfect blend of moxie, chemistry and radiancy The Peach Kings certainly have sanctified it. The crowned rock noir duo, Paige Wood and Steve Dies have an undeniably fresh turn in the season of ripe picked rock n roll. Having caught the attention of actress Drew Barrymore (Click to see V Mag here) and wrapping up their tour with Cyndi Lauper, The Peach Kings are now out headlining their own tour, Night Sweat, as they make their way across the stages.
Betwixt their magical ability to write and create love in a rock n roll mood and the setting of Paige Wood’s vocal prowess is mind-boggling. Together with Steve Dies this sultry sexy sound is a head turning, hip churning, rotation of grit and sass! Catch them together out on tour as they spin from their two albums, Handsome Moves and Mojo Thunder, maybe even giving us a little something new as a teaser? You will have to come to a show to find out!
Song River: Hey Paige and Steven, how are you both doing?
Paige Wood: Hi! We are doing great. Gearing up for getting back on the road for 8 weeks.
Steven Dies: Working on decompressing at the moment, which is really just re-compressing for the next run. (laughed)
SR: The first thing out of the box I noticed in your video “Thieves and Kings” is that you two have a definite sense of humor.
PW: Yes, a bit of humor goes a long way in our book.
SD: You should see our video for “Fisherman.” Also, people who take themselves too seriously often come off as phony. Smile, people!
SR: Rock Noir, can you explain?
SD: Someone said that about our sound and we liked the image it brought to mind. Stark, lo-fi, mysterious, cinematic. Everything cool about film noir applied to rock n roll.
SR: It is moody music you create? I hear some early influences of the Pixies and Portishead. How much do the influences of 40’s blues and jazz come into play in your work?
PW: A lot actually! I grew up singing jazz and playing jazz music on the piano and Steven also grew up listening to blues albums in his house. All styles that we grew up on and learned helped shape our sound.
SD: Shout out to minor pentatonic!
SR: Your stage chemistry melts the room. Describe what takes place between you.
PW: Well, that’s pretty intimate (laughed) so we can’t give you all the detail but I can tell you
that performing and sharing the stage with another musician is always a special connection and can be different every time… sharing the stage with someone you love is pretty cool and sharing the stage with Steven is everything.
SD: As Paige says, we just try to “get it up.”
SR: Is it only possible to relay your intimacy through your music? The animalistic fervor exudes and seduces through your music, then add in the visuals and orgasmic sweats?
SW: It’s probably the most immediate representation of our “intimacy” because music does away with the social aspect of getting to know someone. On the other hand, we’re writing songs, a lot of which are exaggerated and even flat out fiction; so you may think you know us by reading our lyrics, but you’d be wrong.
SR: You could say there is the music side and then there is the private side?
SW: Yes, we’re pretty private people actually.
SR: “Tengo Miedo” gave me goosebumps. Where did the story elements come from lyrically?
PW: We both love spy novels and mystery thrillers. I’ve also always loved James Bond theme songs and that love definitely inspired some of these lyrics.
SD: I can only take credit for the Spanish lyrics everything else was Paige, 100%.
SR: Steven who have been some your guitar influences?
SD: Tom Morello, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Tony Iommi, John Frusciante, Wes Montgomery.
SR: Do you favor one guitar in particular over another?
SD: Every guitar has its time and I go through phases with each. I really love the growl of my SG, and it’s nice and light so I can thrash it around on stage. Certain guitars I could never play live because they are so finicky and will never stay in tune, but when I’m at home just messing around or writing, they are my go-to pickers because they have the good mojo. The tasty “song juice.” Like this no-name Japanese guitar, I picked off craigslist; things got a baseball bat-like neck and intonation from hell, but that thing has written some really cool licks.
SR: When writing as a joint effort, what is your process? Is it always together or do you each have your own alone time to work on parts?
SD: There’s no formula really. Sometimes we’ll sit together and write a song from start to finish 100% collaboration. Other times we’ll write parts for each other and bring them to the table, and still, other times will write an element and that element will dictate where the rest of the song goes as we have time to digest it on our own.
SR: In early January 2016 you had set out during your tour to have meet-ups at coffee and tea shops with fans. Such a great idea! How did you go about putting it into place and would you consider doing it again?
PW: We were more interested in making the tour bigger yet more intimate than just playing shows. We also wanted to meet fans and this seems like the right vehicle to do that considering coffee is an essential staple on the road.
SD: We quickly learned that any thought of planning to be at a certain place at a certain time was extremely difficult with the unpredictable nature of touring so doing this exact thing again might not happen, but we’re working on something similar for this upcoming tour.
SR: In the song “Sweet Like You” Paige you bring together love and baking. Your songs really go to the heart of a relationship, don’t they?
SD: There’s something about the line “baking cookies through the night / fold away all the pain..” that really stood out to us when writing this. While cookie baking is usually associated with warm and fuzzy feelings, there’s a way it can become something darker, like an obsessive thing that someone can do to avoid facing something painful. Or even the idea that someone may be baking cookies for someone who will never come home. A sort of denial or delusion fueled by love.
PW: As a southern lady I know that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach.
SR: Lovers, if they will listen, don’t need to pay a therapist…they just need to spin The Peach Kings music.
SD: When we write love songs, we don’t pretend that love is so black and white, like all kissy or all misery.
SR: Love is complicated, yet layered isn’t it?
SD: It’s got so many overlapping emotions where you can simultaneously be pissed off and proud of someone, or want your lover to leave you alone, but never actually leave you. If you understand that and embrace that as normal, you’re in good shape.
SR: Paige who are some of your vocal influences?
PW: My influences range all the way from Joni Mitchell to Tom Waits. You may not hear or recognize a lot of my influences in my voice but they are part of my identity as an artist for sure. Here are a few more throw-aways, like Aretha Franklin, Robert Plant, Francoise Hardy, PJ Harvey.
SR: You validate through your voice those you’ve just mentioned. It is truly vintage, timeless, and classic… is this who you are at your core?
PW: Thank you so much. My closest friends tell me they think I’m from another time. I’ve always been in love with things that have a rich history and a story behind them. Which explains my love of vintage objects, like furniture and fabric. I’m a very visual person, so surrounding myself with old curiosities always helps me get into the mood when approaching a new story or character that Steven and I are developing in a song or album. My environment is definitely part of my writing process.
SR: You have finished your tour with Cyndi Lauper. How was that overall experience?
PW: We wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. The fact that I got to sing on stage with one of my Idols is something that all remember for the rest of my life. Plus, she’s cool as hell.
SR: Now you are back out on the road headlining through the end of August. What then? And when can we get some Peach Kings on vinyl… you are the crack that grooves dream of.
SD: Our album, Handsome Moves has been available on vinyl since 2012, but on this last run of shows we sold out of our last ones. Another run is in the works, but this time, we plan on doing something a little more limited, perhaps colored vinyl with some hand screen printed sleeves…
PW: New music. Loads of new music on the way!