By Anna Billy | 9 August, 2022
When sitting down with Peach Tree Rascals to discuss their latest EP “Does A Fish Know It’s Wet”, the band’s enthusiasm for their latest body of work radiated through my zoom screen. Tarrek giggled and nodded when I described the EP having a “canonic summertime feel” and Dominic’s explanation of their writing process as “putting chords together” triggered the band to emphatically define “Rascal Pop”: a genre of music unique to them, their sound, and their audience. Tarrek elaborated:
“Each song has its own feeling… [and] its own genre because there's so many of us and we all have different tastes and music. When we come together, we never think about [making music one specific way]. We just kind of, like Dominic said, start with chords and go wherever the song takes us. If we believe in it, it doesn't matter what kind of genre it sounds like, we'll [release it]."
“Rascal Pop” relies on ingenuity, trust, and finding a middle ground between their new body of work and their viral Tiktok hit “Mariposa.”
“Mariposa'' exploded over night in August of 2019, becoming the soundtrack to many tiktok dance videos. The iconic indie sound of that track launched the group’s career into the music industry and necessitated a wider breadth of resources: a label, management, booking agent, and PR team. With their expanding network came additional responsibility and pressure. Isaac elaborated, “[the process of creating our EP involved] us and management; what management thought would make the label excited and kind of us meeting halfway to create our own thing.” Jorge continued on to add that their newfound fame contributed to the EP title. He described how the expectation to have high streaming numbers and content perform well on social media was creatively stunting at times. He emphasized “you cannot see how the industry is affecting you in the moment.” Jorge continued to explain how external pressure affects the band’s mental health: “you don't really know how you're going to deal with it [or] how it's changing you while you're in it. So I was left with the question of a fish knowing if it's wet or not [when deciding on a name for the project].”
Peach Tree Rascal’s eloquent parallel between two worlds, a life before and after virality, exposes the ever changing landscape of the industry where management teams are looking to sell ‘moments’ rather than ‘experiences’. The band was very clear in their rejection of that mentality. In fact, they shared their preference for an insular creative process. “When it comes to the creative, whether it's the music videos, or the merch and the music, we try to shut out all the noise and we just create freely… [we] do it the way we always do it, and then go and try to, you know, look for the numbers.” Tarrek explained. In fact, Peach Tree Rascals is one of the few bands I know of today who take full ownership of their creative process. Jorge, as the creative lead, contends that the band’s ability to connect with their audience stems from their humble beginnings. For example, in terms of sound and genre, he claims that “if you're confined to one box, you're not going to be able to see outside of the box.” Additionally, he believes that Peach Tree Rascal’s key to success came from having little to no budget for their early projects.
Discussing their latest music video for “Moped”, the band revealed how its simplistic visuals in past videos garnered high engagement from their audience. Dominic believes their low budget videos create a sense of nostalgia that increases relatability and accessibility for their fans. In other words, Peach Tree Rascals are just another normal group of kids recording their best friends to document their summer. However, now with a larger budget, Jorge’s creative vision for “Moped” and the band remains the same: a depiction of friends hanging out with each other, except this time, touring Europe.
When speaking about their fanbase, the band likes to consider them a global and ageless audience because of social media’s influence in their career. With inspiration ranging from Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Jackson to Kendrick Lamar, Steve Lacy, and Frank Ocean, Peach Tree Rascals embodies a wide breadth of genres. They reject the notion of genre confinement and want to create freely with the knowledge that their sound can have a wide range of appeal because they draw from many different inspirations. Peach Tree Rascals also aspire to have an ageless sound which comes through as they lean back on nostalgic up tempo drum beats, deep bass riffs, and melodic hooks that play on repeat in your head. Their lead single for the EP, “Let U Go” sections the bridge in a unique way which brings a communal component to the listening experience – Peach Tree Rascals are inviting their fans into their work through a call and response. I, myself, cannot help but pretend to be in conversation with them when Tarrek sings “now all my ladies (yeah)… let’s clap our hands like we dont give a f**** at all”.
As the band’s fanbase continues to grow, Peach Tree Rascal’s want to keep a positive aura alive for their audience. They embrace a warmth and glow - most likely attributed to their upbringing in Northern California - which seeps into their music. Even on social media, the group loves to promote positivity, frequently putting messages out in the world like “sending love 222 youuuu!” When asked about the significance of using numbers, Tarrek broke into a large smile eager to comment on his interest and love for angel numbers. He explained, “I just liked that idea of if it's gonna connect with somebody, even if it's just like a little note, [saying] sending love to you… they're gonna see it and they're gonna feel it in that way. It is for whoever needs it.” The amount of thought and care Peach Tree Rascals have for their fans is incredibly tangible and transcends the ever present digital platform artists work with in today’s industry. Tarrek elaborated on 222 specific meaning: “[a] project[ion] [of] your interests will come true no matter if your situation shows otherwise. In the long term, you will see great results.” While slightly unintentional, the 222 angel number perfectly matches Peach Tree Rascal’s energy and career projection.