Los Angeles group Peach Tree Rascals are a collective in the truest sense of the word.
A lazy first listen might render them a "rap-group" label, but their diverse instrumentation and vocal performances quickly dismiss this. Sometimes one can hear a cigarette soaked indie daydream akin to a Mac Demarco sound, sometimes a late night meditative croon a la Daniel Caesar, and sometimes there's an off the wall rap circle reminiscent of BROCKHAMPTON. But make no mistake, all of their music is purely and undeniably Peach Tree Rascals; the personal flair and touch has always been present.
Speaking to the group, it's clear that this variance in sound was intentional. "We don’t fit a genre. And that’s how we want it to be. We make music that is great and that we believe in and that’s the most important thing. We let our fans decide the music to be whatever they want it to be" said Tarrek. What's more impressive is how seamlessly these ideas mesh.
Take their most recent single "Deer," which features a quirky indie-rock instrumental over a boom-bap hip-hop beat. The group successfully incorporates dorky indie-pop layers, soulful hooks, and rap type flows into the track, which is all brought together with the outdoor music video edited with playful scribbles. This all manages to flow together with ease, rendering a scene that's indulgent and accessible. Peach Tree Rascals make room for all of their ambitious ideas in their music; they can rap over anything and turn anything into a catchy hook. Nothing is off-limits.
The group's reckless disregard for boxes and labels has always been a part of the group's approach, down to their favorite artists and influences. Joe elaborated with "I think I can speak for everyone that we like artists that really break boundaries lyrically or with genres, or anyone that is truly the best at their craft. Some people that come to mind are John Mayer, The Beatles, Tyler The Creator, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, etc." Who possibly cites John Mayer, The Beatles, and Tyler the Creator all in one sentence? The Peach Tree Rascals do.
The origin story of the group is a simple, yet charming one. All going to the same high school, vocalists Issac Pech, Tarrek Abdel-Khaliq and JoeBarros linked up with Dom Pizano, who was learning to produce. They perfected their craft out of a shed after school and developed the multifaceted sound we know today. Later they met Jorge Olazaba, who handles all of the visuals associated with the group. It's no miraculous act of fate, but it summarizes key attributes of the group: a true collective, and a sum of their own parts.
When it comes to the process of reigning in each person's fascinating ideas, Dom is generally tasked curating the different voices into a cohesive unit. They follow the Wu-Tang model in that the producer calls a lot of the creative shots. Issac explained this, "How it usually works is we bring pieces of ideas to Dom that we all expand upon if he gives the green light. Dom makes most of the final musical calls, and that keeps our sound super cohesive. That being said, everyone brings something special to the table and Dom is really good at bringing out the best in each of us."
This truth is undeniable, as the California collective's recent catalog has been consistently thoughtful and engaging. Their break out single "Mariposa" from 2019 is an endearing love letter that flutters over light acoustic guitar rings with heartfelt lyrics. Peach Tree Rascals then followed up with "Things Don't Go My Way," an emo hip-hop crossover that croons around life's setbacks, and "not ok," a crisp and clean sadboy trap anthem. The emotion potency is highly prevalent throughout the brief discography of the group, shining through even despite the variety of sonic styles.
Their creative approach is surely in their favor on this front, as they attract fans of countless different styles and musical backgrounds. It's the main reason for how they've quickly gained momentum in the music industry, as their videos continue to gain thousands of views by the day and their Spotify streams continue to rise. Though on halt with the rest of the community due to the current pandemic, the group plans to release a debut EP in 2021 and hit the road to meet their new fans.
So this raises the question, who does Peach Tree Rascals make music for? A safe answer would be anyone and everyone, but I think it best to end on a heartwarming quote from Dom on the matter.
"We make music to feel something - each of us. But more importantly, we hope our fans feel something too. We want to create music that makes you feel specific emotions like happiness, optimistic, or hopeful. We feel like a lot of music out now focuses on the negative when there are so many things to be happy and grateful for. Even our sad songs have a tinge of nostalgia to them that we hope allow people to feel less sad. We hope people listen to our music when they need to feel better or enjoy the moments life brings to the fullest."