By Emily Corley
VANCOUVER – Allie Hanlon, aka Peach Kelli Pop, is fresh from her recent tour of Japan and already gearing up for an upcoming 28-date North American marathon. The band, who’s short, energetic tracks hit you like a riot grrrl-garage-pop-punk explosion, are famous for their constantly changing line-up. Hanlon IS Peach Kelli Pop, and she pulls in favours from a whole host of musician friends when touring or recording. “Basically it’s people that I’m friends with – people that I know will do a great job and who I think will enjoy the touring experience. It’s great to hire people who you know will honour the songs but perform the parts better than you could yourself.”
When PKP was newly formed, Hanlon would record whole albums by herself, playing and recording each instrument, and all the vocals separately. But, Hanlon explains, inspired by the considerable talent of friends who play in other bands or work on their own projects, this process has changed for her latest album. “Because, for instance, Gina (Negrini) is a bassist. I’m just someone who plays bass. Gina goes into the studio and does every song in one take – that’s not something I could do.” Hanlon has played drums in a whole host of other punk bands, including The White Wires, but for this record she has procured the “genius-like” services of Andrew Bassett, aka Mean Jeans drummer and vocalist Jeans Wilder. “He’s so great at learning songs that we only need a couple of practices with him for it to sound perfect. He’s incredible.” So despite the distance between Portland-based Bassett and the rest of the current line-up (who are in California), he will be touring with them when they hit North America at the end of this month.
Peach Kelli Pop’s last release was 2016’s EP Halloween Mask, but 2018 has seen the band come back with a vengeance – releasing an EP (Which Witch) and latest album Gentle Leader within less than two months. “After I signed with Mint Records it was maybe eight or nine months before the album would come out, so we decided it would be cool to put out a seven-inch vinyl and have six short punk songs on it. I’d worked so hard on the album for so long. And then I had this fun exercise which was lower pressure, so it was so much easier to write the songs and I had more fun.” Hanlon explains that the album, Gentle Leader, had been written for some time before she found the right record label to release her new material with. She found Vancouver-based Mint Records “after hearing how great it is to work with them from other bands.” The move has enabled Hanlon to feel renewed confidence about continuing to invest time and energy in her art. “One thing that I loved and hadn’t really experienced before is, because they’re a smaller label, they were able to put a lot of focus into the work we were doing together.”
‘Black Cat 13’, the first release from Gentle Leader evokes the brash, spiky DIY punk of Violent Femmes. Hanlon explains that she’s often “a little saltsy about how we’re described. Don’t call us a sunshine bubblegum girl band! It’s frustrating because I’ve been doing this for ten years. I’m a grown woman and there’s a lot more to it than just the femininity on the surface level.” When asked how she’d describe PKP’s sound, Hanlon admits: “I kind of dodge those questions to be honest! I could say we’re a pop-punk band with rhythms style funk drums and power-pop melodies and harmonies. but everyone’s perception of genre is different.”
Peach Kelli Pop perform at the Imperial (Vancouver) on June 24.Peach Kelli Pop, The Imperial