Pain, leather and pleasure collide in the queer icon’s NSFW visual for ‘Free Drink Ticket’
When Peaches emerged onto the scene with her ground-breaking 2000 album Teaches of Peaches, she completely shook up the status quo, creating anthems for those of us who wanted to scream about our sexuality from the rooftops. Peaches’ music was (and still is) a remedy for all our pleasantries: she makes music about cumming, fucking and clits in a way unrivalled by anybody else, and she does so with vulnerability, honesty and power. Now, five albums later, Peaches has become an electro-clashing, gender-fucking queer icon with a loyal fan base, with her latest record Rub arriving with a bang.
The sixth video from that album, “Free Drink Ticket” (directed by Sara Sachs), is a raw and transparent Gothic silent film-style piece of art, and it certainly gives us a piece of Peaches we’ve never seen before. As perhaps the realest break up song out there, “Free Drink Ticket” sees the performer stripped down in leather, fighting a pig boa as she sings “I wanna rip you apart with my bare hands.” Poetic, unsettling, identifiable – this video will strike a chord with anyone who has been through the pain and anger of heartbreak.
This video and song feels much darker than the rest of your album – is it more personal to you?
Peaches: The song is most the angry and vulnerable song I have ever written, and most transparent in terms of letting those monsters and hurt feelings out in a very direct way. I wanted to have a video that also exemplified this. The lyrics are basically when you’re very hurt from a relationship but you’re not able to let go yet, so you really have feelings of hurting the person back. Nobody sings about them because you’ll sound like an idiot, but everyone has that moment when you’re like “I wanna fucking kill them.”
What’s the significance of the animalistic figure in video?
Peaches: The image of the pig boa – this sort of monster or dark force in the room is also me. That’s why at the end I grow a little pig nose, because you can’t just project a bunch of hate onto somebody – there has to be a way to get over it, or else you’ll become it too.
What’s your relationship with pain in the video? Do you feel exposed and vulnerable, or do you find strength from it?
Peaches: When I say “I want to cut you” and my finger goes across my neck, there are moments of power and moments of sheer vulnerability. I liked how we used a German expressionist style as a way of expressing it, so it was all about body language. We also drew inspiration from Jean Cocteau and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to bring the images out. Ryan Heffington was our choreographer and he was also in the costume – he’s so expressive, and it was great to work with him because he really understands movement. It was a different way to how I usually express myself.
How did you and the director work together to create the video?
Peaches: Sarah (Sachs) has never directed a video before – I just love her mind. I always just try to work with people and their creativity, whether they’re an actor or a director or whoever, it’s about who I feel connected to. We just got talking about creativity in LA and I just asked her to direct the video. Then she had three ideas, and the pig boa was one of them, and we just started getting into it. She actually created the pig and she made my costume too.
Your videos are always so expressive and tell a story about you – do you look back at them and see the songs take on a different meaning?
Peaches: Yeah, and with the performances as well. For me, it always starts with music and then I delve into all the other areas I like. I don’t see them as music videos, I see them as their own art pieces. I think people are taking more control of their videos now, and realise they don’t have to pander as a commercial feature. I never really got the, “is this a tool to sell me as a sexy, young lady?” thing.
What’s “Free Drink Ticket”’s place within the wider context of Rub?
Peaches: It’s definitely the dark sister of the whole album – it’s a lot of people’s favourite song which is surprising to me but also amazing. Even though it’s so hateful, I think it’s the most poetic piece I’ve ever written. When I wrote it, I thought it could come across as really indulgent, but finally when it was done, I thought ‘no,’ this really expresses that feeling that most of us (or all of us) have had. The anger, the betrayal, the hurt – it’s an expression of that.
You’re a huge feminist and queer icon, but would you say your material is explicitly feminist or are you more interested in queering boundaries?
Peaches: It’s just about everybody questioning everything – that’s what everyone needs to do. They need to question authorities and mainstream ideas around them, question what’s going on and that’s what I was doing when I started out.
I’m not mad that feminism has become a trend but I’m just mad that it is a trend. At least it’s scratching the surface, or at least we’re questioning these things in the mainstream, but I understand people’s anger when they’ve worked so hard for a movement. At least it’s not opposing to their fight. Although, I don’t think that pop culture ever allows anything to do more than scratching the surface and that’s why it’s dangerous.