Call Rachel Warrick of local post-punk trio Peachy for a press interview and you’re just as likely to receive an invitation to an afternoon pool party. “Bring your swimsuit!” she texts. Even if your schedule doesn’t allow time for a holiday in the sun, the invitation is a sincere one, emblematic of the way Peachy mixes fun with more serious concerns.
Warrick (guitar/vocals), Leah Miller (bass/vocals), and Benji Coale (drums) are all Nashville natives who orbited within the same DIY/punk scene while attending Middle Tennessee State University. They’ve had separate stints in a variety of local acts, such as Pujol, Mom and Dad, The Shadowtones, and Roman Polanski’s Baby. When two of the bands broke up around the same time, Warrick and Miller found themselves casually making music together in early 2018.
“We were just hanging out — jamming for fun,” Warrick says. “Benji was upstairs in his bedroom, and he could hear us in the music room jamming. He came down and asked, ‘Can I jam with you guys?’ That’s how the band got started.”
“Punks with a sense of humor!” reads the short-and-sweet on their current bio, but Peachy is quick to point out their music explores some heavy subject matter. This light/heavy dichotomy carries over to their live show, which is often peppered with sarcastic banter between catchy, ferocious songs performed with an incisive tightness. Warrick and Miller’s shared vocal parts swing between straight-ahead punk cry and anthemic belt, all while riffing in time to Coale’s deft, driving drums. The band’s fun, fiery delivery of songs from 2018 debut EP Squirt (engineered by Shibby Poole and released on local label Budding Romance Records) has a way of disarming the listener and ultimately creating more of a conversation than a diatribe on topics like consent, toxic masculinity, and objectification of women’s bodies. Warrick explains the serious themes are intentionally captured through a lighthearted lens.
“I don’t want someone to hear our song ‘Rich Boy’ and be afraid to come up and talk to me,” Warrick says. “So I think it’s good to be funny and playful with it too. These songs are real and talk about real stuff, but we can also be friendly, make jokes, and be real people.”
“We pretty much write all the songs half and half,” Warrick continues, “If you hear Leah singing lead on a song, she wrote it; if you hear me singing lead on a song, I wrote it. Then we each write our own parts and Benji plays a huge part in arrangement. He can take the bare bones of our songs and bring them to the finish line.”
As a group, they draw upon diverse musical roots. One can certainly trace late ’70s punk and early ’80s post-punk/new wave traditions informing what they do. However, beyond displaying a staunch DIY ethos and belonging to that community, they aren’t sure they identify with any precise genre. Miller points out it’s partially because of their evolving sound.
“I don’t mind labels,” Miller says, “but I just know as soon as we release the new stuff, it’s not going to sound like our first record.”
That’s in part due to working with someone new: engineer and musician Alicia Bognanno (of local band Bully). Bognanno worked at the late and much-beloved haunt The Stone Fox, where she frequently ran sound for each of Peachy’s progenitors and got to know Warrick, Miller, and Coale as artists and friends. The band is enthusiastic to return to the studio with Bognanno within the next month to finish their new EP.
Peachy’s sense of community within the local scene is another badge they proudly wear. They are effusive with praise for other local bands (like psych-pop duo Twen, whose album release party they’re playing on Sept. 27) as well as nonprofits like Youth Empowerment through the Arts and Humanities!(YEAH!). The band recently performed at one of YEAH!’s Rock Camp events, where Warrick teaches guitar and Miller previously served as co-director.
Peachy has worked hard since that fateful, formative jam in 2018. Their unflappable work ethic and surefire sense of fun are what allows them to make the best of any situation. For no matter how serious the matter, the pool party is never too far away.