INTERVIEW: The Moldy Peaches
In Music We Trust talks with Kimya Dawson and Adam Gree (The Moldy Peaches)
By: Christine Anne Long
Bleu cheese burgers. Ever had one? Apparently Kimya Dawson (29) and Adam Green (20), better known as the Moldy Peaches, have had one too many. "Everytime we eat there we get sick. But we seem to forget that," confessed rueful Dawson. Suffering from the specialty of the Moon Rock Diner in New York City, the two quirky masters of bedroom four-track rock, sat down to chew the fat about their latest successes in the music world.
Weird doesn't begin to describe the duo that caught the eye of Strokes fans all over the country while on tour last September. Known for donning costumes on stage, Dawson as a lioness and Green as Robin Hood, the Moldy Peaches' low-fi sound has been characterized as a known leader in New York's anti-folk movement. Numerous songs spring forth from their self-titled nineteen song LP. There is the rousing anthem "New York City's like a Graveyard," written long before September 11th that criticizes the mainstream music of New York that the Peaches have grown to hate. There's also the semi-serious anti-conformity beatnik inspired ditty, "These Burgers" and Dawson's heartfelt and earnest crush ballad, "Nothing Came Out." Quasi-serious songs aside there is kindergarten punkish stomp of "What Went Wrong" and the amateur rap, "On Top." Dawson and Green's childish wonderment is refreshing as is their unique sense of reality and blatant lack of refinement; something many recording artist lack in this all too institutionalized music industry. Here's what the kids had to say:
IMWT: I heard that you kids met in a coffee shop. What is the story behind that?
Kimya Dawson: Well, we were actually in the same dance troop. We were competitive dancers...I was a counselor at the dance camp Adam was at. It's like cheerleading but dancing.
IMWT: Adam you dance?
Adam Green: I jitterbug.
KD: It's kind of like...have you seen the movie 'Bring It On?' It's kind of like that but less cheering and more dancing.
IMWT: So this was where?
KD: In Connecticut and I was 21 and Adam was like 12. I taught the kids the jitterbug and foxtrot, but not just the jitterbug and foxtrot but the jitterbug and foxtrot with elements from Paula Abdul.
IMWT: How did you become friends?
KD: Well, before we met at the camp, Adam had been listening to a lot of the same music as me. And we realized this over the summer and then we realized we were both from the same town...like towns next to each other in New York. And when I came back into New York we ran into each other at a Tony Bennett concert.
AG: We're big fans of Tony Bennett. We actually got to meet him not long ago. We were doing a photo shoot in the lobby of this fancy hotel and we approached him with our CD and said, 'Tony Bennett!'
KD: 'Here!' And he said, 'Oh look, fans! Fans!' And Adam was wearing his Robin Hood costume and I was in my bunny suit.
AG: And the doorman tried to chase us out of the hotel. It was just like 'Home Alone II.'
IMWT: What are some of your influences?
KD: Sir Mix-A-Lot, MC Hammer, Kris Kross--
AG: The Cowboy Junkies.
KD: Lionel Richie, Aaron Neville, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross, Peabo Bryson and that lady he sings with.
AG: Captain Hook.
KD: William Shatner, Hulk Hogan, Bel Biv Devoe, Eric Clapton, Rodney Dangerfield...who I hear is sick.
AG: Jason Priestly.
IMWT: What is your favorite article of clothing?
KD: I like these pants I haven't taken off in three weeks. They're army pants. I've actually been doing this thing with my pants where I fringe the bottom by cutting it to three-quarter length. So they kind of look like these weird Incredible Hulk pants...I did it to all my pants. After I did that, Julian [Casablancas] of the Strokes did that to all of his pants because he said it made him feel stronger.
AG: I like wearing my submarine commander's uniform.
IMWT: Did you ever try to eat crayons or play-dough when you were younger?
KD: Yeah, play-dough is really tasteless but it has the best smell and crayons are really waxy with no flavor. There was this one day when I went to the supermarket and went down the shampoo isle and smelled everything. If it smelled delicious I would stick my finger in it and taste it and every time it would be disgusting and I would like, gag. I spent a half hour tasting all these hair and skin products and I ended up getting really really sick. I was so convinced that one of them had to taste as delicious as it smelled.
IMWT: When did you try this?
KD: About two years ago.
IMWT: What is the Anti-Folk movement?
AG: That's like kind of a scene we're part of. We're not literally anti-folk...it's been around for like 15 years and at the time it was anti-folk because folk at that time meant this cheesy kind of distilled watered down folk music inspired by James Taylor in the West Village. And a lot of new people we're starting to play folk music that was a more abrasive punk that was more about what they really felt and that new type of folk wasn't allowed to be played in the West Village because they wouldn't let us play at the open mic. So they said ok, 'if you won't let us play at the open mic, we're anti-folk.'
IMWT: What do you think of Britney Spears?
KD: She's a robot.
AG: I was thinking of dating her.
KD: I was thinking of dating her but she's a computer. Actually, yesterday we decided that she is Vicky from Small Wonder all grown up.
AG: Like I hear that she has a boyfriend but that can't be too serious--
KD: Because she's a computer.
AG: I figure it's time for me to step in. (laughter)