VMAN Premiere: The Peach Tree Rascals Release ‘I’m Sorry’
Though, there’s no reason to be apologetic: the group’s latest work is a synthesis of the infectious indie-pop they’ve become eponymous for.
It’s an irony of our strange, anomalous times that our latest chart-toppers aren’t renowned for full-length tracks or long-form projects. At least, not exactly. Not as we’re used to them. The most prominent of refrains now come in six seconds, echoing throughout TikTok’s ‘For You Page’.
There’s something to say for the hypermodern virality, an art-form in and of itself: independent recording artists become ubiquitous overnight, in somewhat of an anarchic process (or lack thereof). Perhaps the anarchy has become algorithmic, as emerging artists seem to appear/disappear with an unwavering frequency. The cadence can become a bit disorienting.
And yet, if the recording industry as we know it is dead, has been consumed and discarded by the ‘influencer’ generation, then there’s credit due to those maintaining their own authentic presence. One of the most real (in scare quotes) artists to recently gain traction has been the Peach Tree Rascals, accumulating nearly 90 million streams of their release ‘Mariposa’.
The group—composed of Jorge Olazaba (creative director), Dominic Pizano (producer), and rapper/singers Issac Pech, Tarrek Khaliq, and Joseph Barros—has amassed nearly 50 thousand followers on Instagram as of this article. If you were to Google their work you’d find no less than two million search results, and amalgamations of ‘Rascals’ (their exponentially increasing fanbase).
What makes for such a trajectory? In previous interviews, Tarrek chalked it up to “just being unequivocally ourselves. So many people are focused on being the next big thing. We want to be the biggest thing too… but we want to get there by creating music that is genuine to us as individuals.”
Indeed, they’re doing just that. The Peach Tree Rascal’s latest release ‘I’m Sorry’ is a bit more melancholic than ‘Mariposa’, though just as intimate. It’s an ode to moving forward, a melodic cross-genre endeavor, one which comes embedded with intoxicating harmonies. Though, the project isn’t a mundane idyll—it’s rapturous in a way that feels hard-earned, inseparable from the more precarious subject matter.
VMAN: The ‘I’m Sorry’ video is filmed in the desert of southern California, a bit of a detour for you guys. What’s the meaning behind the location?
Peach Tree Rascals (Jorge): I wouldn’t say there’s any particular meaning we intended with this, but what’s cool is that it sort of represents the space between San Jose in LA. There’s a lot of land that’s just sort of empty and desolate on that drive. It gives you ample time to think and reflect, which is what this song is all about.
VM: I understand you recently moved to LA from San Jose, what’s that been like? Do you ever feel like ‘taking your car’ and ‘’hitting the road’?
Tarrek: Honestly, at the end of the day we are so grateful to be here making music. That being said, the move has definitely been an adjustment. We aren’t the type of guys that are into “show business” so to speak, and kind of prefer hanging out with each other making music. We do “take the car and hit the road” pretty often to go home (hahaha). Our families and friends are still based in San Jose, so we try to go back as often as possible.
VM: The song discusses a sort of escapism, and a need to isolate (a bit of a double entendre in this moment). Do you find something meaningful in taking space for yourselves?
Issac: Definitely. Especially when you live with a big group of people like us, it’s important to take time for yourself. I sometimes find that when I’m able to even go on a walk or just take a beat by myself, I come up with the best creative concepts and lyrics when I take some space for myself. That’s how a lot of the new verses on our upcoming EP came to be.
VM: There’s also a central theme of moving on, for instance the lyrics “can’t go back to the places I’ve been […] come on”. How do you move forward from the past, and do you consider your art to be a part of that process?
Joseph: I can’t speak for all of us, but there’s always a difficulty in moving on from what’s familiar. I don’t think any of us expected something like this to happen to us. Performing and being artists was always a dream, never something we thought could actually happen. I think when you’re speaking to moving on, it’s important to not forget the past, but use your struggles and memories to be a better person and learn. I think our art and how it’s evolved shows the progress we’ve made. When people hear our EP, I think they’re going to see and hear that it’s an evolution of all of our sounds over the past few years. Of course it took a moment to get there, but we’re excited and grateful.
VM: You’ve certainly been in constant motion recently, with multiple releases over the past few months. How do you stay grounded?
Dom: I think the answer to that is just by being around family and friends. We try to go back home at least once a month.
VM: There’s a moment at the end of the video with the lyrics “breathe in, breathe out”. It’s a bit cathartic, and offers a moment of reprieve. What’s the significance behind the ending?
Jorge: Hahaha, so actually – it’s been sort of a PTR tradition that we tease a new song at the end of a video. That’s a new one coming that we’re really excited about. Kind of goes perfect with the video as a transition into the new song if I do say so!
VM: The overall subject matter seems less upbeat than some previous work, almost more mature. Would you say there’s any sort of directional shifts in your lyricism?
Issac: I think we’ve all grown. The move to LA was probably the most adult experience for each of us. Overall, we’re taking our career more seriously than ever. It’s a shift in life more than anything. I think people are gonna be really excited about the new chapter of PTR we are rolling out next year. It’s mature and thoughtful. It doesn’t fit anything that exists in the market.
VM: You’re on an impressive trajectory. What’s coming next for you guys?
Joseph: Thank you, again we are so grateful for every opportunity. This is such a dream. What’s next is singles until the end of the year, followed by an EP and album next year and some touring (finally)! We are so excited to get on the road. It feels like that’s a huge part of us that’s missing – not seeing our fans in person. It feels weird that there’s over 9 million fans on Spotify and it’s hard to tell who they are! We can’t wait to see everyone in person.