The Peekaboos are a tight knit family of a band making Pixies-esque, high energy rock that runs the gamut from silliness (“Let’s Talk About Your Big Butt”) to seriousness (“Defective Kids”). They released their debut LP, Stay Positive, last year and are well underway on a follow-up. Below is a casual conversation with all four members (vocalist/guitarist Shannon Candy, vocalist/guitarist/synths Matthew Muffin, drummer Michael Sunnycide, and bassist Koala Rob) at Two States recording studio in Jefferson Park, a space run by Rob, who produced the first LP and is now in the band full time. At the end of the post is a free download of their new single “Bananazz,” which they recorded exclusively for LoudLoopPress.com with our own Damian Wiseman.
LLP: One aspect of your album “Stay Positive” that jumped out at me is the contrast between a positive, youthful energy, and a kind of resignation about the realities of adult life. Can you talk about this?
Shannon: I think we all feel a dichotomy between being excited about life and being horrified by it.
Matt: And the word “Peekaboo,” to me at least, has evolved to mean a very beautiful surface, but it’s like, brimming underneath with evil. But you can’t really call it “evil” because it’s reality as it’s always been. You just have to take it in stride. You have to be cool about it, you have to stay positive.
Mike: The way I’ve always viewed the songs is that they’re funny, but there’s something dark and sinister underneath. It’s kind of like black comedy.
Rob: I personally think there’s a strength behind the record, from an outsider point of view. And I think that’s what I viewed as an engineer when I was recording it. There’s a lot of shit that gets talked about on that record that makes you not want to think about it, but what’s great is that by the end of the record, you just had this agreement that everyone that played on it had a strength about them.
Matt: It’s still worth fighting for.
Rob: Yeah! Yeah, and it’s not even a fight after a while, it’s just a strength. Knowing that no matter what’s going to come at you, you’ve got three other people with you at all times.
LLP: The album title is obviously one that’s been used before, is it a mission statement for the band? For the one album in particular?
Mike: I think it came from the time the band started.
Shannon: We were in such turmoil.
Mike: Yeah. It’s like, you’ve got to be happy with where you are right now and keep putting one foot in front of the other and just keep going and have a positive outlook on it. That can make all the difference in the world. It becomes a kind of catharsis in and of itself. It fulfills your being.
Shannon: I think it’s how we look at what we do. A lot of people come across as taking themselves very seriously, and I don’t think the Peekaboos ever take themselves seriously. I think we’re all about having fun. We just try to keep it light-hearted man. Except in our lyrics where we want to make you cry. [laughs].
LLP: Can you talk about what the album was like to make?
Rob: It’s a lot different of a process than what’s happening right now. I wasn’t in the band at the time, I was just recording. Everyone came in and we basically tracked everything.
Rob: Yeah, all live, and then we just mixed it. So it was much more of a raw record, than a put together, produced record, even though people do say that it sounds produced. With this [new] one it’s going to be much more saturated in comparison.
Shannon: I feel like with the first album we hadn’t been playing as a band for so long, and we’ve really learned how to play off of each other and we’ve really learned each others’ strengths and weaknesses. On the first album we were still working out those kinks and now I feel like we’re this well oiled machine.
Rob: It’s weird, it’s like taking pictures of your kids when they’re babies, and you think they’re beautiful and you think they’re great.
Shannon: And they just keep getting more beautiful.
Rob: Yeah and then they grow up and become humans, and you look at pictures before and you think ‘you were like, a mutant!’ [laughs].
LLP: So clearly you don’t feel the same way about the first album now versus when it came out.
Rob: No, definitely not. But that’s just me being critical and I’ve always been like that personally. I wasn’t in the band, so it means something different to me.
Shannon: I love that record, but I feel like we’ve grown so much since then that I’m much more excited about putting this new album out.
LLP: Clearly you’re all very excited.
Shannon: When I let people hear “Stay Positive” and they get excited about it and they enjoy what they hear, it’s wonderful, but I almost want to say to them “oh just wait. You have no idea what’s coming.” If you liked “Stay Positive” then this new album is going to blow your mind and I’m so excited for people to hear it. I just can’t wait for the reactions to it.
Matt: I love playing all the [new] material live. Just to hear it back and not have to think about playing it, it’s definitely a good feeling.
Mike: When I think about “Stay Positive” and I listen to it now, it brings back this specific time when we wrote those songs and recorded those songs. It’s all very exciting, it’s like a snapshot, and I’m really excited about the snapshot we’re taking now, about this time.
Rob: The reason I’m more excited about this record than “Stay Positive” is because when I was working with them, I always had to keep myself at bay and say ‘you can’t run this, this is someone else’s art.’ But now I’m involved and when I have ideas I can bring them up much more openly.
Matt: With the first album, it was like we were just performers on the album, whereas with this album it’s more like we’re a cross between performers and craftsmen. It’s a different approach.
Rob: Way more of a thought process.
Mike: I’m just excited for the record to show how far we’ve come as a band.
Shannon: Yeah, totally. We’ve all become such better musicians and we’ve all gotten really good at what we do.
Matt: We figured out how to be the Peekaboos.
Rob: Yes, that’s exactly what it is, we totally figured out how to be the Peekaboos. [laughs].
Shannon: The new album probably won’t be out until late summer, so everyone has to be patient. But we do have a music video coming out before then for the song “Heaven’s Gate.”
LLP: Can you talk about “Bananazz,” the single you did for Loud Loop Press?
Matt: That shit is bananas [laughs].
Mike: It was really cool, Damien came over to our practice one day and recorded it with us,
Matt: He was really curious about the material. He just listened and asked questions. It was fun working with someone who wasn’t directly in the band, he did a good job.
Mike: He offered us some suggestions as to how he wanted to record the song, it was cool to have an outside perspective.
Rob: He produced that song. We gave it to him how we had it and he said ‘would you mind changing these few things?’ And we all talked about and were like “yeah.”
LLP: So you already had the song. So will it be on the new album?
Mike: Yeah, this is kind of a sneak peek of what’s going to be on the album. We’re putting out two versions.
Shannon: It’s like a radio edit
Mike: So there’s going to be this version that we’re really excited about that we recorded in a day and did it live, and then there’s our version too.
LLP: What’s different between the two versions?
Rob: Ours is a lot longer.
Mike: We’re way more indulgent [laughs].