Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Arts Correspondent

Weekend Interview: The Peach Tree Rascals

PTR Photo: Edgar Daniel
PTR Photo: Edgar Daniel
Comprised of producer/mixer Dominic 'Dom' Pizano, rappers/singers Issac Pech, Tarrek Abdel-Khaliq, Joseph Barros and creative director Jorge Olazaba, the group started as a teenage DIY group, based out of a shed in San Jose. As the band grew, they added Jasper Barros on guitar and EJ Atienza, Jorge's right hand man assisting him with all things creative. The group has now accumulated over 300 million streams and are certified gold in the US for their track Mariposa. With a UK show and a brand new EP coming out very soon, we asked the band to tell us more...

Hi, first and foremost, how are you all?

We’re doing great today! We’re on the rooftop of Universal Music in London for our first headline show ever overseas and we’re ready!

You are in the UK to play a London show. Are you excited to get to know the UK audience?

Tarrek: Yes! We are so excited! We saw we even have a fan coming from Hong Kong to see us too, so it’s going to be diverse. That’s something I like, I’ve noticed in London too, walking around here, it’s very diverse.

Your wider fame started on TikTok, did you ever anticipate the reaction to Mariposa?

Tarrak: We anticipated it, yes. We always knew that our songs would connect with people once it reached them but we never expected it to do what it did on TikTok specifically because as a group, we never used TikTok until Mariposa started to have its moment. We love that it did happen on TikTok though because it’s all video, so you get to see the people reacting, dancing and being creative with the songs. So it felt more intimate than any other social platform, which we’re very grateful for.

You've already come a very long way since your high school formations, looking back, what was your big ambition?

Issac: Playing a really big show and making a living from making music. They were my big things when I was little.

Jorge: I never really had a plan B. I always wanted to do what I’m doing now so it turned out pretty well for me!

How has that goal changed?

Issac: I want more!

Jasper: World domination haha!

Tarrek: We want to travel more, do more shows, make more music, be in movies!

Dom: For sure, we want our music to be in huge, iconic movies!

Following Mariposa must have felt daunting, but you've since released a flurry of sensational singles. Your sound is very diverse, how would you define it?

Tarrek: Diverse! Just like us, we are fluid through all the spectrums of music and genres and we define our sound by what we like. If we make something that sounds good to us, we’re going to put it out no matter what genre it is, or what song we drop before and no matter how different it is to what’s coming out or how similar it is to what’s coming out. As long as we believe in it and we love it we’re going to release it.

Jorge: That’s the Rascal promise! Haha.

You are about to release your second EP, Does A Fish Knows Its Wet. Firstly, how did you come up with the title?

Jorge: I came up with it because it felt like we were being influenced by the outside world a lot. We were hearing a lot of outside noises and it felt like we were being watched, like inside of a fish bowl. People we’re just looking at us, poking at the glass and seeing what we are and it just felt right, like you’re the fish. I’ve always wondered do fish actually know they’re in water? Or are they just floating around? What’s it like for them? That’s how it feels for us right now! How the industry is affecting us in the long-term, a year from now, two years for now or ten years from now. So it’s about what we’re going through now, it’s all encompassing.

Secondly, what can we expect from the EP?

Tarrek: You can expect the biggest songs that we’ve made! Expect sunshine, summertime and good vibes. Rascal Pop - that's the genre of this project!

Which track are you most excited for people to hear?

All: We all want you to hear Tinya!

Jorge: Tinya and Moped!

Dom: I love the string section at the end of Tinya, I can’t wait for people to hear that.

Jasper: I want to do that string section live! That would be crazy!

2022 sees you performing around the world and playing lots of festivals, if there is one stage you could appear on, which would it be?

A stage near you!

Jasper: For me, I’d say Red Rocks Amphitheatre because that venue looks crazy! It’s so beautiful, you’re just surrounded by Canyon!

Tarrek: Wembley Stadium!

Joseph: I’m going to say The Gorge in Washington!

Tarrek: Oh, Jerash in Amman, Jordan. I have a lot of family over there but it’s Roman ruins and there’s a stadium there. That would be cool.

And lastly, if there was one act you could collaborate with, who would that be?

Dom: I’d love someone like Quincy Jones to arrange a strings or horn section.

Joseph: Pharrell too would be cool. Harry Styles because he’s beautiful and I think his sound would work well with ours.

Jasper: Childish Gambino’s producer Ludwig Göransson. I love that guy, he does film scores and things like that too!

Jorge: We were supposed to meet him before he did The Mandalorian. That would have been cool!

Jasper: Ludwig is definitely someone I’d love to work with because there’s just so many layers to his sound, it’s crazy!