Peach Pit Releases Heartfelt and Multifaceted Third Album 'From 2 to 3' [Q&A]
Photo: Mackenzie Walker
Canadian indie-rock quartet Peach Pit has finally released their highly anticipated third studio album, From 2 to 3, and it was well worth the wait. The bright and clean-sounding eleven-track project highlights Peach Pit’s extensive musicality, with each band member playing multiple instruments on the record, including tambourine, cowbell, harmonica, lap steel, and more.
Written just months before the world shut down when it was easy to romanticize being shut-in, the band shared that being alone shaped the record’s sound and reminded them that music by yourself is great, but it’s better when you’re with your friends. “We wrote the record on instruments we had in our living rooms, so it seemed fitting that we record it that way too,” says lead vocalist and guitarist Neil Smith.
Ones To Watch had the chance to talk with Smith further about creating the album, his favorite music moments, and their upcoming 53-date North American and European tour this spring.
Ones to Watch: Can you tell me about the beginning of From 2 to 3's creation?
Peach Pit: Well, I guess we started writing the album pretty soon after putting out our last one. We’d written a few songs near the end of 2019 and didn’t think they’d be out anytime soon. Then the pandemic happened, so with no shows for the foreseeable future, it seemed like a good time to make a record!
Who or what inspires you creatively?
I mostly get inspiration from the people I’m around. Often, a song starts when I’m with my friends, and somebody says something I think sounds funny or interesting, maybe a phrase or a weird interaction that makes me laugh. I’ll jot it down on my phone and revisit it later when I’m working on music. It also means I have a ton of random-ass notes clogging up my phone’s storage since 99% of it I never actually look at again. As a group though, we get lots of inspiration from the music we’re listening to at the time. Recently it’s been a lot of oldies, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Neil Young; that kind of stuff.
What is your songwriting process like right now? Is it a tried and true method, or is it an ever-evolving process?
It’s stayed pretty much the same throughout our time as a band. Usually, I’ll write a song on my guitar at home and try to get the verses and chorus to a place I’m happy with. As I’m working on the song, Chris is hounding me to send him recordings of what I have, but I usually hold out until I feel good about what I’ve written. I’m kind of nervous to show him, so he has to bug me. [laughs] Then, Chris writes his guitar parts, and we work on the song arrangement and style as a band. Peter is really good at that part; he’s usually the one to unlock the best arrangement for the song. And then Mikey’s drumming dictates a lot too. Since all the songs start out solo-acoustic, Mike’s drums are often the deciding factor on how the songs end up.
How do you feel that this record differs from your previous work sound-wise and writing-wise, and what do you hope to experiment more with on upcoming music?
I’d say it mostly differs from a production standpoint. The album sounds a lot more like how we sound when we’re playing live. There’s not a lot of effects on the vocals and guitars, so it sounds like us playing in a room together. We set out to make a record like this because of all the oldies we were listening to at the time. We wanted that good clean tone, baby! As far as the future goes, we don’t really have a vision for the next record yet, but we want to try and make records that don’t all sound alike. Easier said than done though, especially when you keep making music with the same four people. [laughs]
What is your favorite song on the album? Why?
My favorite has switched a bunch since writing and recording it. But right now, I really like “Give Up Baby Go.” The music video we shot for it made me excited about it again, and we’ll be playing it on tour, so we’ve been rehearsing it every day, and it’s a fun one to play.
What has been the most challenging part of making this album?
I thought it would be all of the Covid restrictions that were in place when we started working on it, but that wasn’t the case. We ended up doing the album over Zoom with our producer, Robbie Lackritz, who was in Toronto at the time. When we started out, I was pretty anxious if it would be weird, him not being with us in Vancouver and all, but it worked out great! We would be on a Zoom call all day, us in Vancouver and him back home, and it couldn’t have been easier. We’ve still never shaken the guy’s hand, but we got to know each other very well and became good friends. It also helped that we had Dave Ogilvie and Liam Moes in the studio engineering the record. Those two guys are the best to work with; we have tons of laughs and watch lots of hockey. :)
Do you have any favorite music moments on the album?
Oh man, there are so many parts of the record that I love. I really think Mikey, Pete, and Chris have written some of their best stuff recently. My Top 3 would probably be: Mikey’s lead guitar part on “Look Out,” Peter’s bassline in the chorus of “2015,” and just all of Chris’ guitar playing on “Give Up Baby Go.” Those boys are shredders.
I love the music videos you made for this album, especially “Up Granville.” What was your favorite music video to shoot?
I loved making “Look Out.” It was one where Lester had a vision for how he wanted the video, and none of us had really given the concept too much thought or really bought into it yet. And then one day, we’re up on this stretch of road in the countryside near Keremeos, BC, sitting in the back of that truck driving back and forth all afternoon trying to make it in one take. When we finally got the shot, it was awesome! Chris was the most excited because it meant he didn’t have to keep chasing after us.
What was the most fun or most challenging part of shooting the music videos?
The most fun part was definitely the road trip we took last summer to shoot “Up Granville.” There were eight of us driving around for a week in the middle of summer, just shooting all day, stopping at cool places in BC, and camping every night. It was funny because we were getting to enjoy an actual road trip while shooting a music video about four guys taking a road trip. [laughs]
I know you must be excited about your upcoming tour. Where are you most excited to perform?
I’m most excited for the couple of places we’re playing two nights back to back. We’re usually only in town for a day tops, so we don’t get to explore that much of the cities. But on this tour, we get to spend like three days each in SF and LA, and that sounds pretty awesome. My sister is also flying down for the LA shows, and she’s never seen us on the road before, so I’m excited to kick it with her :) I’m gonna try and get her to stage dive one night. I hope she doesn’t chicken out!
What song do you think will be the most fun to play live?
I don’t want to give anything away, but I’m really excited for how we’re opening the show! We’re starting out with some really fun songs, and I know after not having played live for so long, it’s gonna feel good!
Peach Pit's From 2 to 3 is available everywhere you can stream it.