MUSIC PROFILE | PEACH KELLI POP

Allie Hanlon is going to be spending a lot of the spring promoting new music from her Peach Kelli Pop project. The outfit's Which Witch EP, their first release for Mint Records, comes out on 7-inch this Record Store Day (April 21) ahead of a North American tour; hours after Hanlon spoke with ION from her home in Los Angeles, the band were seeking extras for a music video shoot.  Also keeping Hanlon super busy, though, is Linus, the sweetheart of a pit bull she's fostering for the moment.

"He's a bit of a mystery, as lots of shelter dogs are," she says of her temporary roommate, who has popped up on Hanlon's various social feeds either chilling at the practice space or seeking a good scratch. "I'm not really sure what his background is, or why he was brought to the shelter, or even his age. I just picked him because he seemed like a really nice guy— he's super cute. He has really bad separation anxiety, so he freaks out if you leave him in the house. Any time I want to go to the grocery store or do anything like that, it's a bit hectic. I'm trying to teach him: 'It's ok! You're going to be alone, and the world isn't going to end!'"

Despite that pep talk to her pup, Hanlon's latest round of tracks are deceptively doomy.  Sonically, Which Witch possesses the same positive vibes as previous Peach Kelli Pop releases, but while running just over seven minutes long, Hanlon crams plenty of autobiographical references to depression and isolation into the six-song set. "Shine," for instance, juxtaposes lemon yellow guitar jangling and tambourine against lines detailing "chaos and stress/a big fucking mess". Later, punky thesis statement "Los Angeles" has Hanlon contemplating whether uprooting from Ottawa to the City of Angels in 2013 to focus on her music career was the wrong move. It ends with a blast of fuzz and the suggestion: "Maybe you should just go home."

"I was feeling confused about what my place was here [in Los Angeles]," Hanlon explains of the displacement laced into Which Witch. "I feel like I'm a bit older than some of the people that are making music here, and I've been doing it for a long time. Sometimes I'm not sure what I want out of it, and what is actually possible. I guess those feelings came from a place of uncertainty— of what I want with music, and uncertainty of my life path in general."

While it was written in L.A., Hanlon tracked the EP on her own in her parents' basement in Ottawa using the guitar and drum set she first learned to play music on as a teenager. She'd worked on 2010's Peach Kelli Pop I and parts of 2012's Peach Kelli Pop II the same way, but bringing her personal life into her lyrics was a first.

"I prefer to write songs that aren't about my life," the songwriter reveals. "That was a very new thing, to open up. Especially about things that aren't really positive. But I feel like that wasn't something I was afraid to do, because I know everyone has times in life where things are harder for them."

But tackling tough times through the EP helped put perspective on living in L.A., which Hanlon now says she has no plans of leaving. For one, she's built up a support system that includes current bandmates Gina Negrini (bass), Sophie Negrini (guitar) and Shelley Schimeck (drums)—the first Peach Kelli Pop full-length to feature the current line-up is expected later this year.

Outside of the band, Hanlon recently wrapped up some graphic design courses, and revealed in a tweet that she's going to be an online ESL teacher. For the time being, she's also got Linus by her side.

"I feel a lot better," Hanlon reports of her current headspace. "I basically figured out that I have the same passion that I have for music in other fields, and that took a lot of weight off of my shoulders. I can still do things that I really enjoy that aren't music. I can still do music, but it doesn't have to be the one thing that brings me personal satisfaction.

Photo: Gina Negrini

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