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ill peach perform songs from their debut album, 'This Is Not An Exit,' at The Current

ill peach – studio session at The Current (music & interview) The Current
  Play Now [21:16]

by Ayisha Jaffer

January 12, 2024

Although they’re based in Los Angeles, the band ill peach have strong ties to Minnesota, and they wear those ties proudly on their sleeves during their recent studio session at The Current. “I loved playing in bands in high school and going to shows,” says Pat Morrissey of ill peach. “I think the local band scene was super strong growing up. That was a major, major influence.”

Morrissey, together with bandmate Jess Corazza, had been signed to a songwriting publishing deal, and the project ill peach grew out of that work.

Corazza and Morrissey, together with longtime collaborator Jesse Schuster, visited The Current studio to play songs from This Is Not An Exit, the debut album from ill peach, out now on Sub Pop. Watch and listen to the full session above, and read a transcript of the interview below.

Three musicians performing in a recording studio
L to R: Pat Morrissey, Jess Corazza and Jesse Schuster of Los Angeles-based ill peach performing in The Current studio on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023.
Eric Xu Romani | MPR

Interview Transcript

Ayisha Jaffer: What's up? I'm Ayisha Jaffer, weekday host here at The Current, and I'm hanging out with ill peach. Thanks, guys, for for joining us today.

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, thanks for having us.

Jess Corazza: Thank you.

Ayisha Jaffer: And happy holidays, and welcome back to your home state of Minnesota! How do you feel?

Jess Corazza: It feels awesome.

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, well, home sweet home

Ayisha Jaffer: Home sweet home. So I'm wondering being from Minnesota if there's anything about being here. Is that kind of added to your creative path as Ill peach? Or just on the way really?

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, I mean, I loved playing in bands in high school and going to shows. I think the local band scene was super strong growing up. And yeah, of course, that was a major, major influence. We were in a band together. Jesse and I. And, yes, we'd go to shows all the time.

Jesse Schuster: 12 Rods.

Pat Morrissey: Yep.

Jesse Schuster: Love-Cars. Happy Apple. Halloween, Alaska. Cowboy Curtis.

Pat Morrissey: Oh, yeah.

Jesse Schuster: Where our like, older brother...

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, shout out, Chris [Morrissey].

Bassist Chris Morrissey in the studio
Bassist Chris Morrissey performing with Margaret Glaspy in The Current studio in 2017.
Nate Ryan | MPR

Jesse Schuster: Big, big bands. So yeah, local scene at that time was... and throughout, has been super just like, inspiring.

Ayisha Jaffer: That's awesome. Well, I've got some questions kind of about the origin story, because I feel like there's some blanks that I'd like to fill in on this journey. So I know: Minnesota, met in high school, started writing in college, and then you became a competitive tap dancer. You were a cowgirl. You stayed in Minnesota, you're rocking some bands. 

Jesse Schuster: Waiter.

Ayisha Jaffer: Waiter.

Jesse Schuster: Mostly. Mostly.

Ayisha Jaffer: So I want to know more about that and where on the timeline this was, and then how you guys came back together to song-write together?

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, well, I was a tap dancer from age three to 24, or like maybe 22, 24. And, yeah, I was in competitive dance. And I did musicals at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, because that's where, my dad was the musical director there. And then, yeah, Jess, li'l cowgirl.

Jess Corazza: Yeah, everyone just likes to associate with me with being a cowgirl because I'm from Wyoming, originally. So I moved here in eighth grade, but everyone just thinks like Wyoming is like cowboys and cowgirls, so...

Ayisha Jaffer: It's just like assumed. OK.

Jess Corazza: Yep.

Ayisha Jaffer: OK, we're taking that away now.

Jess Corazza: Taking it away.

Ayisha Jaffer: It's done. It's just "from Wyoming, came in eighth grade."

Jess Corazza: Yeah. 

Ayisha Jaffer: All right, that's a cool place to be from. We've talked about this more, but it's interesting: Competitive dancer, doesn't like dancing, right?

Jess Corazza: No.

Ayisha Jaffer: Yeah.

Jess Corazza: No, we're very polar opposite. Like, and I feel like that is translated in our music a lot. Also, we just come from very different worlds, for sure.

A woman in sunglasses singing onstage
German singer Joana Zimmer performing on March 11, 2011 in Berlin, Germany.
Frank Hoensch/Getty Images

Ayisha Jaffer: Well, that's cool, though. So on this journey — OK, so now I see where this fits in the timeline, because I just saw that line, and I was like, "Cowgirl and tap dancer meet together!" — it was like Dirty Dancing in my head or something! Well, then I read something that, like, so you're writing songs, and you got the attention of the German Céline Dion, Joana Zimmer.

Jess Corazza: Yes.

Ayisha Jaffer: And that's kind of where the songwriting process kind of started, right? Is that what kicked it off?

Pat Morrissey: Yeah.

Jess Corazza: Yeah.

Pat Morrissey: Wow. Throwback.

Jess Corazza: I don't know. It was so random. We just started writing songs one summer, and sometimes Jesse would step in and work with us, too. And I think his dance teacher was connected to Joana. And she came here, and we recorded out of the studio in St. Paul, we did an EP with her. And we were like, "I don't know, are we like songwriters now? This is weird." So that's kind of how it started. And then we just continued on that journey. We just kept building a catalog, moved to New York, kept trying to sell the catalog, you know, get other people to listen to it. And they kept saying that it was very unique, and suggested that we would, you know, try our own project.

A man in a tank top and flight goggles stands for a portrait
Genesis Owusu
Bartolomeo Celestino

Ayisha Jaffer: Well, I want to ask about that. Because some of the artists that you've worked with — Big Freedia, Pharrell, Weezer, Genesis Owuso, you know, SZA — I see that list of artists and I'm like, what made you so left of center? What exactly was it that ... what did they mean by that? The "they" that says kind of like, "This is out of the ordinary."

Big Freedia press photo
Big Freedia
courtesy Paradigm Talent Agency

Jess Corazza: That's a ... "left of center" is such an interesting term to me, because like, I would always be labeled as that, being put in a songwriting room. And I honestly just think it's their way of saying indie, where you're like, you're gonna come in with a weird idea. You don't want to be put in a box. So I feel like that that really, like helped, especially like growing up in this scene, it helped us a lot to step into those rooms and have a different perspective.

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, probably taking too many risks sonically, or maybe experimenting too much, is a little scary, and, at least at the time in the pop world. And so that I think that's what maybe they're referring to. And so, yeah, we had this meeting with this A&R guy and yeah, he was like, "Well, this is a good song, but it might not work for us, but have you tried starting your own band?" And so that's kind of what started it. 

Ayisha Jaffer: So, well, in that, adding to this timeline of origin story, like, there is, well, in the story, it says that you were offered a publishing deal; you, like, made it to the finish line. So did you take it? Or did you go, "No, we're gonna go all in on ill peach and do our own thing."

Jess Corazza: We took the publishing deal.

Ayisha Jaffer: Yeah, good.

Jesse Schuster: When you get offered the publishing deal, you take the publishing deal!

Ayisha Jaffer: I just didn't know the answer, you know? I wanted to know if they're going hand in hand or not.

Jess Corazza: Yeah, I mean, it definitely, like, helped us level up in different areas. But it's, I wouldn't say that it was connected to ill peach. You know, it just, that space is like a very different world, musically.

Ayisha Jaffer: Yes.

Jess Corazza: And I think it wasn't really until the pandemic where everything sort of shut down. The ill peach was like, "Oh, we can kind of do whatever we want, and no one's really paying attention right now, which is cool." And I just felt like it felt like freedom, because, yeah, being assigned songwriter has its limitations sometimes.

Ayisha Jaffer: So this is kind of like the creative outlet outside of that.

Jess Corazza: Totally.

Ayisha Jaffer: That's really cool. So now you have your debut album out, This Is Not An Exit.

Jess Corazza: Yes.

Ayisha Jaffer: And you kind of went on a journey, right, from Minnesota to New York to L.A., a physical journey, but there's a healing journey also on this album. Tell me a bit about that.

Jess Corazza: Well, the past, I mean, obviously, the world shut down for a few years, that was challenging. And then we had just a lot of personal things going on. Like my dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and that really just took me on an emotional journey. And I feel like we were just collectively putting in so many of, like, our moments of trauma and story and nostalgic times, you know, anything from the both of us, which made it feel like an insane journey a little bit. Like, I think Jesse came in at one point where we were both like, "This is too intense. Like, I don't know, if this is like meshing, if it's making sense." And he was like, "No, it totally is. It's like encapsulating, like, both of you and your journeys."

Pat Morrissey: Yeah. I mean, I don't think we had a clear concept going into it. I think we were just, there was a lot of questions being asked during that time. And I think we, a lot of questions about, like, how do we feel about ourselves right now during this time? And like, what's the future gonna look like? And I think we brought those questions into the studio and just said, like, "Let's just go from there." And so we had a collection of songs that, to me, when I when I hear it, I can hear like, "Oh, that's how I felt during that month of that year." And then, "Oh, this song is like very... yeah, is like maybe the opposite," because I can hear when things started to turn around, you know? So yeah, I was just like, you know, documenting these moments in time.

ill peach
ill peach - THIS IS NOT AN EXIT
Sub Pop

Ayisha Jaffer: "Bloom" is the song that we're playing here on The Current, and that is the only love song on the album, which is cool. So I was just curious, what's the inspiration about that? Because sounds like it's like fighting for love. So not in that way, but I want to hear a little bit more about that.

Jess Corazza: That was just — it is fighting for love. I felt like it was, we wrote that song kind of like tail end of pandemic. We just saw a lot of our closest friends that had been in relationships for so long, like just so many people that like relationships were falling apart, you know? Where it was very unexpected, and it was kind of like our message of being like, "No, like stick it out. You're gonna be fine!" Like, "This is a tough time," you know?

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, it was like, can love exist...

Jess Corazza: Yeah.

Pat Morrissey: ...through distance, or do you have to be together? That was like a big part of that song.

Ayisha Jaffer: Yeah. Well and then just kind of returning back to this idea of like ill peach and you as songwriters kind of being a little "left of center," what was like the wildest instrumentation or sonic experimentation did you do on this record? 

Pat Morrissey: Well, OK.

Ayisha Jaffer: Yes!

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, we referenced — I'll do a little Minnesota callout — Low a lot in just like the way they play with distortion and how it can be so like, beautiful, but also ugly at the same time, and like that was something we played a lot with.

Two people sitting on a log along Duluth's Park Point
Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk of Low
courtesy the artists

Jesse did a lot of the guitar work on the album. And so we played around with reamping things through guitar pedals and mic'ing up the speakers with with an iPhone, and then running that through guitar pedals, so just to get different, a different feeling out of a traditional instrument. So yeah, that was, that was very fun.

Jess Corazza: We would reamp my vocals a lot through guitar amps, and back and just like back and forth, back and forth, and just like, trying to get different layers that would be really strange and weird to layer with my lead vocal, which was fun also.

Ayisha Jaffer: That's really cool. And I have to ask this, just as songwriters, was there any songs on the album that were intended for someone else that you kept for your record?

Jess Corazza: Actually, no, on this one, I think.

Pat Morrissey: Yeah.

Jess Corazza: All of them are for us. It's kind of funny, I feel like when we go into the studio, and we start a song, it's like, within five seconds, I'm like, "No, this is for sure ours."

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, for whatever reason, there's a different switch.

Jess Corazza: Yeah.

Pat Morrissey: A different mode that you're in, I think, when you enter the room, and you know that it's like, "OK, I'm of service to someone else today," versus like, yeah, yourself, I think, really expressing yourself.

Ayisha Jaffer: I love that. That's really cool. So you know it's ill peach.

Pat Morrissey: Yeah.

Jess Corazza: For sure.

Ayisha Jaffer: You're all in L.A. now, and I heard that you created, in L.A., you kind of got to know your community and created this collective called Pop Can Records.  I just want to hear a little bit about how that kind of came to be. And then like, what you guys are up to now?

Pat Morrissey: Yeah. Yeah. That started for many reasons, but one of them was, Jesse has a project called Safe Jazz.

Ayisha Jaffer: That's a great name!

Jesse Schuster: Pretty good name. Thanks.

A simple illustration of a soda can
Pop Can Records is an artist collective and record label run by musicians out of Glassell Park, Los Angeles.
via Bandcamp

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, it was like, early pandemic, and, and he was like, "Man, I got this record, like, I don't know how to put it out or when or, you know, what, what should we do?" And then that's what started this, you know, this idea of like, "Oh, man, we have so many friends who who asked that same question." So many musician friends who are just like, "Yeah, I have this record just sitting on my hard drive, and it's been there for four years." And we found out that like, the only, the missing link was just like somebody or a group of people to be like, "Put it out! And here you go, you can put it out right here." So yeah, we started the label, and it was a group of musician friends. And then, you also, he also had this idea of doing a protest album. So that was the other thing that we were like, "All right, yeah, we got to do it now." And we did it right before the election, and that was a compilation of different artists that we admire. Yeah. Am I saying that right?

Jesse Schuster: I think you nailed that. Yeah, I think it's funny how sometimes the only go-ahead you need is somebody being like, "It's a pretty good song. You sure you don't want to put that out?" Because I think what happens is, as like, artists, you're like, "OK, I've been working on this for like, 17 years, and then I emailed it to the one label that was my dream." And they didn't check their email. And then you're like, "Well, I guess I suck, so that's it." And then your friend goes, like, "What about, what was that song that you showed me, like, two years ago? What'd you do with that?" And then you hear it and you're like, "Yeah, it's done. Actually don't even touch it." I mean, that's also how I felt about this album. Working on is just sometimes, you're just like, "I think you guys are pretty much there."

Pat Morrissey: Yeah.

Jesse Schuster: You just gotta like, maybe we could just add a little sprinkle here and there, and then...

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, I mean, it's crazy how often you can get in your way with that. I mean, it's so universal, where it's just like, the imposter syndrome kind of thing. So yeah, we had we had a lot of these songs laying around. And like, I would say, yeah, Jesse came in, and he really helped us, like, make sure we finished it just just by saying, like, "No, no, this is good. Like, keep doing what you're doing with it." You know?

Ayisha Jaffer: Yeah.

Pat Morrissey: So yeah, so I think Pop Can, that that was at least the foundation of the collective and the label. And then right after the protest compilation, we put out that first ill peach EP. So.

Ayisha Jaffer: And actually I have to return to a song that's not on the record, "Gum."

Jess Corazza: Yes.

Ayisha Jaffer: Because that's almost like a love letter to Minnesota. It's a rite of passage.

Jess Corazza: It was, yeah.

Ayisha Jaffer: Go to local shows, go to Hard Times Cafe.

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, yeah.

Jess Corazza: That was sort of like the blueprint for ill peach. I feel like when we wrote that song, we were like, "Oh, this is the thing." You know, we got it.

Pat Morrissey: Yeah.

Jess Corazza: And yeah, it felt really like near and dear because we're from here, and we wanted to, we never really, like I typically don't really like to write songs that reference anything too hard, and so we co-wrote it with the songwriter Nick Long. And I was like, "Look, can we like do it in a way where we're mentioning Hard Times?" But, you know, unless you're from Minnesota, you're not really, you know, it just sounds like you're being like "hard times" — you're not really talking about a specific place, but we did it in a really clever way that I think that, you know, was a nod but has a different meaning, too.

Hard Times Cafe
The employee-owned Hard Time Cafe near Cedar and Riverside avenues in Minneapolis Monday, July 21, 2014.
Jennifer Simonson/MPR News

Ayisha Jaffer: And everyone has their Hard Times in their town, right? So that's great. Well, before I let you go, is there anything else you want our listeners to know?

Pat Morrissey: There was that one thing...

Ayisha Jaffer: Shout outs?

Jess Corazza: Well, there was that one secret.

Pat Morrissey: Jane Brambilla.

Jesse Schuster: Yep.

Pat Morrissey: Mound Westonka. Go Hawks go.

Jesse Schuster: Mr. Bulman.

Pat Morrissey: I referenced my brother, Chris. I didn't say his last name, Morrissey, because he was in all these bands, like we said Love-Cars and Cowboy Curtis. Or not not Love-Cars, Cowboy Curtis. 

Ayisha Jaffer: So this literal big-brother bands, then. 

Pat Morrissey: Yeah, big-brother bands. And then we, our first band that we were in, Jeremy Hanson was the drummer. And his brother Jake was in Cowboy Curtis with my brother. So they were, yeah, the big-brother bands for us.

Prolific brothers Jake and Jeremy Hanson have been shaping the Twin Cities sound for years.
Nate Ryan/MPR

Jess Corazza: A lot of brothers.

Ayisha Jaffer: Banding together.

Jess Corazza: Banding together!

Ayisha Jaffer: Well, awesome. Thanks so much, guys, for hanging out with us. Ill peach, This Is Not An Exit, their debut album, is out now.

Jess Corazza: Thank you.

Pat Morrissey: Thanks for for having us.

Jess Corazza: Yeah. Woohoo!

Two people crouch at the base of an outdoor staircase
Ill Peach are a Los Angeles duo comprising Pat Morrissey and Jess Corazza.
Lucy Sandler

Video Segments

00:00:00 Bloom
00:03:11 Capillary Bed
00:06:09 Heavyweight
00:09:54 Interview with host Ayisha Jaffer

All songs from ill peach’s 2023 album, This Is Not An Exit, available on Sub Pop Records.


Jess Corazza – vocals
Pat Morrissey – synths, beats, guitar
Jesse Schuster – guitar


Guests – ill peach
Host – Ayisha Jaffer
Producer – Derrick Stevens
Video Director – Eric Xu Romani
Graphics – Natalia Toledo
Digital Producer – Luke Taylor

ill peach – Bandcamp