Peach Tree Rascals: “everyone is free to be themselves and there’s no judgements”

Peach Tree Rascals’ debut EP Camp Nowhere is as good as a pandemic project gets; it’s meditative, beaming with good vibes, and it has almost nothing to do with the pandemic.

Peach Tree Rascals make some of the most easygoing music around, so it was no surprise to meet them over Zoom and find out they were, in fact, the epitomes of chill. Dominic Pizano, Issac Pech, Tarrek Abdel-Khaliq, Joseph Barros, and Jorge Olazaba are a group of friends who grew up together in San José before beginning to make tunes together, and today they’ve finally released their debut EP Camp Nowhere.

The recording process for Camp Nowhere sounds like a dream to any pandemic shut-in; in the middle of 2020 they trekked out to the edge of Yosemite before spending “about two weeks” in a vacation house surrounded by nature and recording gear. Using this getaway as a started point, the whole Peach Tree Rascals crew clued me into what makes this EP so damn special.

Reflecting on that time away, Abdel-Khaliq declared “you wouldn’t even know there’s a pandemic on”,  and that carefree spirit rings out from every bar of Camp Nowhere. The beats are well-placed but lazy in their own non-quantised way, the choice to use acoustic guitars, electric keys, and even a spell on the strings speaks to a holiday mentality, and the lyrics are all nudges towards states of mindfulness and isolation, but also companionship.

“The studio was set up, right by these big windows, so you’d feel like you’re outside”, Abdel-Khaliq shared. “A lot of the time we’d just open up the windows so the music plays outside, so we could work and record. We recorded a lot of ideas on the microphone sitting outside. “

Surprisingly, the Rascals managed to record the lion’s share of Camp Nowhere with the gear they’d set up in this cabin in the woods. With a little help from their friends Boyco (whose equipment, according to Pech, was apparently “a lot better than what [Peach Tree Rascals] had”), they managed to facilitate live drums, live bass, and an almost fully-capable mobile studio.

From the opening moments of OOZ, to the meditative “breathe in, breathe out” vocals in JoJo, to the straight-out acoustic love ballad Oh Honey! (I Love You), a warm, open-minded character defines Camp Nowhere. And it’s clear this goes beyond the band’s creative choices – this is a faith that can only be achieved through lifelong friendship.

Abdel-Khaliq, and the rest of the band, like to refer to their music as “optimistically sad”. Pech picked up the thread, explaining that “no matter what you’re going through on a personal note, you walk out of a room and see your six best friends, it’s hard to stay in that state of mind.”

“And it’s a real group of friends”, continued Abdel-Khaliq, “everyone is free to be themselves and there’s no judgements. That kind of energy, being surrounded by that 24/7, you have no choice but to drift into a better place.” 

The last point I wanted to address was Peach Tree Rascals’ fundamental decision to actually make an EP. To date they’ve only released singles – supposedly the approved method for crushing streaming services such as Spotify – and it’s been working damn well for them.

Why fix something that isn’t broken? It was all part of the plan, explained Pech.

“The plan from day one was always singles until we had a following that was large enough that they’d actually have the attention span to go through a whole project. We feel that time is now.” 

“And that’s just for the EP. The album is still nowhere near releasing.” 

And that’s another part of the Peach Tree Rascals charm – bubbling just beneath this group of fantastic songwriters are a group of creatives who simply know what they’re doing. Their cohesiveness as a musical unit stretches into their trust in each other as business partners, and their knowledge that the decisions they make as a team are the right ones.

Camp Nowhere is a simply beautiful EP that’s beaming with California sunshine and even brighter, the sparks of effortless collaboration. It’s a diamond of easy listening, best consumed from the depths of a hammock, with sand in between your toes, or in whatever state of bliss you find yourself next.


Camp Nowhere is out now via 10K Projects / Caroline Australia.