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Orville Peck on Playing Palomino Festival, Covering Elton John, and How Country Music Is “Starting to Diversify”

"We've always been there, but now we're starting to approach a mainstream level where people know about it"

orville peck interview
Orville Peck, photo by Shervin Lainez
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    Orville Peck has had a busy 2022. Beyond his extensive touring schedule, the masked indie-country trailblazer dropped his anticipated second album Bronco in April. This year has also seen the fashionable cowboy front Wrangler and Fender’s collaborative clothing line and, most recently, unleash a cover of Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” for Amazon’s Pride Month celebration. Throw in a prominent needle drop in the season two premiere of Euphoria, and it’s clear that just about everyone is noticing the talents of Orville Peck.

    With ever-increasing attention, there’s a lot more in store for the rest of Peck’s year. Since he burst onto the scene with palpable mystery and festival-ready tracks like “Dead of the Night,” Peck has only grown his paradoxically anonymous profile.

    “I learned as I got older that an authentic, sincere approach to everything you do is your best tool to not only create the best art, but to let people into what you’re doing,” he tells Consequence.

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    That radically honest self-identity is evident in Peck’s music, and such authenticity has made Peck a genuine crossover sensation. Much has been said about the diversity of an Orville Peck crowd, which, like Dolly Parton’s audience before him, is an equal mix of the indie, country, and LGBTQ+ communities. Hell, he’s on Sub Pop Records, a label more known for fostering the grunge and punk explosion of the ‘90s than for breaking new country stars. But that’s the power of Peck’s music: he beckons those who might otherwise treat country music the way a vampire treats garlic to embrace the aesthetic.

    According to Peck, it’s simply a game of perception. He’s not really shocked that people who “listen to everything but country” appreciate his music because, well, they probably already love country — they just don’t know it.

    “I think we should change the phrase ‘people who don’t like country,'” Peck says. “I think what people don’t like is not country, really. That’s radio pop-country. Similar to any genre, anything that’s the most basic Top 40 version of the genre is probably not going to be the most compelling, authentic version.”

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    Orville Peck may not have cracked the Top 40 yet, but it seems like his compelling, authentic take on country could take over the charts at any second. (He’s long captured the hearts and minds of the Consequence staff, earning a spot on our 2022 midyear songs list.) His music and greater persona demand attention, and though he didn’t want to give us any hints as to what will follow Bronco, whatever comes next is sure to be a genuine expression of the man behind the mask.

    A festival favorite, he’ll also be gracing several of them this summer with his swaggering country live show. Notably, he’ll be performing alongside Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, Jason Isbell, and more at the first annual Palomino Festival in Pasadena, California on July 9th. Grab tickets to the one-day fest here.

    Below, Peck dives into the weeds of country music, Pride Month, festival sets, and more. (He’s also currently on his “Bronco Tour”; you can pick up tickets for the remaining dates here.)


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