Horoscopes and Androgyny: In Conversation with Spencer Peppet of The Ophelias and Veronique Allaer of Leggy
Interview by Spencer Peppet and Veronique Allaer
Introduction by Spencer Peppet
The Ophelias started my senior year in high school. We were all sick of being treated like disposable side people in male-fronted bands, and created The Ophelias. We recorded our first album “Creature Native” in the summer of 2015 in our friend’s living room. Yoni Wolf chose that album for the Joyful Noise White Label Series, which then led us to sign with JNR and release our second album “Almost” in July of 2018.
This past South by Southwest, we headed down with fellow Cincinnati band, Leggy. The lead singer Veronique and I had been in similar music circles in the Cincinnati scene for years but had only crossed paths a couple times. They’re a little older than us so we weren’t in the same bands, but the scene in Cincinnati is small enough that everything is pretty intertwined. Veronique’s girlfriend Bailey also used to run a really cool house venue. We really hung out for the first time on the way to South by Southwest and totally hit it off.
Below Spencer and Veronique talk horoscopes, bending gender norms, and original music inspo.
Spencer Peppet: Hi, Vero!
Veronique Allaer: Hey girl.
Spencer: How are you?
Veronique: I’m good! Ok, I’m going to start this off. First one obviously is what is your moon sign?
Spencer: I actually have an Aquarius moon.
Veronique: That’s tight.
Spencer: It’s.. I’m a Virgo-Virgo-Aquarius, which is just…
Veronique: I love Aquarius. Kirsten’s an Aquarius and my girlfriend is an Aquarius.
Spencer: No yeah, you feel a lot of things and then you just suck them all back down. You know. It’s a time. Chillin.
Veronique: Should I do all of mine or should we take turns?
Spencer: Here, I have a good one to follow. If you had to order the astrological signs from best to worst, what would the order be?
Veronique: Oh my god. Okay. Definitely Sag first, obviously. And then maybe Leo? I like Aquarius and Libra and Aries and Gemini, those are my favorite ones. And then Cancer. Probably, Virgo. What else is there? Scorpio will be down there for me.
Veronique: Taurus… I forgot about Taurus. I love a Taurus, but…
Spencer: They’re forgettable.
Veronique: I guess. Sometimes! Sorry. I guess then Capricorn after that. And then..
Veronique: I don’t want to put Pisces at the bottom, I don’t think Pisces is the worst.
Spencer: Right. Is Scorpio? I forgot to write it down.
Veronique: Yeah, let’s do Pisces and then Scorpio.
Spencer: Ok, so final Veronique order is: Sag, Leo, Aquarius, Libra, Aries, Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Taurus, Capricorn, Pisces, Scorpio.
Veronique: Final answer.
Spencer: Final answer!
Veronique: If I had to have a real final answer I would think about it more.
Spencer: This is a good answer.
Veronique: Ok my turn. What’s the last thing you did in secret?
Spencer: Ooh. Last thing I did in secret. I mean, the most recent, mundane thing I did in secret was go put on bike shorts under my too short dress. I got in the minivan, wiggled them on, got out and the sound person was outside smoking. Like, ah, hey, just trying to... get this done. It’s not very interesting.
Veronique: I don’t know what a crazier answer would be.
Spencer: I feel like you don’t get a lot of secrets or secret time on tour. Bike shorts. Okay, I’m going to go back to the astrology thing. How did you get into astrology, and what do you think of the men who make fun of it and discount it?
Veronique: (laughs) My mom was really into astrology, personality test, numerology, so I always had those books around.
Spencer: Cute! What’s your mom’s sign?
Veronique: She’s an Aries. She definitely instilled a love of that knowledge in me. And I think people who are discounting it are maybe just too cocky. I don’t think we have everything figured out. It’s not any crazier than people who believe in religion.
Spencer: Plus it’s fun.
Veronique: It’s fun! So... I don’t think it’s cool to make fun of anyone’s beliefs unless they’re ignorant and harmful.
Spencer: Even flat earth? (laughs)
Veronique: That’s what I was thinking of! I think that’s harmful, right? It’s a belief against science. Like climate change.
Spencer: Yeah, climate change deniers are just harmful. Flat earthers are hilarious and harmful.
Veronique: Ok, my turn. What was the last thing you lost?
Spencer: I lose my phone all the time. I also took off my ring for this tour. I’ve been wearing the same ring for six years. Jo actually just got me a new one for our anniversary. But I took this ring off and left it at home, and I keep thinking that I lost it because I haven’t not worn a ring in six years. I keep trying to touch it and it’s not there.
Veronique: You don’t even realize how much you do it until they’re off and you’re fiddling with your fingers all the time.
Spencer: My hands keep making little claws and I keep rubbing my ring finger knuckle. Like, oh shit, I lost it! But it’s my imagination.
Spencer: Okay, so, we went to the same all-girls Catholic high school in Cincinnati, which… How unlikely is that? What’s the funniest story you have from high school?
Veronique: Uh, Kirsten and I have some funny stories. We were elected class presidents when we were juniors, but the year before that we ran a write-in campaign the day of the election. We were sophomores and the day of the class elections we told everyone to write in our names and put up these posters, we did this whole thing, and we won by write-in! But they wouldn’t let us do it because we didn’t follow the rules. We did it for real the next year and won. I think that’s the funniest thing I did in school.
Veronique: Who was your first music idol?
Spencer: Ooh. Young-young idol… Ashley Tisdale.
Spencer: Yes. (laughs)
Veronique: That is so fucking random and funny.
Spencer: She is not great, musically, but I definitely had a crush on her and I was like… wow. She’s amazing. Everything she does is awesome. My mom wouldn’t let me listen to the whole album because it talked about kissing. Actually, also, even younger than that, my idol was Jewel.
Veronique: Yeah, yes. I know Jewel.
Spencer: Yeah. We had a Jewel CD, and I would put on “Serve the Ego” and dance in the living room. It was Jewel and then Ashley Tisdale. I jumped around a little bit.
Veronique: Good answers. I’m taking notes.
Spencer: What’s the show you look back on most fondly, and which shows are you most excited for in the future?
Veronique: All the shows we did in Spain and Portugal were just… I was super over the moon to be there every night. We played a Mad Girls Magazine party in Madrid and that was amazing, with the band Hickies, so tight. They’re from Madrid. The shows I’m looking forward to are the Spook School tour. I’m stoked!
Spencer: Yeah! That’ll be awesome.
Veronique: I can’t fucking wait. I feel like it’ll be sad though. Like they’ll be crying at every show cause they have such a big following.
Spencer: It’s their farewell tour, yeah?
Veronique: Their last one.
Veronique: I’m so happy we get to do it.
Spencer: I used to listen to them in high school.
Veronique: They’re fucking cool. And such sweethearts.
Spencer: I’d sit in the computer room, you know the room in the UA library with all the computers?
Spencer: I’d sit in there after school and do homework and listen to the Spook School.
Veronique: I have to tell them that. I used to do that with Isley, since we didn’t have the internet at my house yet. This was like 2004.
Veronique: Ok. If you could change your birth name, would you change it and if so what would it be?
Spencer: I honestly don’t think I’d change it. Spencer seems fitting.
Veronique: It’s a good name.
Spencer: I used to get a lot of “Mr. Spencer Peppet” in high school, random college letters, stuff like that. I got put on the boys’ floor at camp once. I showed up to this opera camp and they were like “Oh no.”
Veronique: Opera camp?
Spencer: I was a fucking nerd in high school.
Veronique: That’s cool.
Spencer: I don’t know, I like Spencer. I like that it’s slightly androgynous.
Veronique: Totally, we love an androgynous name.
Spencer: In this house, we love an androgynous name. What’s something about you or Leggy that people don’t know but you wish they did?
Veronique: Hm. This is a hard question, Spencer.
Spencer: I ask the hard hitting questions.
Veronique: What I wish they did know… Probably just how fucking good we are.
Spencer: (laughs) Fair.
Veronique: Ok, my question. Do you have good handwriting?
Veronique: I guessed it. I knew you would! Such a Virgo.
Spencer: I have very small, very neat handwriting.
Veronique: Have you ever analyzed your handwriting?
Spencer: I haven’t. I’m a little nervous to, because I know it would tell me I have a stick up my ass and I’d be like. Yeah, okay! You’re right!
Veronique: Handwriting analysis is crazy.
Spencer: People used to ask me to write stuff for them.
Veronique: It’s pretty. Delicate and neat.
Spencer: It’s also the Ophelias’ pseudo logo, just me writing “The Ophelias.”
Veronique: Aww. That’s cute. I was going to be shocked if you didn’t have precise handwriting.
Spencer: Virgo handwriting for sure. Who are your style icons? You have ridiculous, amazing style. Where’d it come from?
Veronique: Thank you! I’ve always loved, like, pop stars. Lana, very big Lana influence in my life.
Spencer: Which era?
Veronique: Like, early. 2011, 2012. Before Born to Die. When that shit came out, it was like...aaaaah!
Spencer: You’re an original Lana girl!
Spencer: Do you like the new stuff?
Veronique: Yeah, I haven’t really listened to it. I’ve listened to the new songs but not on repeat.
Spencer: There’s one called “Love” that came out a couple years ago that’s so good. What’s your favorite Lana look?
Veronique: She has so many cute looks. I think the golden age was “National Anthem” era.
Spencer: True. Who else?
Veronique: Ke$ha, I love. I like Florence from Florence and the Machine.
Spencer: Oh yeah. Forest witch.
Spencer: Did you like the Met Gala looks this year?
Veronique: Yeah! I liked Kacey Musgraves a lot.
Spencer: Oh my GOD yes.
Veronique: The Barbie? Barbie’s definitely another style icon. She’s just over the top and attention grabbing. There are always pieces. That’s the look. The piece. Ok, my question. What did you daydream the most about when you were a kid?
Spencer: What age?
Veronique: Like, ten to twelve.
Spencer: I think by the time I was in sixth grade, I was like, “I’m going to be a singer, an actor, and a fashion designer.” So I would bring my journal everywhere and I would draw fancy dresses for all my friends whenever we would watch Bill Nye in science class.
Veronique: I totally did that too.
Spencer: I’d bring my journal out during recess and write song lyrics. I was like, I’m gonna be a songwriter. I actually have the journal still, the lyrics are…
Spencer: Unique. (laughs)
Veronique: Dude, I found the first song I wrote and it literally says “chorus,” spelled wrong. The chorus is like “Ten thousand doves surrounding me.” (laughs)
Spencer: Oh my GOD. One of mine was set to the melody of “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews. (laughs) I was like, I know. I know what I’ll do.
Veronique: That’s brilliant, to be a little kid and do that.
Spencer: Ten thousand doves surrounding me. You should reuse that.
Veronique: It’s a little too emo for me.
Spencer: I mean, you can work some emo in there.
Veronique: But it seems very influenced by the 90’s at the time, it would have been ‘96 at the time.
Spencer: That’s when I was born.
Veronique: The Cranberries and the Cardigans, Natalie Merchant shit, it’s all that.
Spencer: My dad loved Natalie Merchant.
Veronique: My dad did too. Got me into all of that.
Spencer: What do you see in the future for Leggy? Are you working on new stuff?
Veronique: Yes. Yes. We’re working on new stuff, it’s really cool. It’s a little more experimental leaning, simpler, poppier, not so loud all the time.
Spencer: If you had to give it an early, early genre tag—
Veronique: —Experimental pop.
Spencer: Hell yeah.
Veronique: This is all in my brain, though. Once it’s out, it becomes something completely different.
Spencer: What are you listening to, influence wise?
Veronique: I’ve been listening to Lizzo a lot.
Spencer: Oh my gooood, so good.
Veronique: Amazing. Bbymutha, just started listening to her.
Spencer: We saw them at SX! Micaela got a photo with her.
Veronique: What! In Austin?
Spencer: Yeah! She was playing at the same venue we were. Micaela loves her.
Veronique: That’s so sick. Also Tommy Genesis.
Spencer: Yess. She’s also just unbelievably beautiful.
Veronique: Stunning. Ok, think we got enough content?
Spencer: We love content.
Veronique: We love content.
Spencer: Anything you wanna add?
Veronique: No. You?
Spencer: I guess, support your local scene. There are cool bands coming from every city.
Veronique: Take each other out on tour! Make the thing.