Orville Peck’s Mask Keeps Shrinking. He Doesn’t ‘Know Where It’ll End Up’

Orville Peck‘s mask has been such a signature part of his artistic image as a queer country star — but over the years it’s been “evolving” and shrinking. During an interview with drag star Gottmik for the cover of Paper, Peck shared that he’s not sure what will end up happening with the mask and joked that maybe it’ll become “just a little eye patch.”

“I really like evolution with artists, and I think the mask has always meant a lot to me artistically,” he said. “But I start to become bored of it. It loses its quality for me. But I also think it can hold you back a little bit sometimes if you’re sticking with one thing.”

Peck reflected on how for each of his albums, the mask has changed. His first LP Pony featured him wearing a black mask with just holes over his eyes and fringe that hung to his chest. For LP 2, Bronco, the fringe got shorter. And now, for his duets LP Stampede, Vol. 1, he’s wearing a mask that simply covers his forehead and around his eyes.

“I’m revealing a little more and more each time. Not to get too deep about it, but it’s sort of a parallel with my songwriting and with just who I want to be as an artist and a person, which is to always be more vulnerable and reveal a bit more of myself through my music,” he explained. “So it’s kind of just the evolution. I don’t know where it’ll end up and I don’t know how it’ll look in the end. I don’t make any plans about it. But I think that’s important.”

Peck explained that some of his fans have been “jarred” by the fact that he got rid of the once-signature fringe, but he thinks it’s “good for them to evolve and change” too.

“I know something can be really comforting, and people can really fall in love with something the way it is, but nothing lasts forever, all good things end, and everything has to grow and evolve,” he said. “I think this pushes people’s perspectives of what I do — that it doesn’t just remain the same forever. Nothing can.”

“If you try to make something remain the same forever, that’s when you start making bad art,” he added. “If I started putting all my focus into whether I’m wearing the fringe or not, then it’s like… I’m kind of not doing my job as an artist, you know?”


The new interview (and nude photoshoot) with Paper comes after the country star released a seven-track duet album Stampede: Vol. 1, featuring collaborations with Elton John, Midland, Willie Nelson, and Noah Cyrus. He also recently duetted with Kylie Minogue on “Midnight Ride,” which will be featured on the second volume of Stampede.

“With all the rhetoric surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community these days, it is so encouraging to have real allies like Willie that aren’t afraid to stand proudly next to us,” Peck told Rolling Stone after dropping “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond Of Each Other”.

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