Interview: Kate Nash

Kate Nash is back touring with her self-released third album ‘Girl Talk’. With a punk vibe not far off the girl power scene of the 80’s, it’s a far cry from ‘Foundations’ but set to inspire teenage girls across the country just the same. Charlie Mock and Jess Rodgerson caught up with Kate ahead of her show at The Globe.

First of all, welcome to Cardiff! How are you finding the tour so far?
Thanks! Yeah, really good! We’ve had some crazy shows in Norwich and Birmingham and London. It’s been so so cool! The crowds have been amazing, just really going for it. It’s just been really fun.

You’ve said before that this is your best album so far; what can we expect from this tour that’s going to be new?
Well we’re playing a mixture of the old records and the new but I just think that we’ve been on tour for the past two years with this band now, we’ve got an all girl band, and we’re really tight. I’m older, I’m 26 and I feel like I’m a better performer.

We’ve heard a lot about stage invasions?
Yeah! We’ve had loads of girls invade the stage and just go crazy – it’s so fun! There’s been a lot of crowd surfing. My main goal is for everyone to have the most fun possible at the show and I think I’ve honed my skills as a performer and unleashed something in a lot of young people to not have any inhibitions and just enjoy themselves. I’ve always had crowds that are really receptive – it feels like we’ve started a movement or something! That sounds a bit cheesy but I haven’t had support from the industry. I had someone who works with me tell me to cancel this tour and quit two days before it started so I was really nervous about it, but then my fans are just so driven – they’ve believed in me and the record. We’ve got this gang of people across the country and they’re so supportive.

So, talking about some of the songs on the album. Would you say there’s any irony in the title ‘Conventional Girl’?
I had someone in my life that just kept telling me that I was really conventional and that I didn’t understand them because I was really conventional, and I sort of believed it for a while. I had quite low self-esteem but then I was like, “Fuck it, fine, I’m so conventional”. It was sort of like saying that that’s okay, not caring about trying to be weird or cool – I can just be myself and I’m happy to be that person.

And ‘Rap for Rejection’- probably one of the most serious songs on the album but done in a really light-hearted manner.
Yeah, I just thought it would be funny! I didn’t want to do a serious “this is a song about sexism” – I just thought it would be really funny if I rapped it. I think it’s easier to approach subjects that are serious in a light-hearted manner. It’s more empowering that way as well and it just makes people want to get up, dance to it and have it as a cool anthem instead of being some sad, moany song.

You’ve also had quite a lot of side projects, including producing albums for Supercute! and writing for Willow Smith. Would you say these have influenced your own music in any way?
Definitely. I think that working in the studio with Supercute! and producing their record was a time of growth for me as a musician and studio head because I’d never had that responsibility before. When I’m in the studio it’s all about me and my music, so there’s not too much pressure. Then suddenly, when it’s someone else’s work you really want the best for it and you just learn so much – it makes you think of every sound so differently. I learnt a bit more about gear, which was really good for me. And also the songwriting. I did an after school club for girls, which was really inspiring – that gave me more of an initiative in a way. I wanted to stand up for this generation of girls who feel really badly about themselves!

On the subject of side projects, you put on a stage performance of the musical episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Halloween last year and your songs are being used in the new musical ‘Only Gold’ – is stage an avenue that you’d like to explore further?
Yeah! I studied theatre at college and I loved it. I’ve done a few films now. I think there’s just something really special about live performance. That’s why I love playing shows: it’s raw and anything can happen. That moment will never be recreated again. I especially love musical theatre because it tells a story really well emotionally; it lays everything out on a plate. As a songwriter it’s really fun to be able to play with certain things in music that you might not get to do with your own music.

Finally, what’s next? More side projects or are you concentrating on your own thing?
A bit of both. I’m going to finish this tour and then I’m going to America. Then I’ve got Christmas off – I’m doing a Christmas EP. I’ve written a song called Faith that’s really heart-warming and really Christmassy and another called I Hate You Mr. Christmas. That’s about getting cheated on at Christmas, it’s sort of like a Blink-182 punk pop song. Next year, I’m hoping to get to Australia and working on a musical as well. Just taking things as they come really!

Words: Charlie Mock 

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