By Bianca Valentino
I love UK musician Kate Nash. I love that she creates unique, interesting music that expresses what’s on her mind and in her heart. I love that Kate has an opinion, an opinion on most things and isn’t afraid to speak it. I love that she helps others: empowering young women with her Rock N Roll For Girls After School Club and offering advice all sorts of topics via her recent podcast project. I love that she makes zines. I love that she gives a shit about her fans and cares about connecting with them even after all the success she has experienced. I love that she cares very much for values: honesty and kindness. If you already love her like me, then you’ll understand what I mean, and if you’re new to Kate, by the end of this interview you might just love her too.
What does music mean to you?
KATE NASH: I think when I was younger, when I was a kid, we had quite a lot of music played to us (me and my sisters). Our mum and dad were into really cool music. I remember we used to drive up to see my granny which is a six-hour drive to Newcastle where she lives and we’d listen to music. I just really enjoyed it. When I started to define my own musical tastes, when I was about 16, it became more formative and more of an escapism — a searching for something that was relatable to my life and the way that I felt.
This last year it’s just become … the music that I listen to, I feel like it’s really something that saves me. It’s escapism. It’s comfort. Music that I make is an expression of how I feel at that particular time; it’s like I just need to get something out of my system. I really enjoy playing instruments and singing melody and writing about how I feel whether that’s happy, sad, stressed or whatever. The mood I’m in at the time really reflects in the music that I make.
I love how music can say things that we can’t necessarily always put into words.
KN: Yeah definitely. I think if you’re going through a bad period and you listen to something that’s really positive and fun it’s like escapism. If you listen to something that relates to how you feel, it’s like therapy. I think music is therapy.
When you first played guitar how did that feel for you?
KN: I first played guitar when I was about 17. I just thought it was really cool. I played the piano before that and I started to get a little bored. I love the piano but at the time I thought I needed something else because I only played one instrument. I used to go for these guitar lessons with a guy who was a real hippie. He had weird stuff hanging from the trees in his garden and all this paint splattered all over his house – it was a freaky house compared to everyone else’s! I used to walk around there with my guitar in my guitar case and people used to make fun of me, it’s so weird that people would make fun of me for carrying around a guitar in a guitar case. The guitar is a pretty crazy instrument in that you can do so much with it. It’s very unique I think.
Is there an instrument that you like playing most at the moment?
KN: Yeah my favourite instrument to play is the bass.
Why is that?
KN: I just clicked with it more than any other instrument. It feels really natural to me. I studied piano until Grade 6 and I got guitar lessons but, I picked up a bass because me and my friends started a band a few years ago called The Receeders. One of the guys sat behind the drum kit, the other guy said he was going to play guitar so I was like, OK I guess I’m on bass. I didn’t know how to play really. I had no lessons or help. I still don’t even really know the strings, the notes, even though it’s similar to a guitar. It’s so natural to me to find notes. I’ve written most of the songs off my new record on bass. There’s so much you can do with melody. It just feels strong when you play it, when you have a bass you just kind of feel powerful holding it. I just love it.
How far are you along in writing your new album?
KN: I’ve written eight or nine tracks so far. I’m recording in March. The album is going to come out this year.
I’ve read that you’re working on it with Mark Ronson and William Orbit?
KN: Yeah that was on Wikipedia, and that’s not true. I’m working with Tom Biller in L.A.
Where do you write most of your songs? Do you have a particular place where you do your writing?
KN: Yeah I have a rehearsal space near my house. It’s like a 10 minute bike ride from my place. It’s really fun in there. It’s under a railway. It’s a small space but it’s kind of like Wayne’s World. They have a leopard print bar, MTV classic, a fish tank and a big dog. The guy that owns it is pretty crazy, I think he’s taken a bit too much acid. He is so nice and really funny. I feel really at home there.
Did you hear that the guy who wrote Wayne’s World with Mike Myers, Joe Bodolai, died recently?
KN: Oh no I didn’t know that.
It was an apparent suicide. He wrote a blog post (If This Were Your Last Day Alive What Would You Do?) before he killed himself where he listed things he think is going to happen this year, things his seen in his lifetime, his regrets, the things he was proud to achieve. It was so weird reading it all knowing that while writing it he was planning to kill himself.
KN: Whoa! That’s insane. That’s so weird. It’s like social networking to the extreme. Fuck. That’s really where we are headed I think.
I know what you mean. Right now I’ve been observing a young relative of mine and the way her and her girlfriends chat to each other online via social networking sites and it’s been upsetting. They call each other bitch, slut and whore like it’s a completely normal acceptable, OK thing.
KN: My manager has a 12-year-old and he’s been saying it’s really extreme and crazy. He says that they talk about things like wanting to rape each other and things like that!
I totally know what he’s talking about. It just blows me away!
KN: It’s so bizarre.
It’s like when did that become the norm for people to communicate like that?
KN: I know.