Wonderland.

KATE NASH

On making music for you to dance around in your underwear to.

Like cups of tea and getting pissed everyday of a Bank Holiday weekend, Kate Nash is ingrained in British culture. Seriously. When her debut album dropped back in 2007, it spoke to a generation and fully established her as one of those artists that people will forever love and associate with summer days in England (alongside cementing her as one of those artists whose accent you have to mimic when singing along to her songs).

Flash forward 11 years and she’s still just as adored now as she was then. Not only is she currently starring in Netflix’s critically acclaimed series GLOW but she dropped her fourth album Yesterday Was Forever last week, and it’s full of witty pop gems that every girl will be able to relate to.

Catching up with her over a cup of tea at London’s Tate Modern (yeah, we’re fancy), we got the scoop on her incredible new record, why she’s keeping independent and how she wants to make music that you wanna dance around your bedroom in your underwear to.

Obviously your EP came out last year. What have you been up to since then?

So, my EP came out and I went on tour. I did quite a lot of touring last year. Then I had the Made of Bricks 10 year anniversary. It was such a fun, celebratory and joyous time. It’s amazing because I still get really young teenagers and I just love that because I think it’s really unique. I’ve seen the people who have grown up with it but there are always teenagers on the front row. There will literally be 16 years olds or there will be an older sister with her younger sister. Yeah, it’s really cool! And then I basically went back straight from that to shooting season two of GLOW which is in LA and I’ve just been shooting that until two weeks ago.

How’s it been balancing GLOW and music?

It’s challenging! But good. It’s nice to have something that I’m always doing actually that’s like really stable as usually my job is so turbulent and changing so much, but it’s nice to have that. I just love GLOW so much, wrestling and being around those women – I just think I’m so lucky to have this job. So, we just balance it as I did a lot of touring at the start of the year last year and then this year it’s about getting the record out. It’s just kind of cool to figure it out as we go along I guess. It’s a bit different but it’s a good problem to have.

Was here ever a moment when you thought about just doing GLOW?

I always want to do music and always want to write songs. Sometimes after touring, I get like “oh, I need a break from it” but then I quickly get an itch for it. It’s funny because for most weekends I was in the studio when I wasn’t on GLOW. When I finished GLOW I was like “fuck!” I felt like this April tour was coming up too soon and I wasn’t sure I was ready for it but as soon as I landed in the UK I was excited to go on tour again. It’s like an itch that you get and you just need to scratch it.

So you’ve just put out your fourth record! How does it feel? Is it scary?

No, it’s not scary. It feels probably the most normal than it’s felt before. It’s been a while since I’ve released a record, so it’s going to be a collection of songs sprawled out over a period of time. I’m really looking forward to releasing them into the world because I’ve had a while. It feels really good to have had this experience and I have gone through a lot over the past four years and I really have been appreciative of what I do now and I’m glad to be an independent artist. I was like “am I going to sign to a record label? How the fuck is that going to be after this many years?” and I didn’t want to and figuring it out on my own and with a few different managers over the past few years, although now I feel quite stable actually and I really love what I do and I can kinda get to see it from a distance in a way. Before I felt like I was in the chaos all the time so I didn’t see it, but I love touring, I love making music, and I’m just so lucky to have this job.

“I always hope that people have fun and want to dance in their bedroom in their underwear or miming into a hairbrush, or in a car with their mates on the way to school.”

Would you ever go back to a record label?

Not at the moment. I wouldn’t go back unless it seemed like there was only something innovative going on there. To me it was just like everyone was kind of scared. The music industry is nervy. Record labels by nature are not being innovative if they’re an older model. They are trying to figure out how to make this old thing in a new way. I hear stories about smaller labels not making enough money, not getting enough tour support and bigger labels having too much of an opinion, too much interference and holding you back when releasing stuff. It just doesn’t feel safe so I didn’t find it attractive, it just made me feel paranoid and weird. I’m not saying I’d never going back, it would just have to be with the right people and I think some interesting things are going to be born out of the next few years.

I went into talk to Spotify and I was thinking “these people are trying to help musicians and they are actually talking to us.” It’s genuine and I didn’t feel that from record labels. It’s sad, loads of bands and artists will give up because they can’t afford to keep going like that as there isn’t anyone in the industry backing them. But there are a lot of new things now which is exciting. I don’t want to be in a place where I have to change to please someone else. At this point I wouldn’t want to go back. I think it would be weird and for my fans they’d be like “what the fuck?” That’s not my appeal, so I’m going to stay on as an independent artist. It’s a hard fight but I think it’s worth it.

So let’s talk about the new record. I’ve seen you previously describe it as like your “teenage diary”…

Yeah. I just came up with that name Yesterday Was Forever as it sounds teenage diaryish, which could almost mean absolutely nothing and some dreamy escape that means something really deep. It does almost feel like the last four – five years have been a trap. Like am I going to be able to carry on, am I going to not be able to do much anymore? It felt like forever and so fucking long so in a way all of these songs show what happened throughout that period of time and turning 30 almost feels like turning into a teenager again because you go back to that mentality. When you’re a teenager you’re like “this is who I am, I will fight anyone who says different.” Then in your early 20s you almost rebel against yourself and try to figure out things but as you get to 27 – 29 you sort of go back to your teenage years saying “who am I?” I’ve really left the nest and now I’m trying to get back to my moral compass and roots which becomes really grounding and important. When you turn 30 you feel relieved, and I personally feel the most relaxed as the pressure of being an adult is gone. It’s been a really interesting journey throughout the last four years and it feels quite hormonal almost, like teenage years in a way.

Obviously your first album was so massive, do you find the yourself being compared to that record often?

I think it definitely was frustrating for me, although in a way it’s worked for me. Nobody recognises me because they only know me as an 18 year old girl in a way. Even when people are watching GLOW, they are like “I thought I knew you from somewhere, you look so different” but well that’s because my main press pressure was then and I was like 17. In a way it frustrated me when I was trying to project a new image or whatever, but at the same time maybe it’s a really good thing that I’m not massively recognisable now.

There have been times where I’ve hated that, but now I’m pretty happy with it so I don’t mind. I loved that album and doing the tour has connected me back to that album and playing songs I haven’t done for so long. I received so much love from the audience which was really nice and I think I’ve been so lucky to have a career which has enabled me to have done loads of different things. The album definitely gave me the platform to do that. But yes, at times it has been frustrating as you always try and prove something else and it comes back to that, but now less so and I think because I’ve got GLOW which is completely different. There’s people that know me from GLOW who don’t know me as a musician as well, so there’s a lot of duality which is quite freeing.

I was going to ask about that stupid article from last year that came out about artists who were famous in the mid-00s who they deemed no longer “exist”…

Yeah, I just thought it was really stupid and offensive. I felt if I had read that when I was at my most vulnerable and at my lowest, then that could have really fucked me up. It’s such a weird article as it’s basically saying you’re not as successful and rich as other people. That’s not what music idols are supposed to be! There’s pop which is fine but not all music is about being rich and famous. It’s such a fucked up concept of making fun of people who aren’t as rich and famous as millionaire pop-stars. Like what is wrong with this fucking industry? I just didn’t find it funny to make fun of people who are like failing and not taking the normal traditional pop-star route. I don’t like things that are super pro-fame, like what does it mean? People have jobs and money from that but it’s not as simple as that. It’s so weird, like I’ve done all these partitions where you write for other pop-stars and there is no identity. Everyone is vulnerable in a way as everyone has their own platform which we need to be careful with. I think it’s dangerous to value fame because it’s not valuable. It’s become part of everybody’s life now and you just need to be careful with how you manage it. It can be subtle yet damaging.

And so from this new album – what are you hoping people will take away from it?

I always hope that people have fun and want to dance in their bedroom in their underwear or miming into a hairbrush, or in a car with their mates on the way to school. I hope people can get some kind of comfort from it because I try to be really honest with my lyrics and help them through bad situations. And to be comfortable with who you are as the more I accept myself the happier I feel. We should try to make people feel like that more as we have to just accept who we are and there are many ways to change and experiment with looks which is great but at your core you are never going to change and that’s fucking great, so I hope people can get some inspiration from it.

What else have you got lined up for this year?

I’m going on tour in April, and I’ve been working on a musical for like eight years which I work on every now and then. So I’m going to see what happens with that and I don’t know, not sure really. I’m quite into the fact that I don’t fully know what this year holds but I want to do some music videos and release some songs that didn’t make the record that I can stick out as surprise singles. I’m really excited for GLOW season two to come out, that season is insane! Got some sick wrestling moves that I’m excited about showing off and then hopefully we’ll be getting season three and I’ll be shooting that maybe at the end of the year!

Words
Elly Watson
KATE NASH

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