What's On

Event date: 01/08/2019 19:30 Export event
KATE NASH
Categories: Live Music

KATE NASH

01/08/2019 19:30
£18.00    Buy Tickets

Plus Special Guests

It takes Kate Nash three seconds to say that the inspiration behind her new album is… Meredith Brooks. The '90s one-hit-wonder behind 'Bitch' is the first person that springs to mind. It's proof that Kate Nash, now 30, is never going to let self-consciousness get the better of her. She's the most honest, self-effacing and unpretentious popstar Britain has produced in a generation, and the great news is that she's one million per cent, unabashedly back, and with music released via her Kickstarter at that.

Speaking from a house in Clapton, she's recently put the finishing touches on 'Yesterday Was Forever' – her fourth album and the first since her self-released 2013 LP 'Girl Talk', which she put out in a blaze of glory after being dumped by her record label via text. It's also the follow-up to last year's 'Agenda' EP, but it has a manifesto all of its own. She said the title out loud and thought it sounded like the name of an album. It wasn't until she'd lived with it that it became prophetic. “I started to feel trapped for a while?” she says. “Like, Fucking hell! Am I going to be able to do this? Or do I not do music anymore? It took forever to figure out how to continue as an independent artist. Maybe with the title I accidentally cast a spell and made that happen.”

If the past felt like it had dragged on for Nash, that might be because her history involves a helluva lot of highs and lows. Nash wasn't always independent. As the youngest, loudest, sharpest new British ingenue back in 2007, she was launched as a major label product. A BRIT school graduate, she started writing pop aged 14. Those songs went on to inform her #1 record and Brit-Award gleaning debut ‘Made Of Bricks’. She sold-out huge gigs. It was a whirlwind; not one that always felt comfortable. At 20, she rebelled, changing tack on album two. Channeling Kathleen Hanna and riot grrrl punk, she made the far less commercial album ‘My Best Friend Is You’ (2010), while also having her high-profile relationship be subjected to intense media scrutiny. It was a dark, toxic, and ultimately career shifting time. It did come to an end eventually, but the road to recovery for Nash was long, starting 4 years ago after a life-changing move.

Now, she's rediscovered her love for pop, launched a stellar acting career and found communities of intersectional activists and progressive new voices to get involved in. Before all that, however, it was “scary”. You could say life was as discombobulating and weird as being a teenager again. Nash was unsure of the big bad world and where her place in it all was. For her, 'Yesterday Was Forever' is a phrase straight out of a teenage diary. She's even been going back through her own of late. “It reads like: 'Wednesday: dad picked up a video from the video shop and it was excellent.' Then the next day: 'What's the point of being alive? It's shit.' It's so extreme. Pages of depression I'd forgotten about. I was intense!”

Nash agrees that hitting 30 and leaving your 20s behind can rekindle a second wave of adolescence, as you learn to navigate exciting new waters again. In many ways, teenagedom remains within your spirit forever. “Everybody has their teenage identity for the rest of their life,” she agrees. “It's the first time you become really conscious and go: This is who I am. Then that's your compass. As I've got older I go back to that. What I thought then was right. You figure it out and you're fearless: 'This is what I think and I'll fight anybody about it.' The heart and soul of who I am doesn't change. You can push those dreams.”

It's notable too that when Nash was coming up there wasn't the same culture surrounding teens as there is now. The past few years has seen the rise of the game-changing influential adolescent, largely as a result of the proliferation of online media. The likes of Tavi Gevinson, Amandla Sternberg, Chloe Grace Moretz, Troye Sivan, and, of course, Lorde, have become beacons for respecting teenage voices. “Back in 2007 it felt like an insult to have my music described as sounding like it was a teenage diary entry. I always felt patronised by that which was fucked-up cos it made me self-conscious. All these teenage girls on the internet are claiming their own revolution.”

It's a personal history she was able to re-write last year when she and her badass all-female band took 'Made Of Bricks' out on the road in the UK as part of a 10thanniversary tour. “I got back in touch with those songs and myself,” she says, still on a high. “It was so joyous; an emotional summer in a positive way.” The word joyous isn't one Nash usually goes to, but the tour was nicknamed “Christmas Tour” by her band because it felt that magical. “I was owning who I am and my space and people were screaming every word of the whole album.”

The reaction from fans blew her away most. Being such an open-hearted songwriter, she's been prone to self-punishing over the years for her martyrdom to truth-saying. “Being so open leaves you vulnerable to harm. I wanted to try and be more defensive but I can't do it, then I get angry at myself. When I was onstage I could see people's chests open and their hearts beating and they were so vulnerable I almost didn't want them to go out into the world after.” The interconnection gave Nash the final push she needed to get the album completed. “All the damage I've experienced is worth it for that connection,” she says.

Onto that record, most of it was done in LA with producers [KATE SAID SHE WOULD SEND ME THE NAMES]. It contains smatterings of '90s pop-rock (hence Meredith Brooks, but also The Cranberries, Alanis Morissette and similarly forthright yet positive femme rock), alternative dance numbers, and spoken-word confessionals. Lead single 'Drink About You' is a rumination on a break-up, but it doesn't feel finite. “It's that thing of breaking up with someone and still pursuing it in a subconscious way. I struggle with letting go.” The chorus is a punch in the face, albeit fun and able to find the light even in the stress of the situation. Elsewhere 'Musical Theater' is a particularly prideful moment for Nash. It's a breakthrough in her writing and a summary of what she's been battling with the past few years. She describes it as a presentation of her own brain. “It's what's going on in my head. That is my anxiety, my mental health issue, my OCD. It's the fear I get in the middle of the night when I'm fighting my brain to not go completely fucking mental. You have to not give up on yourself.”

Released via her own Kickstarter on Girl Gang records, it's another new learning curve for her – a lot of work and nerve-wracking but Nash is taking it in her stride because the other option (ie, to get back into the industry) doesn't appeal. “You give up so much when you go to a label,” she says. “Also, I've been free for so long I'd find it hard. It would be like going back into an office.” Kickstarter has brought her closer to fans in new, previously unimaginable ways. She just played a couple's wedding at the weekend. “I was their wedding singer,” she laughs. “It was so cute.”

 

The current genre-bending, limitless spectrum for pop is very encouraging to Nash. She feels as connected to the writing world she's been part of (she co-wrote Rita Ora's single 'Poison' with now fully-fledged popstar Julia Michaels), as she is to underground DIY girl bands like London band Dream Wife, and indie heroes such as Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino and LA band Bleached. The supportive network has been a revelation for her, and not what she experienced coming up in the scene. It's been Netflix female wrestling series 'GLOW', however, that's really given her a strong network of female creatives to rely upon. It's entirely changed her, and came when she was at her lowest ebb in LA, wondering if she'd have to re-think her whole life plan. It's also given her newfound confidence in her body and its capabilities.

It's amazing to go into the ring and learn how to do this mad shit, especially as a girl when you're told how to be with your body: 'don't touch your vagina in public, close your legs, don't be loud…' You feel like a big lump when you walk in a room, that you're taking up too much space. My body has a purpose! It's not just about how I look, I can actually do stuff with it.” The cast were told to forget everything they've been told forever and to take up the space, to be big and loud, to jump off the ropes, slam into the mat, be fierce. “We cry together, we do everything together. We spend 16 hours a day with each other and still want to hang out on the weekends. On set, I can be this red-faced, screaming insane character doing this impressive shit. I care more about whether I look like a good wrestler on camera, that I do about whether I look good.”

It's been a journey for Kate Nash to feel this at peace with her body, her mind, and her music. With 'Yesterday Was Forever' she closes a chapter on the past and leaps ahead into the future. “I want people to have fun listening to this album, and to become comfortable with who they are. I know that so many people aren't. It's really painful to look at yourself in the mirror, square yourself in the eye and go, 'I like you and I'm OK with being me.' But it's so important and it's fucking liberating when you do.”


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