Interview & Photos by Ina Herlihy ’14
voice: Let’s talk about how you ventured into singing. You were contemplating becoming an actress before you broke your leg and were housebound. Your mom bought you an electric guitar. You started uploading music to your MySpace, and by spring 2007 you had a record deal. Did this seem to all happen really fast?
Kate Nash: Yeah, it really did. It was kind of a complete whirlwind. It was confusing and exiting and insane. I didn’t realize what was happening until the time I took away from it to look back and see what was happening. It was really insane. I couldn’t come to terms with it at the time.
voice: Were you contacting record labels, or were you scouted?
KN: [Agents] just kind of started coming to my gigs really. I did a bunch of gigs around London and they just started coming to my shows, and then wanted to have a meeting.
voice: Describe your creative process in writing songs.
KN: Sometimes if I am really angry I will write a song, or if I am really happy. Otherwise I am inspired by what goes on around me, by my friends, my life, and the beauty and mundane of ordinary life. I write a simple verse, or a sallow melody. I don’t really edit my work. I’m not really professional. I get it all out at one time.
voice: How long does it take you to write a song?
KN: Sometimes I will have the idea for it for a while. I can’t really force myself to do it. It just has to come out. I usually write it in one go, like in a few hours.
voice: Tell me a funny or memorable anecdote about writing songs or touring.
KN: One time I was on tour in Belgium, and there was a journalist waiting outside the dressing room who was about to come in to do an interview. I was playing the rift and then suddenly I knew the words. I knew I was going to write the song. So I locked the room with a bin that I pushed back against the door. I was like, “Please go away, I don’t mean to be rude, but I need to write this song.” It ended up being I Hate Seagulls.
voice: What do you like best about being on tour?
KN: I love playing shows. If a show goes really well and you connect with the crowd, then that can be the best part of it. It is also a fun privilege to travel and see so much of the world. It can be educational. Then meeting people after the gig is really nice.
voice: In “Don’t You Want to Share the Guilt?” you say how you like to be alone. Do you find it difficult to find this time while you are on tour?
KN: Yes. I think it is really hard when there is so much going on, and people demand things from you, and sometimes I get a little claustrophobic. I like hanging out with people, but sometimes I like to have a little time to myself. I might go to a hotel room for a bit, or walk around the street to get a little bit of time away from what is going on.
voice: You said that you were sick of being on tour for two years after the release of your first album, Made of Bricks. How do you find touring this time?
KN: It can get stressful during the day, but you get to release that [stress] during the gig on the stage. Then you stay up really late because you have an adrenaline rush. It is kind of a weird lifestyle, but you can hibernate. It is kind of like a natural habitat.
voice: What is the main difference between your UK and American fans?
KN: It is really interesting because all over the world [my fans are] really different, because people have a different culture. I really like the people in America. I think Americans are really open and they will talk to you a lot during the show, and that creates an interesting atmosphere. I like it when there is a bit of a rapport with the audience. You can talk to them, and they will respond to what you are saying.
voice: In “Don’t You Want to Share the Guilt?” you also say, “I think I should read some more books, learn some new words, my sister used to read the dictionary, I’m gonna start with that. I’d like to travel, I want to see India, & the pyramids, a whale and that race with all the bicycles in France.” Did you do any of this during your extended break from touring? How else did you spend your time?
KN: I watched films, and went to shows. It is always good to give yourself food for your brain really. I have always wanted to go to China, develop, and learn more. I went to LA for a bit because my boyfriend was recording his record, so I hung out with him. But mainly, to be honest, it’s very nice not to travel. I settled in to a new flat, which is very nice to be able to chill out there. I got a new bunny rabbit as well. I like to be around the house, and being in London and seeing my friends and family.
voice: I noticed on your CD pamphlet that your photographer is Clare Nash. What is it like working with your sister?
KN: It’s great. It is probably the easiest thing to do, because I am completely comfortable with her, and don’t have to be shy, and we can be honest with each other. My younger sister is also doing a lot of blogging and online stuff. It is really nice to have family on the road.
voice: What is your biggest regret?
KN: I try not to have regrets, really. I think the only thing I really regret is when I hurt people and have an argument. Everything else you take as something to learn from.
voice: Is there anything that you feel you have missed out by embarking on your music career at such a young age?
KN: I guess so. There will be some things. But at the same time there will be so much that I will learn and to experience. I am lucky to have done things that many people never get to experience.
voice: What advice do you have for college students?
KN: Learning to except yourself, and love yourself. Then that takes pressure off you and it will help you figure out what you want to do, and how you want to live. Otherwise you spend a lot of time constantly putting yourself down, and [feeling] too insecure.
voice: Anything else you would like to add?
KN: I am a feminist. So I think that is really cool. I think the word gets a bad wrap because if you are a feminist you believe in equality. It does not mean that you are dike or a bitch or a granny.