On a starry Sunday evening (well as starry as you can get in Los Angeles) I found myself 1,835 miles from my home state of Michigan. Sitting in a backyard looking out on to the famed ‘Hollywood’ sign in the distance, eating peanut M&Ms with some fellow The Pulp Zine staff members, and interviewing one remarkable singer named Kate Nash. You’ve probably seen the Zine’s million social media posts about this very photo shoot and interview. Sorry we got a little carried away but can you really blame us? Below are the semi unprofessional, completely informal, and extremely fun conversations that ensued when Ms.Nash answered some of our questions. I’ll summarize it for you. Sexism, vulnerability, making music, girl power, Orange is the New Black, the word “fuck” is used quite a few times, as well as cheers from the cinematic classic, Bring it On. We literally end this article with one of those cheers because it’s cheeky, almost ties in seamlessly with the theme of this interview, we were feeling very Sopranos series finale-ish, also the sound cut out then (luckily that really was the end).
Let me paint the scene for you. We have just completed a photo shoot in which we were in a race against the sunset and by “we” I mean Natalie, our talented photographer, Jessi the stylist, Yasuko the make-up artist, Tanya the hair stylist, Natalie’s 3 interns, and Kate Nash. Leaving Candy and I to dance and snap selfies in the corner. It was our first time witnessing a photo shoot and it was truly amazing. Watching people love what they do as they come together creates sparks of magic! Kate’s effortless charm surely helped. I digress, so it’s post-shoot and we are all tired, throwing down on some peanut M&M’s as the sun has all but disappeared. The beautiful stucco house we are behind is engulfed in nightfall. We sit on a curb in the backyard as Kate makes herself comfy surrounded by new friends. Below are the bits taken between fits of laughter, ensemble talking, and lots of tortilla/salsa munching.
THE PULP ZINE: In the music industry we see how young girls are sexualized and get taken advantage of. How do you emotionally deal with that?
KATE NASH: I can either get upset about things that bother me or I can accept that there’s nothing I can really do about that, but what I can do for girls out there is that I can make them feel empowered for who they are and whoever they want to be… rather than “what they have to be”. I can spread my own message and know that I’m there for my fans in a different way.
TPZ: I love it. So what is the girl gang? What is this term?
So it started about two years ago, I thought that like this song that was actually about drugs was saying “girl gang” instead it was actually saying “cocaine”.
I was like “I love that song about girl gangs” and my friends were like “what are you talking about?” I was like oh wow, I was like naïve but girl gangs are so much better than cocaine, why are people going around talking about fucking cocaine? And how cool would it be to be a cover of that song with “girl gang”? And then I just really like to have an all female band. It just grew from there, it’s developed in to something where I feel that my fans are my girl gang, ya know? After getting dropped from my record label, I was really open to them about everything. Very vulnerable, I went through this like breakup and they jumped together and we swam through this campaign. It was really empowering. I felt like they were supporting me in the same way that I was supporting them. I wanted it to feel like a community rather than I’m on a pedestal.
Right, you’re very accessible to your fans I would say…and personable!
Yeah, that’s something that is very important to me…to stay grounded. It comes down to family and the friends I have around me.
I’m just gonna say this, cause it’s totally, well cause it’s awesome. I saw you in Detroit and I waited outside to meet you and it was fah-reezing and everyone told us “she’s not gonna come out, she’s not gonna come out.” And you came out and you were so nice. It was like talking to an old friend. And I just wanted to say it meant so much to us standing outside freezing our asses off.
Oh my gosh was that the night it was like, the venue was…what was the venue like?
The, ugh….It was called The Magic Bag and it was like….
Yeah oh my god it was fucking freezing!
That was the coldest tour!
You were wearing like a fur jacket and it was just a magical memory. Anyways! You were saying you were dropped from your record label, now you can see it in your social media, how do you feel creatively? How does the process of making music while signed on a label feel versus now?
I think it stands on a lot of different factors, I’m older. I mean I’ve been doing this for eight years going on nine years now which is crazy and so cool. I’m more confident in myself, I care much less what people think, I’ve become independent and free as a woman as well as a musician, just as a person. And then, I just don’t really care anymore. I think I used to care a lot more, not… I don’t know. I was definitely effected by it in a different way, and now I got dropped by my record label, I had this horrible break up, that year my friend died, my aunt died, all this stuff happened and it was really traumatic and I was like “I don’t give a fuck about anything stupid anymore.” Because I realized what I believe in and what I think about when I look up in to the sky and there’s a universe right there, why would I give a fuck about any silly things that makes me insecure? And obviously I don’t think that all the time, sometimes I feel like shit about myself but it in general it would never hold me back from actually taking action and having my job, and making the record I want to make and releasing whatever I want to release creatively, because one day I’m gonna be like 80 and then I’ll be dead and it didn’t matter anyway.
True. It’s practical. Well, Candy and I both follow you on like everything but we see you supporting The Aquadolls, The Tuts, and Supercute! when they were together and all that. What is it, did you have someone that helped you along the way like a mentor? What makes you do that?
I dunno, I don’t think I really had a mentor or anything, I think once I realized there are statistically so many less female musicians then I got really passionate about figuring out why there are less. I thought back to school and the way girls are, we have like gangs of girls but in different ways growing up. Not loads of girls are in bands and get to share that experience and that’s a shame because it’s really fun. I didn’t get to do that either because I never was in girl bands or anything. And I think I’ve always been like, I was raised to be polite to people and friendly and open. And I think the more, if there are loads of female artists that I really like, I want to support them because in the media a lot of the time women are pitted against each other and I don’t like that so I’m overly friendly to everybody. I’d rather be someone’s best friend than an enemy.
Have they ever tried to make you out to be like “Oh Kate’s fighting so and so?”
They always used to pit me and Lily Allen against one another! And they would do it in a way, they would set you up and say “does it annoy you…..?” and I would just be like ‘I’m not gonna answer that’.
Ohhh no. On a lighter note, what’s your favorite city to perform in?
I love it where people are rowdy, so I love Chicago is amazing, Boston, Brazil is insane.
*cough * Detroit!
Detroit! People are crazy in Detroit! And Scotland and Ireland and Argentina and Mexico!
Now, here at The Pulp Zine, we like to do what we call lightening round! Favorite word?
Scones or Muffins?
What kind of muffin?
Like English breakfast muffin, yeah? If we’re talking sweet than scone.
iPhone or Android?
Pizza or burritos?
Cold weather or hot?
Spicy or sour?
Favorite country you have visited?
NYC or LA?
Don’t do that to me! I suppose I’m living in LA but only right now, I do love NYC.
Last one, current tv binge or book that you are reading?
Orange is the New Black is the best thing ever.
*promptly breaks in to theme song *
I’m obsessed with it, it’s so good. I haven’t loved a show like that in ages. Imagine if I was a teenager, it’d be all I was thinking about. I love it. It’s nice being older and seeing a show- I don’t think a show like that has ever existed that has such diverse casting. Just women in general, in terms of how women are portrayed in tv shows which are like one dimensional characters that just have this thing. Every character on there just looks how she looks. We have stereotypical thoughts about her and then you get to like her even if she’s a fucking bitch.
And then you find out something about her and you’re like “whoa that’s crazy.”
We get those backstories.
So she’s not like just one thing, which like loads of women are. And the lead character is annoying…
*we all start talking everything OITNB*
Yes, who even likes Piper??
But you still support her!
She’s a good antihero. But usually only men have those on tv series, like they’re the dicks. They’re horrible and you should hate them but you really like them and want them to succeed. Women are usually the ones that are “stopping the men” and everyone hates on the “bitch” woman. And fucking everything from race to body type to culture and age and sex, it’s just so fucking good. And it’s in no makeup! And the book as well, I just went to Big Sur. I went to the Henry Miller Library there. So I’ve just bought the Henry Miller Big Sur book and I haven’t started reading it yet but that’s what I’m going to read next. Big Sur is like the most magical place in the whole wide- well in California….for me.
Thank you so much! Also, I bestow this pencil upon you. It says “Smitten with the Mitten” Just so you remember where your true fans lie.
Is it like a spirit stick?
Yes, Yes it is.
To get the inside ice cream scoop on The Pulp Zine’s day with Kate Nash, view artist Kelsey Hart’s behind the scenes video HERE:
Photographer: Natalie Neal
Collage by: Pamela Loredo Sustaita
Wardrobe Stylist: Jessi Jae Joplin
Assistant Stylist: Alaska Mangialetto
Make-up Artist: Yasuko Shapiro
Hair Stylist: Tanya Ramirez
Photo Assistant: Leah Rom
BTS Video: Kelsey Hart
Interview Assistant/Interview Edits: Candy Medina