THE INSIDER: KATE NASH
“if you’re not pissing somebody off, you’re not doing it right.”
We all know Kate Nash: The British chick with the red hair who wrote "Foundations" and got famous through MySpace, right? Nope, that's the old Nash; the new Nash plays bass, covers The Kinks, has black-and-blonde pin-up hair, and is way closer to rockabilly than confessional pop. Look no further than her new EP Death Proof, out this week, to see Nash 3.0 in action. Throwing out lines like "I made a deal with death," she's a far ways from the young woman who wrote 2007's Made of Bricks and 2010's My Best Friend Is You--and with her third album, Girl Talk, slated for March 2013 release, it seems the evolution has only just begun. NYLONmag.com chatted with the singer-songwriter to find out why she dyed her hair in a Denny's bathroom, how she ignores the haters, and the ways in which being a brunette is much more fun.
This isn't your first go-round. Is it as exciting to release an album today as it was when you first started?
Yes, definitely. I feel excited for this album because I think it's the best work I've ever done. The things I was going through when I wrote the album, it means the record coming out is an emotional release too. I'm actually really looking forward to it. I'm 25, I've been doing this for six years, and I kind of feel like it's not just something that I enjoy doing, it's like my craft now. I feel like I have my head around the whole thing; when i was 18 starting up and a lot of things happened, I didn't really understand what was going on. Now I'm way more in control, it's a more enjoyable experience. I had so much to draw on lyrically that I just kicked [the album] out.
Would you say that sonically it's a step forward for you as well?
I guess so. To other people more so than to me, because for me it's all a very natural progression: album one, step one; album two, step two; album three, step three. But I can understand to an outsider who only remembers "Foundations," it is. But I definitely feel like this album is a special one.
It's the first time you play bass on one of your solo albums!
Yeah it is actually! I fucking love it; I love playing bass very much. I think it's such a perfect fit for me. When I started playing it, it just felt really empowering. It's a really loud, deep instrument, and it's heavy and feels good when you play it. It makes me feel strong.
So no feeling vulnerable taking on a new challenge?
No, it didn't actually. It's weird with this album, I just knew what i wanted it to be; as soon as I figured it out, I wanted the bass to be the main thing on the album. Everything I've been through on this whole weird journey, I just don't care what people think of me. I've had everything bad that could be said about somebody--in magazines or on the internet--said about me, so when that happens, you don't have anything to lose any more. You can change yourself but you'll still have people who don't like me, so why does it matter? It's a good thing, because if you're not pissing somebody off, you're not doing it right.
Do you just avoid the internet so you don't read the crazy stuff said about you?
I'm human, so if I read really shit stuff about me on the internet, it will affect me. You just have to not read it; I avoid it whenever possible. With things like Facebook and Twitter, it's so much easier for people to get to you and contact you and for you to see it. So you have to be really careful to what you're exposed to. I know if I see it all the time, I'd go insane. If I do ever see anything, I just talk about it with my friends, and they'll be like, "So what? That's fucking stupid."
Could these conversations have inspired the album title, Girl Talk?
There's been so much time spent with my girlfriends talking about everything. I've been through this huge shift--2012 has been hardcore for me--and having my friends around me has been the only thing that's kept me alive. You have to talk about your problems. I just talk about relationships that women have with each other, and I don't think there's any subject I can't talk about with my really, really good friends. I've spent years realizing who my real friends are. Girl Talk sounds like girls hanging out, and that's a big part of my life--and that's a big part of most women's lives.
Was it your friends who inspired you to ditch the red hair in favor of the brown-with-blonde-streaks look you're rocking these days?
I got the blonde streaks in my hair a couple of years ago when I was on tour with Supercute! The last night we were in Denny's in L.A. and Rachel [Trachtenberg of Supercute!]'s mom did my hair in the bathroom! So I had blonde streaks. Then I did a movie last year and they wanted to dye my hair black, and I said, "Yeah, do it," because I've always had my ginger hair my whole life. So we dyed it for the movie, and then after I just wanted a change; I wanted something different. I needed to feel a bit tougher; I was feeling really bummed out and I needed a, "Fuck you!" instead of, "Oh I'm really sad." It makes you feel tougher. I needed a new identity, a new chapter in life.