On the eve of London Fashion Week and the release of her third album Girl Talk, we catch up with front row regular Kate Nash to talk fashion, feminism and the music project that makes us wish we were back at school!
Tell us about your after-school music workshops for girls; why did you decide to set the project up and what reaction has it had from the girls?
I found out that only 14% of PRS goes to female songwriters and some other depressing statistics in relation to women and the music industry, which made me really pissed and depressed for a while. But then I found out about rock ‘n’ roll camps in NY and Portland and it really inspired me. I wanted to contribute in some way to this country and the future of the music industry so I approached 6 different schools in the UK about starting these after school clubs and they were really excited to be part of it. So I visited the schools for about 18 months and worked with the girls on self-esteem issues and lyric sessions, and we had guitar, bass and drum lessons and encouraged the girls to write their own material. I have footage of some of their journeys and it is pretty incredible to see the growth of confidence. They were encouraged to be themselves and provided with a safe environment and it really made a difference. It’s something that I feel pretty strongly about continuing with.
Do you think feminism is still relevant? How does it relate to the music industry?
ERRRRR, YESS! I could go into a list of boring statistics or I could just send you to Plan USA’sBecause I am a Girl. It’s a charity I’ve just recently started collaborating with. There are various levels of sexism in this world, some extreme, some smaller, but it’s all important in a girl’s growth, and in the development of the entire human race. Anyone who believes that feminism isn’t relevant should read up about cases of rape, domestic violence, genital mutilation in babies and adoption agencies in China. They should try reading a magazine to see how women are introduced by weight and age first – the “circle of shame”. See how women in the public eye are ripped apart for the way they look. Feminism can give girls confidence and pride and hope. You feel like you’re part of a bigger picture and that there are other girls, boys, men and women out there that care about the same things you do, i.e. equality. And there are huge amounts of sexism within the music industry. There are not enough female songwriters for starters and that’s something I intend to change.
We’re excited about the release of your new record, Girl Talk. Can you tell us about the inspiration for the album and the title?
I needed a lot of friends and a lot of girl talk last year. I have an all female band and female members of crew and I generally have a lot of women in my life. I love the way women connect with each other emotionally. I like the way GIRL TALK looks good written down and I feel like I’ve been through so many phases of like, “ugh I’m too girl, people don’t take me seriously enough”, to like, “I need to be tough, fuck everyone”, to now finding a good balance between the two.
We were shocked to read reports that Lady Gaga’s management asked her to lose weight and Marina Diamandis was told she looked too ugly in her music video. Does it matter what musicians look like? Do you feel under pressure to look a certain way?
Yeah that’s bullshit. I mean they’re both totally beautiful. I have no idea how Marina Diamandis could look ugly, her face is like a cherry pie! I mean I think every person feels pressure to look a certain way at times no matter what your job, but I try not to let it effect me too much. I’ve seen someone get too obsessed with looks and image and care too much about what the media says about them and it can be so unhealthy and sad. I don’t want that stuff to become too important to me so I try really hard to ignore it, hang out with my friends and enjoy my life as it’s short, ya know.
You’re a regular on the front row at London Fashion Week – we loved your surprise performance at the Felder Felder show last season. What do you love about fashion and is there anything you would change about the industry?
Thanks! It was probably the scariest performance I’ve ever done! It was awesome though and I love Felder Felder. I mean I love fashion because it gives me confidence and certain clothes make me giddy happy. It’s just fun to dress up and to wear things that make you happy. I would like to see more diversity on the catwalk, more variety of shapes and races.
Your image has evolved throughout your career; is personal style important to you? Does it reflect your personality and your music?
Yeah it totally depends on my mood. But I definitely think about what I’m presenting now. I have certain images in my head that I wanna portray and they depend on how I’m feeling, and what I’m doing. For example what I wear to fashion week is totally different to what I wear on stage. Cause I need different things from those outfits.
Listen to Kate’s new indie dance pop single ‘3AM’ on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/katenash/3am
Interview by Charlotte Gush
|Charlotte Gush is a fashion writer and editor, working at London College of Fashion as Web Coordinator and as the Online Editor for All Walks.
She initially joined All Walks on a 6 month internship as a social media, marketing and production intern.