talking myspace, camden, and all things 2007 with kate nash
We celebrate ten years of debut album 'Made of Bricks' and premiere Kate's new single 'Call Me' exclusively below.
Ah, 2007. A year of flip phones and Rickrolling, Paris, Nicole, Lindsay, and selfies taken on cameras in bathroom mirrors. But you know what 2007 was also the year of? Kate Nash, that's what. The Harrow-based singer-songwriter whose ear for melody and sleeper hit "Foundations" ensured the words "bitteh" and "fitteh" would be forever entwined in the English language. Kate became properly famous that year, releasing a single in February, signing a deal in March, and entering the charts at No. 2 by June (all this just 18 months after first tentatively uploading her demos to MySpace).
That early moment in the limelight didn't last forever. Kate's platinum selling album Made of Bricks was followed by two follow-ups that failed to match the same commercial success. And yet, freed from the shackles of T4 on the Beach-level popstardom, Kate continued to build a decade's worth of material that diverged from her early Brit School beginnings (case in point: the brilliant Flaming Lips influenced "Call Me," premiering exclusively below).
With a ten year Made of Bricks anniversary tour just announced, as well as a Kickstarter campaign for her upcoming fourth album, we decided to give Kate a call to talk MySpace, Camden, and all things 2007. Press play and have a read below.
Ten years went quick, didn't it?
I know! Well, it has and it hasn't. It's really funny because even though I'm like, oh my god, a decade, I definitely feel like it's been a decade. It definitely feels like so much has happened. And I've really grown as well, so… Yeah. Life is really different now to how it was then. It's nice to be able to reflect on that.
What's your relationship like to the old songs these days?
When I perform them now I feel freer. I think I'm just a better performer. I've like, honed my performance skills. And it really keeps me connected to why I started doing this and what my roots are. It reminds me of the street that I grew up on and the people that came to my first shows and that kind of upcoming scene. It puts me in a good place.
What are your overriding memories of 2007, when everything started happening for you?
I think there's a lot of stuff that's blocked out because it was too much, you know? I was just really young and I remember feeling excited but also feeling overwhelmed a lot of the time. I'd play these giant shows to 25,000 people and I remember just feeling quite lost on stage. I didn't really know what I was doing because I'd only just started… But I remember more the up-and-coming kind of feeling. Being on the streets of London, having MySpace, being really excited about getting a gig at Camden Barfly. Those kind of things were really, really tangible and exciting. Then it blew up and I was just kind of like, fuck!
Would it be fair to say you had a difficult relationship with that first record for a bit?
Yeah. I mean, all those songs I wrote when I was like, 16. And I loved all those songs. It was my music and what I wanted to write. But then touring for two years straight and having no support from any of the men in the industry I was working with... All these older men that didn't really care about me or my mental health, just about money. I became very exhausted and very angry and was like, I don't want to do this anymore. Maybe the whole of life is always like that. Uncovering new parts of yourself. For me personally, I definitely wanted to push away and write a different type of music. So I started doing that. It wasn't like I hated my old self or my old music. I just wanted to do new stuff. I don't have any resentment or weirdness with it now, because I've gone through that rebellious phase. I needed to rebel against it to love it again.
What was the last job you did before you became a pop star, Kate?
I worked at Nando's and River Island. I finished being at the Brit School and then didn't get into any universities. I was like, what the fuck? I felt like all my friends were doing interesting things while I was grilling chicken. And so I just started going out in London all the time, getting the night bus home, going to every gig. I needed to have a palette of something exciting. I'd had heart surgery when I was 17 so I had this crazy experience of being on the edge of life and death. Literally, I could have had a heart attack, could have needed a pacemaker, could have died in surgery. So I had this whole new perspective where I was like, I can do what I want to do now. I think I was working at Nando's before my heart surgery, then I quit and got a job at River Island. In between that I broke my foot and got my final rejection letter. So it was like heart surgery, final rejection letter. When I broke my foot, that's when I started MySpace. And it spiraled quite quickly because MySpace had this little window of time that it existed for and it really worked for people.
What's the new song we're premiering all about then?
I wanted to write something that would feel really uplifting at a festival and have like, a Flaming Lips point of reference. It's about having gone through a ton of shit so, "you can call me, baby, and I'll call you back." I'm pretty rubbish at being on the phone but it's supposed to be about how I can help people with what they're going through because I've been through a lot of shit. I definitely want my experience in the music industry to help other young people coming up.
Do you think people are becoming a bit more switched on the issues such as mental health or the treatment of young women in the industry?
You hope so. I still hear horrific stories and I'm definitely appreciative that I'm independent now. I can't imagine going back into that world where it feels like a fight to exist. I think there's a lot that goes on behind-the-scenes that you still don't hear about. I want to help expose that. An exposé! I'm gonna go undercover!
Well you have been doing some acting, haven't you? What's the Netflix thing you're in all about?
It's so exciting. I did a bit of acting at the Brit School but didn't get into it, that's why I started doing music. And two years ago I did this pilot for Jenji Kohan about witches. It didn't get picked up, but Jenji really liked my work so she saw me read and audition for this new show. It's called G.L.O.W. [Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling] and it's based on a real wrestling league in the 80s. They were like, we're gonna make female wrestlers in the 80s, but they're gonna be hot and sexy. And all these women were failed actors and models and they didn't really want to be wrestlers but got trained to do it. I'm one of the 14 female wrestlers and we did six months wrestling training with Chavo Guerrero.
What one piece of wrestling advice can you give i-D readers?
It's all about the base. Having a strong base. You've got to get those feet planted and square on. That is literally the thing that will stop you from being taken down easily. If you have a strong base, no one can take you down.
Kate has launched a Kickstarter for her upcoming fourth album which you can read more about here.
Text Matthew Whitehouse