these witch punks have taken the diy music scene by the bra straps
Dream Nails are making music on their own witchy terms.
Dream Nails are Anya, Janey, Mimi and Lucy, and, in our opinion, the best DIY all-girl punk queertet since Bikini Kill. Their riotously feminist and political songs with titles like Vagina Police and Fascism Is Coming (Get Out Of Bed) are patriarchy-crushingly good.
Anya and Janey (who define as a queer woman and ‘about a four on the Kinsey scale’ respectively), came together to start the band after breaking up with their long-term boyfriends and discovering their queerness. Mimi, a ‘fierce Aquarius’, and Lucy (still ‘uncovering’ her identity -- hard relate) used to jam together in Lucy’s kitchen before the power of Facebook (Lucy: ‘cheers Mark!’) united the foursome in their current formation. The significance of Dream Nails’ sharp impact over their relatively short careers is not to be taken lightly. I know from my own experience that the DIY band scene suffers from a white male-dominated egotism that often intentionally marginalises and disempowers female and minority artists. But Dream Nails demand space and take it up with ‘punk witch’ aplomb, sending the message to girl-group hopefuls everywhere that music can get you heard - if you’ve got the drive, the instruments, and a healthy dose of feminist rage, then the music scene needs you. We caught up with Dream Nails to talk about sexuality, dating, and chips.
How do you all identify, and what brought you together as a band?
Anya: I identify as a queer woman. The stars brought Janey and I together to start Dream Nails just as we were going through the pain of breaking up with our long-term boyfriends and discovering our queerness...
Janey: Sexuality is definitely a spectrum!
Mimi: Lucy and I used to play in a band together a long time ago. We only had two shows and one was in Lucy’s kitchen.
Lucy: My identity isn’t fixed, it’s a response to the desires and wants that I’m constantly uncovering.
Why do you describe yourselves as punk witches?
Janey: Throughout history, the label “witch” was branded on women who transgressed gender or sexual norms, or who challenged traditional power and knowledge structures. We are those women today. We channel the instinctive, magic energy of womanhood, mix it with some politics and jokes, and the product is witch punk.
What are the pros and cons of embracing your sexuality publicly?
Janey: I get read as straight a lot, which is a common problem if you’re feminine. Being public about it means we’ve established safer spaces for queer women at the shows that we play, and we’re challenging the heteronormativity of punk.
Lucy: It’s a privilege to be able to express our sexuality/queerness in a space that we control -- it’s playful and powerful. Drumming requires you to spread your legs, which is sexual (duh!) and requires you to take up space. An empowering combo.
What sort of partnerships do you look to as a barometer for your own relationships?
Anya: Obviously I love a good lesbian power couple. I love that Lauren Morelli discovered she was queer while writing Orange Is the New Black. Further proof that heteronormativity keeps people in the closet.
Janey: As our friend Candice (who runs the Brighton lesbian club night Gal Pals) says: “queer until proven straight”!
Lucy: I admire people who have a good relationship with themselves. To want to share your life, your body, your thoughts with others implies you have ownership and love over your own life/body/thoughts in the first place.
Mimi: And if someone isn’t as into you as you are to them, then burn their memory and move on! We’ve got a song about that called Chirpse Degree Burns and I love yelling “TEXT ME BACK!” into the mic, it’s like group therapy.
What's the sexiest song you know?
Lucy: Tell Me Something Good by Chaka Kahn and Rufus. The heavy breathing on the chorus gets me going. I’d send the YouTube link to my crush every hour on the hour until they agreed to a date. I’m sure this would work.
Mimi: I’m really into Marika Hackman and find all of her songs sexy AF. “I held his girl in my hands, she likes it cause they’re softer than a man’s.”
That is incredibly sexy. And speaking of which -- tell me about your ‘Zing Theory’.
Anya: From the school of hard knocks, we bring you a foolproof theory on what makes a relationship truly work. We call it the triangle of zing. You need the brain zing, you need the emotional zing and, last but not least, you need the sex zing.
Janey: If someone gives you the sex zing and the brain zing, but no emotional support, that’s a fuck buddy. If someone’s all about the emotional support and good chats, they’re a friend! You need someone who meets all three. It definitely helps if you draw the triangle out.
I know from your Instagram you are all dedicated chip connoisseurs. Is it ever okay to take someone for chips on a date?
Anya: It’s encouraged for someone to woo me with chips. I was once very impressed when a girl invited me to have a full ‘sit-down meal’ in a kebab shop at 3am.
Janey: OMG that’s so great. It’s more than okay -- it’s vital!
Lucy: As I always say: if a date doesn’t involve me interfacing with some fried potatoes, there’s no way it’s going to involve me interfacing with your face.
Mainstream music is obsessed with eternal love. Do you believe love can be forever?
Janey: I believe love is forever, but relationships aren’t. You can still love someone after you’ve broken up with them, but once you’ve done all the learning and growing you can with them you have to renegotiate the terms of your relationship.
Lucy: Preach. I don’t think you can promise yourself to someone forever because you aren’t a fixed being. The only forever-love you’ll have for sure is with yourself. And you are so, so loveable.
As a parting souvenir for our readers, please sum up your attitude to romance/sex in one sentence.
Anya: Whatever goes wrong, you’ll love and fuck again!
Lucy: Don’t limit romance to sexual partners -- buy your best friends flowers and tell them how much you love them.
Mimi: You can’t trust in “fate”, you have to go get what you want!
Janey: You are a goddess, and he is a wet wipe.