by Erinn Fortson
Kate Nash was only 16 years old when she wrote “Dickhead”. Ten years and a few albums later, a lot has changed. For starters, Nash grew up. She’s no longer that teenage girl uploading her music on MySpace. Nash has evolved and this maturity is evident in her latest record. She’s woman, ready for us to hear her roar.
Girl Talk, Nash’s third studio album, was released earlier this year in March. When I spoke with her last month, Nash was preparing for her upcoming tour in the U.S., which began October 29th in Milwaukee.
“I love to tour in the States. I love seeing America,” Nash tells me. “Being able to travel is one of my favorite things about my job. And playing shows in America is really fun. The last tours we had [in the States] at the end of March and in May were sold out and really fun, with a great crowd. So, it’s exciting to go back and play some bigger venues.”
On November 7th, Nash is scheduled to play at Union Transfer, with supporting artist, Le Sera.
When it came time to shop for a Girl Talk producer, Nash had her sights set on Tom Biller. From Fiona Apple to Elliot Smith, Biller has worn a lot of hats in the studio acting as a producer, engineer, and sometimes vocalists to the many artists he’s worked with over the years. This was the first time Biller teamed up with Nash.
“I just sort of asked him to meet with me to see if he wanted to work together ’cause I really wanted to work with him,” Nash explains. “We met for coffee and we ended up hanging out for six hours cause we really got on. I’m so happy that I worked with him. He’s one of my favorite humans. I mean, he’s just really awesome and we work really well together.”
The tracks on Girl Talk speak to this chemistry. When Biller and Nash combined creative forces, magic happened in the studio. From punk, to the Californian sounds of 1960’s surf rock, Girl Talk really showcases Nash’s versatility as a musician. So, apart from her production partner, she does an excellent job shining on her own. Nash has stepped out of her comfort zone and done away with the previous formulas she might have used to create her earlier albums.
“It’s the most raw and honest record I’ve written,” says Nash. “And I play bass on it. [On] my first album, I wrote songs on the piano and the acoustic guitar. And [with Girl Talk] I wrote on bass. I’ve had seven years of experience playing live music and being in and out of the studio. I produced a record. So, I just sort of put all my experiences in this album.”
These experiences in Nash’s career continue to expand and grow deeper as her career continues moving forward in other directions besides music. Girl Talk only scratches the surface, looking back at everything Nash has done this year. Not only is she in the process of launching her very own women’s magazine, but Nash has also been able to successfully balance a music career with her work as an actress.
“I did some acting when I was 15 and I really liked it. And that’s when I decided to go and study theater when I was 16 to 18 at the Brit School,” says Nash. “And I loved it so much, I wanted to go to drama school and go to college and study that. But, I didn’t get into any colleges. So, that’s when I went back to music really; I needed to be in control. […] I always wanted a way back into acting, but I wanted it to be through my own merit, not because I work as a musician.”
Nash starred in three films this year, which include Syrup, Greetings from Tim Buckley and Powder Room.
As an actress, musician, and simply just a woman living in the world, Nash has been exposed to the less than desirable and discriminatory harness that often go hand in hand with being a female artist in the entertainment industry. These negative encounters inspired Nash though, and she quickly turned the rage and frustration she felt into another project she feels especially passionate about.
A few years ago, Nash launched the Rock ‘N Roll for Girls After School Music Club in the UK. It’s a program that artistically celebrates young femininity by teaching and encouraging adolescent girls to jam.
“I was turning into a bitter person and I needed to act on my [anger] rather than complain how things were,” says Nash. “I just felt a bit frustrated with myself because I was really bitter and negative and upset all the time. I got to this point where I go, okay, why don’t I try to do something about it rather than just complain?”
And she did. With the Rock ‘N Roll Girls After School Music Club, Nash has created a safe place for girls to empower themselves through song. “I feel really good about the future and how things are for young girls,” Nash says. “It’s like we’re creating a movement. It’s really exciting. I’ve noticed it with my fans [too]. They’re just so together and they’re really strong and they all know each other; they even know each other across the globe. You can see at my shows how liberated the girls are and it’s all part of the same kind of thing: a manifesto.”