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Kate Nash interview

| April 1, 2010 | 0 Comments

No More Pissing And Moaning

When English folk-rocker Kate Nash closes an album, she really knows how to do it in fine sardonic style. Ergo, “I Hate Seagulls” stands as the coda to her lovably droll new sophomore set, My Best Friend Is You, wherein she sunnily chirrups down a huge list of everything she despises. Starting with pesky seagulls. An accidental overshare? No, the singer argues. “It means, ‘I hate all these things, but . . .’ It’s my new thing — I hate the world, but I’ve got this person who loves me back, so things are O.K. It’s about realizing that you can still be happy while everything is shit all around you. I mean, I don’t wanna get to be 80 and be like, ‘I wasted my life trying to be so down and depressed all the time.’ I wanna enjoy my friends, my family, my relationship and try and get some good out of it, in my own little world, ya know?”

Appearing: Monday, April 3rd at Lincoln Hall in Chicago.

And if you don’t know, rest assured — the garrulous Nash will quickly bring you up to date on Best Friend alone. Produced by ex-Suede guitarist (and Duffy Svengali) Bernard Butler, the set is a remarkably assured followup to this quirky kitten’s U.K.-hit debut from ’08, Made Of Bricks (and its flagship smash “Foundations”). There are kooky experiments like the punk-minimal “I Just Love You More” and a beatnik-hip spoken-word rant “Mansion Song.” But mostly, Butler and his protégé have hit on a winning Phil Spector-plush formula, exemplified by the chiming, charming new single “Do Wah Doo,” whose girl-group chorus masks the artist’s cunning, catty putdown of another less-than-reputable female. Talk about your sweet and sour. “I’ve Got A Secret” another ditty proclaims. Not any more.

Only 22, Nash has been morphing through so many transformations, she can barely keep track. She’s trimmed her once-shoulder-length strawberry tresses to a pert Louise Brooks bob. She’s traded her signature sundresses for a chic, almost ’40s-film-star wardrobe, and moved from her family home to a swank new London apartment, a property she and her new beau — Ryan Jarman from The Cribs — are in the process of purchasing. For her birthday last year, Jarman changed her life again with a present — a cuddly lop-eared house rabbit named Fluffy that was by Nash’s side in the studio during the Best Friend sessions; the adorable pet — featured in most of her current publicity photos — will soon accompany her on her U.K./European tour. With her bandmate Brett Alaimo, she’s also formed a punk side combo called The Receeders, and she initiated the Featured Artists Coalition with Bill Bragg and Dave Rowntree to help protect songwriters’ rights. Tack on her misanthropic new outlook and a dairy-and-gluten-free vegetarian diet, and Nash, you might say, is a brand new woman.

But here’s the thing to remember, Nash explains: “I’m five years older than I was when I first started out.” So all these dramatic shifts, she adds, “must feel quite different to everyone else. But it’s just me accepting change. My hair, for example, was really horrible, because I went on tour for two years and I just burned it. And I slept on a bus in it and got beer in it, until I just wanted to cut it all off because it was like rat’s tails at the end and I hated it. And it’s a really good thing to cut it off when you have long hair — it feels like a relief once you’ve done it. So I just kind of prefer short hair now — it’s really cool.”

How, exactly, does one get beer in their hair? Nash cackles. “You go to a shit bar where people dance really crazy and they throw beer in your hair. They throw beer in your hair and they just don’t care!”

But Jarman — the sugary inspiration at the center of the tart “Seagulls” — is by far Nash’s biggest upgrade. “We live together, and we’ve got a really nice flat,” she reports. “There’s a basement and we have a studio set up downstairs. And it’s really nice to have your own space, especially when I go away on tour and then come back. I mean, I was living in a bedroom that I had since I was 16, and it was so small. And I’d bring back massive suitcases from touring and just have shit everywhere, and it would be so messy. But now, I’ve got a house! So it’s gonna be a lot easier when I come back from tour to have my own place to chill out, my own home.”

— Tom Lanham

For the full story, grab the April issue of Illinois Entertainer, available free throughout Chicagoland.

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