In case you’re just joining us, a little background. Today marks the 25th installment of Hugs and Kisses, a weekly column from UK-based music writer Mr. Everett True, author of Nirvana: The Biography (da Capo Press)–one more fucking book about one of the most overrated bands of the Nineties–and publisher of Plan B Magazine, a title dedicated to writing about music (and media) with barely a nod towards demographics.
True is famous/infamous for all sorts of shit, he’s spent the last 24 weeks here at our strange corner of the music universe teaching us about antifolk, rummaging through his desktop, saying goodbye to Electrelane, and losing his taped Kate Nash interview, then finding it again.
And so we fondly recall six months’ worth of one–sentence introductions, Kurt Cobain namechecks, and backhanded Vampire Weekend compliments as Hugs and Kisses enters its quarterlife.
— Yr friendly blog host
Hugs And Kisses
THIS WEEK: Kate Nash, Part Two
This is the second part of my Kate Nash interview [part one here], conducted a couple of months back in Brighton, England. Since then, the world has moved on. World leaders have been assassinated, End Of Year polls have been compiled and Ms Nash is much in demand on British TV. She’s charming, talented, sharp, appeals to a certain female part of the ‘indie’ demographic that is often overlooked – but one wonders how much of that will survive past the initial ritual mauling. But ’til then, why not enjoy her Number One UK album Made Of Bricks? I know I have: especially with the sound of laughter from the self-proclaimed hipsters ringing in my ears (Pitchfork gave it 5.5 out of 10 – one of these days they’ll start evaluating albums using words).
For further background on my state of mind around the time this interview was conducted, check out this.
As you join us, we’ve just been discussing Kate’s ideas for a self-published magazine…
. . . “I just want to take what I can from my resources and opportunities. Also, in my mum, I have a strong woman to look up to who always had opinions and was left-wing and was a nurse, and worked hard and had good ethics. That meant I was motivated: if you’re going to do a job, do it properly. I’m a strong character so when I get depressed, I don’t lie about and get depressed. I go the other way and get totally manic and try and do a thousand things at once, try try try try try. You have to have belief in yourself – whatever happens to me, if I get dropped, so what if Radio One don’t play my stuff any more? It was never what I wanted to achieve. I’m an artist. I want to change and grow, have other people look up to me, like Kate Bush and Björk I want to have a career, I want to make albums, I want to make art…”
So when did you start singing?
“We used to sing in the car loud when I was young. We’d always listen to The Beatles and folk music and Christy Moore and The Dubliners and The Pogues and musicals in the car – and we’d be like, ‘Can we listen to our music now?’ Thank goodness they didn’t let us! I was in the choir at school, and I had a wicked hands-on music teacher who’d just chat instead of teaching us the curriculum, just be passionate about music…what was my point?”
It doesn’t have to have a point. Thing is, doing an interview, if you don’t like what you’re being asked, just ignore the question – or make it up. That’s my only advice to you.
“OK! Just make something up…you can actually change it, because you go, ‘I don’t know really, but what I think of this is…’ blah blah blah.”
So what’s the best rumour you’ve heard about yourself?
“I heard a rumour that I knit backstage. Of course I do!”
Do you Google yourself?
“I used to, when it was exciting – but not now. Now it’s a bit weird. When it first happens, you’re like, ‘This is really cool.’ But it could become too much of an obsession, especially some of the horrible things you can read on the Internet. I didn’t read any of my albums reviews – I read the NME‘s, because it was the first one, but I got to one line where it slagged something off and I stopped reading. I was like, ‘Fuck that.’ I mean, why would I ever read what a journalist has to say about my album? I don’t read album reviews anyway. Everything on that album is there for a reason. I worked so hard for so long. I slogged my guts out. I cried, I laughed…so much went into it. Nothing there is filler. I put the work into it. I don’t need some stranger’s opinion. I’ve got my family and friends, and if they respect me then fine by me…
“Who cares anyway,” she laughs, affecting a mocking voice. “It’s just a laugh. I’m going to sit here and churn butter…”
OK. Thanks. Well, I’ve got enough now–but if you want to carry on talking, that’s cool.
Haven’t you got a soundcheck to go to…?
“Yeah, I suppose so…” Kate replies, not showing the slightest inclination to move.
OK. What’s the weirdest crowd you’ve performed in front of?
“I’ve got three weird crowds for you. One: 20,000 girl guides. Do you want to see a video?” Kate produces her mobile. “This is hilarious.” Cue sound of 20,000 girls screaming in unison. “This was a couple of weeks ago, in Manchester. It was like the girl guides’ day out. Another weird gig, on my last tour, before ‘Foundations’ came out, playing one of those corporate things for people who worked in radio – a bunch of men in suits just looking at me. I had to play two acoustic songs, and I’d been given a glass of champagne. I walked out with the glass, tripped over a wire, and everyone was like, ‘Wahey, she’s pissed!’ – oh my God. And then I started playing ‘Mouthwash’ acoustically on the piano, and some guy started whispering really loudly, and I was like, ‘Mate, I really don’t want to be here,’ so I stopped playing and I went [whispers loudly] ‘Why are you whispering?’ down the microphone, and he was so embarrassed. It was so funny. He was like, ‘Oh it’s someone’s birthday’, and I was [whispers loudly] ‘Whose birthday is it?’. So I did the song, and no one spoke again, and then I went and did a proper gig in Newcastle.
“Another weird gig was playing for the GQ Men Of The Year awards in front of Sir Paul McCartney, Michael Caine, Elton John…everyone was there. And it was for one song as well–‘Foundations’–so you don’t even have the chance to settle…”
I played in front of Naomi Campbell once. We were standing next to each other, the only people, in the V.I.P.V.I.P. area backstage in New York watching a band…you could see she was checking me out, thinking, ‘Who the fuck are you, and why am I standing next to you?’…and then I got up on stage and sang a song.
“What band? Why were you on stage with them?
…because I knew them, and they thought it was funny to get me up there to piss off their arena rock crowds. The band was Nirvana.
[Kate Nash collapses on sofa, and starts flapping her hands in front of her face.]
[In tones of disbelief] “You knew Nirvana…?”
Yeah, I got up on stage with them several times…
“Oh my God…You knew Kurt Cobain? How well did you know him?”
Um. I don’t know. I knew his wife better, I guess.
“Uh…what were they like? Hang on, I can’t believe this. What did you say your name was again?”
Everett True – that’s one of my names, anyway. I’ll tell you the story of how I introduced Kurt to Courtney some time but we haven’t got the time right now…
“No, shut up. Tell me, tell me…”
And that’s where we’ll draw a veil over our Kate Nash interview. Happy new year and all that.
HUGS AND KISSES TOP 5
What Everett True was listening to over Christmas
1. AMY WINEHOUSE, “Me And Mr Jones” (from the Universal album Back To Black).
Finally, I play catch up on the rest of the UK – and, whoa! She doesn’t disappoint. Someone could’ve mentioned to me that she covers The Specials…I mean, really!
2. CERYS MATTHEWS, “Y Corryn Ar Pry'” (from the My Kung Fu album Awyren = Aeroplane).
Sadly, she’s reduced herself to the status of ‘celebrity’ for the News Of The World generation over here: doesn’t diminish from the beauty of this languid, late night album, though.
3. MARVIN GAYE, “Purple Snowflakes” (from the free Mojo album Blue Christmas).
My ‘best of’ Christmas play list comprises 145 seasonal favourites (not including vinyl), of which this is just one shimmering light among a veritable heaven…
4. JOSEPH SPENCE, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (from the Rykodisc album Mas! A Caribbean Christmas Party).
…and this is the guiding star.
5. THE LONG BLONDES, “Christmas Is Cancelled” (seasonal download).
This is quite the finest song from quite the finest post-Pulp charity store hipsters of the past decade.