A mere six months since her last visit, England’s own sassy, silver-tongued songstress is set to make a return to antipodean shores. It would appear that mutual affection has blossomed: as we prepare once more to welcome Kate Nash with arms wide open, she would appear just as enthusiastic on the eve of the tour. “I love it,” she declares, no hesitation necessary. “I love being out there so much. It feels like a place I can escape into from stuff in the world I really hate! It just feels so chilled. I always meet cool people and have interesting times. I’m just looking forward to coming back out.”
Her return to Australia marks yet another chapter of an extensive tour, Nash jet-setting around the world all in the name of her second full-length studio album, My Best Friend Is You. “We’ve been on tour a lot, so it’s been pretty busy. A lot of traveling! I’ve been all over Europe, the UK, Germany,” she begins, the volume of destinations trickling out. “I’ve had a really good time!”
Not too long ago, however, Nash desired nothing more than a moment or two to catch her breath. Her debut from 2007, Made Of Bricks, ensured sudden success for the then nineteen-year-old. Its flagship single Foundations ascended the charts at an alarming pace, the album soon shifting over 600,000 copies. Made Of Bricks would take Nash across the UK and beyond, jetting the breadth of Europe before tackling the big-leagues, namely America.
However, the sheer weight of demand would eventually remove the shine of boasting a hit record, as Nash became seemingly imprisoned and at war with her own success. Despite the apparently endless promotional grind, she would eventually enjoy a well-earned rest. Nash reflects upon the era now with some trepidation. “It’s all kind of a bit of a blur. I can’t even remember being excited about some of the things I should have been,” she recalls.
“I think I was bored and exhausted really, that’s as simple as it gets. I didn’t really have the passion to keep going,” she admits candidly. “I got really tired of touring and not really writing anything or being creative and just repeating made me feel crappy and low. I wanted to come home and feel excited and into music.”
Which is precisely what followed: Nash negotiated a belated break from her touring commitments, gradually getting her life together back home. Typically, her time off would yield many important personal developments. Nash left home and found a flat with her boyfriend, The Cribs’ Ryan Jarman. She would also indulge in leisurely pursuits, learning to drive and taking up drums. Eventually, Nash would even welcome a smaller, fluffier addition to her life: her pet rabbit Fluffy. It was this and more than contributed to the exact sense of normality that Nash had longed for night after grueling night.
That he time spent recharging the proverbial batteries also went a long way towards ensuring her sophomore effort, My Best Friend Is You, saw the light of day. Although on the whole it has yielded a less emphatic commercial result than its predecessor, the record marks a considerable evolution in the songstress’ craft. Sure, her slick cockney delivery coupled with candid emotion and scintillating wit each make their return, but sonically, My Best Friend Is You is brand new territory. “I wanted it to sound a little more live and rough around the edges and have more influence from the punk stuff I’ve always liked, that harsher sort of stuff that I’ve always really liked,” Nash explains of her latest record.
“I wanted to experiment sonically and play more instruments – play the drums, play bass. I started a new band and I wanted those influences having an effect on the record.”
The album contains two of her best singles to date, the explosive ecstasy of Do-Wah-Doo and the memorably blunt warnings of Kiss That Grrrl. Just as she did with Foundations, Nash displayed not only a distinct attraction to pop music but the wares to pull it off herself. “Every piece of music that I’ve really liked has pop sensibilities, whether it’s like The Buzzcocks or Nirvana... or Cyndi Lauper or Joan Jett... whoever it is, I like the pop melody,” she reveals of her approach to writing.
“I think that comes from growing up and listening to The Beatles and Motown music. I really enjoy melodies and I think that all of my favourite music has some kind of pop sensibility.”
Unsurprisingly, Nash also aimed “to be more opinionated and perhaps more political” throughout the release. The songstress has, in the past, expressed her commitment to the idea of female empowerment, averse to any form of sexism. Infamously outspoken on such issues, Nash inevitably acknowledges the impact her comments can make. “You don’t even have to have opinions: when you’re in the public eye, someone’s going to be looking up to you because that’s just how things are,” she nods.
“I have a lot of young female fans and I really like them. I’ve met a lot of them. I take responsibility for that; I take it seriously,” she declares. “I feel like I have to honour them, in a way, because they honour me in other ways. I have a lot of respect for those girls.”
When pressed upon her own perceived appeal as a role model, Nash exudes impressive modesty. “I’m not going to claim to be a perfect person, because that’s never going to happen... but that’s part of the appeal and why people like my music anyway, because it’s real and it’s human and it has flaws and imperfections. I’m just into having respect for those young women who are at my shows and support me and talk to me and write to me.”
Fortunately, with anticipation for her return tour now well and truly at its peak, one feels that support for Kash Nash won’t be in short supply.
KATE NASH returns to Australia for Playground Weekender, and she plays Billboard The Venue on Friday February 18 – tickets from billboardthevenue.com.au, ticketek.com.au, 132 849 or moshtix.com.au. Her new album My Best Friend Is You is out now through Universal.