Learn all & more about up & coming bands in 10 questions…
23 January 2019
London DREAM NAILS are four strong-willed, outspoken, confident and highly committed feminist DIY punk witches standing up, fighting hard, and singing and shouting loud & clear in support of women’s and non-binaries’ universal rights and unconditional respect and equal treatment for all the oppressed. Being a bit fed up with playing boozy venues with lousy sound equipment and where not just everybody can get in, the band decided to play an acoustic gig in a… bookshop! The special unplugged event was recorded and is out now, titled TAKE UP SPACE. It’s an amazing document of a frisky and spirited performance. At times it sounds like an all for one, one for all gospel-punk gathering with everybody present participating. Dream Nails are real, their songs and beliefs are real, their space is real and their unplugged adventure is an inspiring example of what the DIY ethos is all about. A truly striking ‘anything is possible’ statement. Before we pull the plug and talk with the ladies let’s have this one electrical chant as a warm-up. Move over macho creeps, here’s the vagina police…
Hello Dream Nails,
Hello Mimi, Janey, Lucy and Anya…
1. You describe yourselves as ‘DIY punk witches’.
What do you exactly mean by that characterization?
Mimi: “Women were branded as ‘witches’ basically when they intimidated men,
weren’t ‘pure’ or weren’t ‘as a woman should be’. This is a part of every woman’s
history of oppression, which has been erased, and we need to acknowledge it
and reclaim our heritage.”
Janey: “Being a witch is about challenging traditional power structures, listening
to your intuition and self-knowledge, and sharing your energy with fellow witches.
Lucy: “To be a witch is to follow in a tradition of women denied legitimacy, credibility
or meaningful power who persevered despite the violence and oppression of their
times. They invented and shared their spoils and creations.”
Anya: “We can predict and control the future. Most of the good things that have
happened to the band so far – from headlining a stage at Glastonbury Festival to
touring all over Europe – first started on Janey’s vision board.
2. When and why did the idea pop up to play an acoustic gig?
Mimi: “We have never done anything like this before. Our gig was at Housmans,
which is a radical bookshop in London, and the perfect place for us to play an
acoustic gig. It was magical being surrounded by radical babes and radical books!
Janey: ” We’re really keen to challenge the limitations set by punk venues. This show
had more under-18, Muslim and disabled fans than our regular shows, which shows
how inaccessible – both physically and culturally – typical boozy venues are. Playing
in a bookshop is more punk than playing in a dark, beer-stained basement.”
Anya: “Most of our songs are written on an acoustic guitar so we wanted to take them back to their roots, strip them bare and let the lyrics be heard. It felt more like standup comedy in some parts cause everyone could hear the punchlines in the tunes!”
Lucy: “It was a new challenge for us. We wanted to show ourselves and our fans that our songs aren’t just made of raw punk energy. We are proud of our musicianship and the quality of our songwriting and chemistry as a group. Hopefully, we proved this and retained the raucousness too!”
3. The overall feel of the unplugged record is highly lively, funnily spontaneous and most of all ‘real’. Like a sort of gospel-punk gathering. What atmosphere did you have in mind before doing this special project?
Mimi: “Thanks! We didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out to be a really beautiful experience. There was no stage, lots of people were sitting on the floor around us, it was totally different to a usual gig setting. We are lively performers and our songs are the same, that’s something that can’t be lost in an acoustic setting. It definitely was intimate, and real!
Janey: “We’ve already got a lot of onstage chemistry and energy, so adding audience questions into that mix just made it even more fun.
Anya: “Definitely conversational, between each other and the audience. Lucy doesn’t normally get a mic to speak onstage from behind the drums, so I was especially appreciating her witticisms and wisdom that night.”
Lucy: “Ah yes, finally it was my time to show the world the jokes they have been hitherto denied. To be honest, we didn’t really intend to create any specific ‘atmosphere’, that’s genuinely what we are like all the time. Except when we’re hungry. Then you don’t wanna know us. There are so many dry bands wafting around that musicians with a personality unfortunately seem unusual.”
4. What’s the story behind the album’s title ‘TAKE UP SPACE’?
Mimi: “It actually came to me in a dream! The act of taking up space in your everyday life is empowering. Women are always trying to make themselves seem smaller, out of the way, not stick out, because it’s unsafe for us to be seen. It’s about taking up physical space for ourselves, showing ourselves we deserve the space we occupy in this world.”
Anya:“Yes! It started as a dream, then the ideas and images became a T-shirt we really wanted to make with astronauts and spaceships. Then we named the album ‘Take Up Space‘. We’d taken up space by invading a bookshop for the live show.”
Janey: “And it’s weird Mimi had the dream, because Anya and I once drafted a song
called ‘Take Up Space‘ but it never quite made it to the live show, maybe it’s a sign we should revive it…”
Anya: “We should!”
5. The unplugged album ‘TAKE UP SPACE’ is announced as a playful soundtrack to being a twenty-something woman in London today. So how does it actually feel to be a twenty-something woman in London these days?
Mimi: “Sometimes I walk around London feeling fabulous, like I’m in my own movie, and sometimes I want to cry because it seems like all I do is commute! London can definitely
be unforgiving. It’s hard to afford anything, it’s hard to date, it’s hard to get a job. Basically, everything is hard.
Janey: It feels like your friends and the ways they make you laugh is so essential to survival, because otherwise it’s all just too bleak.”
Anya: “It feels like the world politics bears down with a palpable weight on everything.
You say Brexit, we say hex it.”
Lucy: “I promised myself I would not spend my twenties in my hometown worrying about money. Granted, I have spent the last 5 years doing this, but this unforgiving place makes us restless and aware – the perfect ecosystem for the punk band of your dreams, don’t you think?”
6. The cover of the record looks like if the sky is the limit for DREAM NAILS.
What or who inspired the artwork and who’s the author?
Janey: “Sumena Owen! She’s an amazing London-based illustrator who we adore.”
Anya:”She truly made Mimi’s dream a reality.”
Lucy: “Click on her Instagram account and buy her beautiful wears!”
7. Tell us about the new songs on the album?
Mimi: “We’ve slowly been adding new songs to our set, and it’s been very useful to workshop them live, see which ones work and which ones don’t. The new song I’m really excited about is ‘Jillian’. It’s about Jillian Michaels who’s a fitness personality. I used to do her workout DVD ‘30 Day Shred’ all of the time. I actually memorized her chat throughout the entire thing! And yes if you do it for 30 days, it really does work. You can hear some of her quotes throughout the song.”
Janey: “Ok, I’m really hyped for ‘Jillian’ too, but I’ll talk about ‘Time Ain’t No Healer’. It’s about trauma healing, and the fact that running away from your problems or trying to bury them never works, and unless you face it all head on, you’re going to be overwhelmed by the painful memories.”
Anya: “‘Swimming Pool’ is really fun on this record. It’s about coming out in your mid-twenties. And its got surf punk swagger and sweet harmonies.”
Lucy: “‘Landlady’ is also a new one which contains maybe my favourite lyric which I believe Janey came up with: ‘be ruthless with your preservation, love yourself without hesitation.’ YES!!
A fitness punk song…
8. ‘Deep Heat’ is a song about that idiotic ‘President Of The Divided States Of America’. Tell us more about it.
Dream Nails: “We believe that joy and rage are not mutually exclusive emotions, and this song combines them in three-part-harmony. It’s about right-wing politicians more than just orange Donald, but we first released it around the time when he was running for president, as it seemed to capture a lot of the emotions people felt at that time.”
Anti-right wing manifesto…
9. Suppose MTV asked you to do an unplugged session for them would you do it or refuse as DIY punks don’t want to be related with the corporate music industry?
Mimi: “Interesting question. There are some companies that really make the music industry hopeless, those that basically have a monopoly on the industry, and back artists into a corner so they have no choice but to use their platforms. Although MTV is owned by a giant corporation, I don’t count MTV as one of those evil companies. Yes they’re a music channel, but they’re in the TV business. If they asked a band like us to play, I would commend them for being ‘risky’, by giving a political, all-women punk band that kind of platform. I would totally be down to play it.”
Janey: Our goal is to make all the women and nonbinary people of this world feel powerful as fuck, so if we can reach them via MTV, fuck yeah.
Anya: “All the band are obsessed with ‘Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York’, in fact it was a real inspiration for this album, so yeh!’
10. Will this be a one-off or will DREAM NAILS undertake an unplugged tour?
Mimi: “This is something we’ve seriously been talking about. An unplugged tour would give us an opportunity to play for people who usually can’t make it to our shows. It would allow us to hold all-ages shows as well, which is usually impossible for us as most venues are bars!”
Janey: “There’s nothing in the diary right now, but we’re 99% going to do it!”
Anya: “Calling all radical and independent bookshops. Page us!”
Thank you Mimi, Janey, Lucy and Anya!
May the road rise with DREAM NAILS!
‘TAKE UP SPACE‘ in full
Stream/purchase right here…