Wherever London’s finest, “feminist punk-witches”, Dream Nails, took their music next was always going to be intriguing; what we definitely weren’t expecting was an acoustic album! The band’s ferocious, punk and Riot-Grrrl inspired live show, doesn’t obviously lend itself to the acoustic reinterpretation, yet for an intimate live show in a bookshop, that’s exactly what they did. As singer Janey Starling explains, “this album was an accident! We didn’t mean to make it, we just did an intimate acoustic gig for 100 fans in our favourite bookshop, because we’re sick of our lyrics and harmonies getting lost on shitty PA systems in punk venues. Then it turned out pretty bloody good, and we wanted to share it!”
The album is fourteen tracks, featuring new interpretations of old favourites, and even more intriguingly, entirely new material. Reinterpretations of tracks like Tourist, Merkury and Fascism Is Coming, highlight both the band’s effortless harmonies and cutting lyrical edge. Of the new tracks, Jillian, is a bassy-tribue to female fitness inspired by Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, Swimming Pool is possibly the purest pop-song they’ve ever written, while recent single Chirpse Degree Burns (Text Me Back) is playful ode to being ghosted by a crush. Possibly our favourite of the lot is the intense Bully Girl; all stunning three part harmonies, rapid-fire vocal delivery and bassy rumbling. Take Up Space might be an unexpected move for Dream Nails, yet it’s a triumphant one, allowing both their lyrical message and sense of fun to shine through. As they say on the album itself, “the two key drivers of our songs are anger and joy”, two emotions blending perfectly and marking out the borders of Dream Nails’ musical world, a place where humour and rage collide in perfect harmony.
Today the band have put together a mixtape of the songs they’re working out to, to get into shape for the intense live shows, fighting fascism and generally finding ways to take up space in 2019. Featuring the likes of Nadia Rose, Christine and the Queens and Yo! Majesty.
Janey: As you know if you’ve heard our music, we’re done with living in a world that makes us feel so perpetually unsafe, especially in public spaces. Our new acoustic album is called “Take Up Space!”, and that’s our motto this year! While we’re campaigning and pushing every day for the world to have less male violence, as women who are frequently out in public spaces and around drunk obnoxious men, we want to know we have the strength and skill to knock a man down and run away fast if we need to.
So we’re all getting hench as fuck, learning to fight and walk taller! Here’s the music that we draw strength from.
Nadia Rose – BOOM!
What a phenomenal rapper, and the fact that she tours with a 10-strong squad of her best girlfriends dancing around her really elevates her onstage performance to another dimension. We saw Nadia Rose at Boomtown last year and the atmosphere onstage and offstage was SO electrifying.
Cardi B – Get Up 10
I love Cardi B! She’s honest, powerful and works so fucking hard – she totally deserves all the success she’s having, plus her instagram is jooookes. She makes music that makes women feel powerful and challenges the limitations they come up against and I am HERE for that.
“Reasons to hit the gym that aren’t patriarchal beauty standards:
-outrun the cops
-outlive your enemies
-more stamina for sex
-actually sleep at night
-get strong to fight racists
-listen to music without ppl interrupting”
This really speaks to me! It wasn’t until recently that I started going to the gym to get strong, I’ve always gone just for the purpose of losing weight, I never even thought I could have muscles. Make yourself a playlist full of songs that make you feel FIERCE, put your earbuds in, get to the gym and show yourself how strong you are.
Riton, Kah-Lo – Ginger
Jax Jones Ft. Raye – You Don’t Know Me
Fav lyric “I mean, we can throw shapes together, but it doesn’t mean you’re in my circle”
Anya: Getting fitter has been really good for my mental health, but to be honest, it’s also been a necessity with our touring schedule and energy of the live set we’ve prepared. It’s really not about jumping around for the first few songs then getting sicky burps and heartburn before the halfway point. I figured jogging was the best way to counter it. That, and Lucozade Orange.
Christina and the Queens ft. Dâm-Funk – Damn, dis-moi
This is a pure queer banger, the sexual power of which should be harnessed when you are about to smash those reps and are not-so-secretly admiring your nascent 2019 gains in front of the gym mirrors.
-M-, Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté – Bal de Bamako ft. Fatoumata Diawara, Oxmo Puccino
Lucy: It’s easy to forget you’re resilient. Exercise is both a reinforcement of this when I’m feeling low and the movement of the body eases the restlessness of the mind. I love running, yoga, swimming, bouldering to remind myself what I’m capable of, meet my edge and just be in my own body and little world. I’ve interestingly recently noticed that I only enjoy working out to female vocals – unsurprisingly they’re more motivational for me! ;-p
Yo! Majesty – Club Action
Zed Bias – Neighbourhood
Take Up Space is out now, and available via Bandcamp. Click HERE for more information on Dream Nails.