by Lindsey Anderson
The days of the nonchalant rock star are a thing of the past. In the world we currently live in, caring and being an active participant in creating positive change is a necessity. Dream Nails is a London-based band that uses their platform and music to emphasize the importance of caring for not only the world at large but also yourself. Tom Tom got the chance to chat with Dream Nails about mistaken identity, how to survive mercury in retrograde and their newest EP ‘Dare To Care.’
TT: Introduce yourselves! (name + pronouns, instrument, age, where you’re from)
Mimi: (she/her) I’m in my 20’s, play bass in Dream Nails and I’m from Toronto, Canada.
Janey: My pronouns are she/her, I’m in my 20s and I sing! I’m from Reading, UK.
Anya: Hello! My pronouns are she/her, I’m in my 20s, I play guitar, and I’m from Hackney, London.
Lucy: (she/her) Pa-ha this reminds of when you used to go ‘A.S.L?’ on Neopets. Anyway, I’m in my 20’s too and I play drums. I’m from NW London.
TT: How did you all meet? What made you all decide you wanted to make music together?
Janey: Anya and I met through feminist activism in London. She was in another band at the time and was one of the only musicians I knew; and I told her that I wanted to start a punk band. I had no idea what I was doing, I had written words that I wanted to turn into songs but didn’t know how – luckily Anya is a phenomenally talented guitarist and together we started to write songs and build a band. Things took off really quickly and after 6 months it was already too much commitment for our first drummer, so Lucy joined us through a Facebook advert.
Lucy: I knew from Janey’s facebook advert that this was the band for me. It said something like ‘badass feminist drummer wanted for badass feminist punk band’- I was like ‘stand aside this is mine.’ Even though I’m self taught and my experience was minimal, we started jamming and it was instantly the perfect fit.
Anya: It has taken a while to get the band lineup solid; and now we’re touring and gigging so much that we’re in each other’s pockets. Jokes are the glue that hold us all together.
Lucy: Jokes. Are. GLUE.
Mimi: Lucy and I met off of gumtree three years ago. We started a band and played two shows, one of which was in Lucy’s kitchen. We stopped playing so I could focus on my studies, so when Lucy recently contacted me about Dream Nails… I was ready.
“The reinventing and taking back of punk ideals on a powerful, radical ride to feminist utopia.”
TT: Why are you called Dream Nails?
Anya: I was cycling home late at night after a band practice and there was a nail salon called ‘Dream Nails’ all lit up. It looked so spooky and powerful; kind of like us!
Janey: It just sounded like a cool band name.
Lucy: We often get confused messages on Facebook, asking us where our nearest nail salon is. Our response is always the same: “Hey sorry we are a punk band.” There’s a whole page in our zine dedicated to those messages.
TT: What prompted you all to call the EP ‘Dare To Care’?
Janey: Dare to Care is all about looking after ourselves and each other. Caring is cool! Taking this shitty world seriously and earnestly working to change it is cool! It’s not okay any more to shrug it off or try and make everything ironic. But also caring for yourself is cool too – and those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s about channeling your anger into action, but also remembering that looking after yourself in a world that seeks to crush you is a radical act – the EP is split into two halves which reflect that.
Anya: We realized that ‘caring’ was one of the common themes of our music and something that we feel makes us stand apart from other bands who use distance and irony so that the music they’re making sounds like one massive shrug of the shoulders. As intersectional feminists we think that people not giving a shit about the world around them is a sorry kind of privilege, especially when you look at what’s happening in politics at the moment.
Lucy: I’m noticing more and more that certain bands and artists are paying unhelpful lip service to feminist and social issues. A lot of it feels superficial and fuels a certain ‘cool’ aesthetic without actually engaging in a meaningful way with the issues being raised. This drives us kind of mad. Like the others said, caring may not look ‘cool’ in a conventional sense – it’s exhausting and is not always compatible with staying up all night and getting trashed after shows – there is work to do and you have to take it seriously.
TT: You all made a zine for ‘Dare To Care’, what message did you want to get across in your zine?
Janey: Reading a zine is an intimate experience of dipping into someone else’s world and ideas. That’s totally what we wanted to achieve with the Dare to Care zine, and it’s full of our thoughts on what self-care truly is, how political action is healing, and the power of witches and feminism. It’s got tips on coping with loneliness, breathing exercises for anxiety, corner-shop herbal remedies and longer writings about punk, feminism and safe spaces. Winter is coming, most of the people we know are suffocating with anxiety and depression right now, so we made the zine as an act of love for all our fans.
Anya: We’ve made two zines now, ‘Dare to Care’ and ‘DIY’. The riot grrrl movement of the 90s built communities worldwide using zine-making as a way to share ideas. I like to think our zines are a continuation of that tradition in some ways. Our music brings feminists together – often from different countries – to be joyful and angry in the same place and our zines are a reflection of that.
“Dare to Care is all about looking after ourselves and each other. Caring is cool!”
Lucy: Hmm, I love zines because they are a decentralising force. Like the other two said, it’s for our community and people who follow us to enjoy and learn from. For me, zines are at the core of punk philosophy. By this I mean that at a real punk show, everyone is the same and there for the same reason; it just so happens that at that moment the band members are the ones with the instruments and mics and making the loudest noise; but it’s an inclusive space and not hierarchical. Our zine celebrates the sharing of knowledge, not the rabbinical preaching of it.
TT: I really love your song Merkury! Do you have any tips for surviving periods of time when Mercury is in Retrograde?
Mimi: Look both ways before crossing the road!
Janey: Embrace that things are just going to go wrong, just remember you’re not the only one. Loads of people always seem to break up in mercury retrogrades.
Anya: Through personal experience, don’t double-text a potential chirpse [London slang for flirt or potential love-interest] just because you think there’s a small chance they didn’t get your first text. Don’t let Mercury merk you.
Lucy: Charge your crystals and buckle up, sweet babies.
TT: What are your plans as a band for the final weeks of 2017? Any 2018 plans in the works that you can tell us about?
Mimi: Lots of shows including a punk xmas party called Feministmas that we’re playing with our friends Big Joanie and Charmpit.
Janey: We’re releasing a vinyl of our song Vagina Police with Everything Sucks Records in January 2018! It’s our first vinyl ever and we’re working with Everything Sucks Records to make it happen – it’s the first song we ever wrote.
Anya: The music video for our first single off Dare to Care EP, ‘Tourist’, is coming out really soon, featuring us on a babes-only seaside trip to Dreamland, Margate!
Lucy: Just the usual: playing shows, eating chips, attempting to overthrow the patriarchal order.
TT: How would you describe your EP to someone that has never heard of you before?
Janey: Raucous, chunky and gloriously catchy.
Anya: Fast, fun and fierce as fuck.
Mimi: The reinventing and taking back of punk ideals on a powerful, radical ride to feminist utopia.
Lucy: All the above, fuelled by Pringles™.
TT: What would your 10 year old selves think of ‘Dare To Care’?
Janey: She would have much more reassurance knowing that she wasn’t the only one who saw the world in this way. When you’re a young woman with a critical mind and a strong sense of justice, but you don’t yet know the meaning of the word feminism, it’s incredibly isolating and shit.
Anya: 10 year old Anya would absolutely not believe her eyes or ears as she was often to be found knee-deep in a quarry looking for dinosaur fossils with a little chisel set and goggles at the time. But that’s cool; she’d probably still like it.
Mimi: My 10 year old self was obsessed with playing piano and wasn’t aware of many women in music. I would probably pick up a guitar then and there and be inspired af.
Lucy: Initially, she would have been genuinely shocked that women could play their OWN instruments in public. She then would have seen there was a whole world beyond her Spice Girl-normative one; reassessing the nature of her own friendships, sisterhood, female creativity/musicianship, and picked up her drumsticks 12 years earlier than she actually did. She would have still slept with ‘Spiceworld’ under her pillow though.
Keep up with Dream Nails on all their accounts!