💖 What is Nun Habit about? / Where did the name come from? / How did you set up?
Gregory: Nun Habit is about having fun.
Kate: What Greg said.
We began after I was saying to a mate that I wanted to play music. That mate took me to a Savages gig with Emma so we could meet because Em wanted to be a drummer. The two of us decided to have a jam one day & Em brought Greg & Rach along with her. We played some sounds & went to the pub after.
It was a really fun day so we decided to keep doing it over & over & over again.
Then Selina came & joined us & we became “Nun Habit” – a name derived after a long & nonsensical conversation involving nuns, a brilliant drag act called Shesus, & a bunch of other stuff that none of us can really remember the exact details of now.
💖 Tell us about your latest release! – What inspired the songs & what’s the message?
Gregory: Well for the AA side, Slip n Slide was written in two separate chunks a few months apart so that’s why it changes halfway through. We just mashed two songs together really.
For ages, I’d been really intrigued by the idea of getting arrested for ‘lingering with intent’ (intent to do what??), so that fed into it along with a bunch of other loosely linked thoughts. I suppose if it’s about anything, it’s probably about stopping worrying about how things are perceived.
Mostly, I’m just pleased that we managed to write a song with some disco in it.
Kate: All of our songs are kind of autobiographical in their own ways. We’re inspired a lot by real-life events & the people around us – mostly people we love like our mates, families & partners, but also random people on Twitter…
Soundwise, the album is a dreamy hodgepodge of weird noises, loud stuff, fuzzy stuff, shouting, ceramic birds from Iran, synths, & stories. We love a good story.
I wouldn’t say we have a “message”, per se, but if I had to try & wrap up everything that Nun Habit is into a message, I’d say that our idea of fun is to make spaces where everyone feels supported, loved, & safe. No one needs to go in a box with a label on it, no one needs to be treated as “less than” – that’s no fun for anyone.
💖 Is it sometimes good to be a ‘Righteous Jerk’?
Kate: Yes! But it would be good to dial down on the ‘jerk’ levels, where possible.
Exact quotes from two break-ups provided part of the fodder for this tune: “I’ve met someone else & I like her better than you.”; “I want to see other people… but I don’t really want to see you anymore.” How lovely… Very “Jerk” -ish in terms of their blunt, bone-janglingly brutal, pull-no-punches delivery. But also “righteous” due to extreme honesty.
This song is about that moment afterward (which can be months or years, but hopefully hours…) where you realise that the whole situation wasn’t healthy or right for you anyway & with hindsight, you just wish you’d got in first to be the jerk-ish / righteous breaker-uperer instead of the brutalised & gutted breaker-uperee. (KNM Edit: Love the terminology! 👌)
Selina: Cummin’ Up Caribbean takeaway in New Cross does a supremely righteous jerk chicken.
💖 What inspires you to play music?
Kate: Going to see live bands! We are all massive fans. There are so many incredible musicians & it really makes you want to go see more musicians & be a musician yourself.
London & Manchester have brilliant DIY scenes – we’ve had the incredible fortune of seeing & playing with outstanding acts like ILL, Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something, The Slugs, GUTTS, Upset Stomach (I’ve just realised that writing those last three in a row sounds like a Saturday morning with a 5-year-old…), Vandampire, Girls Like Us, Gravey, athabaska, Hurtling, Personal Best… The list goes on & on.
We can’t wait for gigs to come back.
Gregory: I’m just gonna carry on the list some more: Dog Chocolate, Clingfilm, The Other Ones, CURRLS, I, Doris. God, I love bands. I would love to play a gig with Charismatic Megafauna at some point too, they’re great.
Selina: I concur with Kate, but also at the risk of sounding a bit cheesy, having lovely bandmates inspires me to play more for sure. I had barely played my guitar for years before joining up with these guys but it’s so much fun playing with them that I can’t wait to get stuck into new ideas.
Everyone is welcome to bring anything to the table & it makes you feel really comfortable being more adventurous with your sounds & ideas.
💖 What’s your songwriting process? Has it evolved over the years?
Gregory: As with most Nun Habit songs, the two tracks on the single started with a vague outline of a song brought along by one of us & it grew quite organically from there.
We’re definitely better than the sum of our parts. I really love how we all chip in with ideas & so, regardless of who wrote the first bit, they come to feel like we’ve all got joint ownership of them.
Selina: The others had been playing together for a while before I joined & had the first EP pretty much written. So, originally, I just took the existing songs away & just tried to write some parts that beefed the sound up a little a bit or complimented what was already there if needed.
It’s been such a great journey so far though because everyone in the band is so open to each other’s ideas & there to help each other improve. On this album, I feel like I’ve had the confidence to throw in new ideas & get more involved with the arrangements, etc. As Greg said, we tend to do things best when someone brings a vague idea & we all participate together from there.
Greg: We didn’t sound like Nun Habit until Selina came along.
Kate: What Greg & Selina said. We’re at our best when we write together, I think. We encourage each other to try new things – things that are beautiful, things that are strange, things that are grubby & awkward, things we think we can’t do. We also encourage each other to try not to do things…. It’s a really lovely & nurturing space when we’re all making stuff together.
The Nun mentality is that nothing’s ever really a mistake, it just is. That makes it easier to be brave. Songwriting can be really daunting, especially if one or all of us are contributing something that’s intimate or personal. So, I love the Nun Habit approach – all encouragement & support, all in together, we keep what we like & chuck what we don’t.
“We encourage each other to try new things – things that are beautiful, things that are strange, things that are grubby & awkward, things we think we can’t do.”
💖 Who are your main influences in music/life?
Selina: Blur was probably my first love & the reason I wanted to pick up a guitar in the first place. & then via Graham Coxon, I heard lots of US alternative stuff like Pixies, Sonic Youth, etc. So that kind of stuff has probably influenced how I play & want to write & sound as a guitarist, etc. I also love shoegaze-y type stuff & a bit of post-rock too, so I think that comes through a little bit at times when you might hear some weird sounds floating around in the background.
Gregory: Oh yeah! I’m a full-on Graham Coxon stan, too. Hope he’s not done anything problematic, it’d make me very sad. I love Elastica, too. My brother got me into them when I was quite young & I think I’ve probably been subconsciously trying to rip off their sound ever since I started playing guitar.
Kate: Musically: PJ Harvey, Sleater-Kinney, Nirvana, Jen Cloher. Blur & Elastica were formative for me, too! Life: my family, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Celeste Barber, Ruby Hamad, Amy Poehler, & Samin Nosrat.
I want to be all of them when I grow up. Yes. All of them.
💖 Tell us about your aesthetic
Gregory: Adidas trainers. ( & Blundstone boots for Emma ’cause she’s fancy)
Kate: I concur with Greg, but with the addition of dangly & bespangled earrings (Greg), band tees (Kate), Fatberg tees (Selina), really fluffy Polartec jumpers (Emma), & Brokeback Mountain style fleece-lined denim jackets (Rachel).
Selina: I’m still working on it but I’m confident I will finally nail a *lewk* down soon.
💖 When you’re not doing band stuff, what do you get up to? (Links to any side projects are welcome!)
Kate: Emma & I had a side project for one afternoon in lockdown where we wrote & recorded “Love Songs for Other People’s Pets” – an 8 track album in under 6 minutes. My friend Rob did the cover art on his phone.
Greg runs online sessions for DIY musos who want to learn how to record music. He also makes zines, has a passion for photocopiers, & is an exceptionally talented filmmaker & writer. I really want him to write a novel so I can read it.
Em is a brilliant gardener & after being locked inside all year, an excellent cook – she can grow anything & has the all-time best knife skills out of anyone we know.
Selina has a secret side project we can’t ever tell you about, it’s comedy genius & I hope it never ends. She is also a sometime DJ with @good.afternoon.manchester.
Rach is obsessed with mushrooms & cooking over fires. She can identify a mushroom at 100 paces & loves a ramble, a forage, & the sweet sweet smell of a burning outdoor brasier (not to be confused with brassiere…). She also knows every lyric to every Bruce Springsteen song ever. If Rach ever goes on Mastermind her specialist subject will be Springsteen.
Gregory: I should chip in here to mention that Kate is not only an incredible multi-instrumentalist (she’s much better than any of us at our own instruments), but she’s also a wonderful cook, incredibly clever, made some of the funniest videos I’ve ever seen while in quarantine, is a much better writer than I am & is just the best friend a person could have.
Kate: Thanks man, you’re really lovely.
Emma: I agree that Kate’s talents are never-ending & as her housemate, as well as her bandmate, I would like to add opera singing in the shower to the list.
Selina: I also do a little bit of DJ’ing (badly) with Pumping Iron in London (& Good Afternoon in Manchester) & then the rest of the time I can be found loitering around Stepney City Farm hoping to hang out with the massive pig that lives there.
💖 We noticed a link to Hackney Migrant Centre on your Linktree – can you tell us about that?
Kate: HMC is an amazing, local, volunteer run organisation that helps asylum seekers, refugees, & people with migration problems access healthcare, legal services, food, housing & education.
I’ve been lucky enough to join them as part of their team of advocates, on & off for the past 6 years – they are incredible at helping people navigate the Home Office’s “hostile environment” & they make sure that everyone who walks through their doors is treated with respect, dignity & kindness. We couldn’t love them more.
If people would like to donate or become a volunteer there, they can look them up at https://hackneymigrantcentre.org.uk/
Or @hackneymigrantcentre on Insta for more info.
💖 What one thing could everyone be doing to make the scene a better place?
Kate: Go see gigs!!
People often think of gigs as a weekend thing, but we regularly go out midweek to see people as well. A few sodas watching a band is a perfect hump day treat & a brilliant way to bust out of any negative headspace that work has put you in & get you through to the weekend…
💖 What has been your favourite gig so far & what venues would you love to play again?
Gregory: Every time we’ve played The Victoria in Dalston we’ve had a blast. I can’t wait to do it again in August.
Kate: What Greg said (I say that a lot). Apart from Dalston, my all-time favourite top three gigs that we’ve played are as follows:
- Halloween gig with ILL at The Old Abbey Taphouse in Manchester where everyone went nuts & Emma sang a Patti Smith cover;
- At Paper Dress Vintage, SO MUCH FUN. Loads of brilliant queer bands & everyone having a lovely time;
- A Christmas gig at The Victoria in Walthamstow (all pubs called “The Victoria” seem to be winners) where we rocked out so hard that Emma accidentally kicked the drum kit off the stage.
- A gig at The Lock Tavern in Camden with Gravey where about thirty members of the Spanish chapter of The Cure Fanclub turned up & we all hung out afterward & did a lot of really great dance moves.
Okay that was four not three. I just thought of two more. I’ll stop. Emma doing stuff seems to rate gigs very highly with me.
Selina: Getting to play at Sounds From The Other City festival in Salford was a big deal for me as it’s something I’ve been involved with on & off over the years & it was great for me to return home with my lovely band in tow & get to grace the stage there, alongside lots of other awesome bands handpicked by the most dedicated bunch of promoters you could wish for!
💖 What’s next for you lot? We heard you have more news coming up; can you spill any of the deets?
Kate: We have a little creation made by Greg that will be getting released to the world in June & we can’t wait!!! He’s made a really cute, fun thing & we love it a lot (I’m calling it a “thing” because we are very mysterious). Then on 14 August, we’re having an ALBUM LAUNCH PARRRRTTTYYYY!!!!! GIGGGGG!!!! At our heartland The Victoria in Dalston!!!!!! I do not apologise for the extreme over-use of exclamation points!!!! I’m just this excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gregory: & an album! You didn’t mention the album. I suppose it was implied though. Should also point out that the ‘thing’ is kind of actually 3 things, one of which is another single from the album & a second of which is a remix of that single that my friend Josh made. I’m not sure why Kate’s insisting on mystery for the thing I made but I’ll roll with it.
Kate: THE ALBUM!!!! Only the most impressive & involved thing we’ve ever done… of course I would forget the central focus of our lives for the last two years… It’s called “Hedge Fun” & we can’t wait for people to hear it. & I don’t know why I decided on mystery either. (This is why I am not in marketing.) It’s a video clip!!!! With the cutest little creature in it, I love them completely. They are so cute that I have now started hugging my washing-up gloves.
Gregory: For clarity (& only because this confused me for ages, though it might be common knowledge/v obvious), Australians call music videos ‘video/film clips’.
Kate: I have only noticed this just now that you’ve pointed it out. No wonder everyone’s been looking at me weird.
(KNM EDIT: LOL!!! 😂 Just loving watching this unfold!)
💖 Dates for any upcoming shows/livestreams/releases, etc?
- 1 June – The video clip will flow across the internets & make everyone hug their washing-up gloves.
- 3 June – Our Kickstarter will end & we will put together the vinyl to get to our backers as soon as we can!!
- 1 August – RELEASE OF “HEDGE FUN” TO THE WORLD!!!!!! & if the gods smile on us, the vinyl will be ready on this day as well so we can start sending them out to all of our backers & anyone who pre-orders from our Bandcamp.
- 14 August – LAUNCH PARRRRTTYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!! WITH VINYL!!!!!! MAYBE WITH MERRCCHHHH IF WE CAN MANAGE IT!!!! WE REALLY LOVE BAND TEES!!!!!!!
💖 Links to any social media & anywhere/everywhere we can listen to you!
Jane Staley on Righteous Jerk/Slip n Slide:
Five-piece noise dolls Nun Habit have gifted to us a banger of a double A-side in anticipation of their soon-to-be-released album, ‘Hedge Fun’!
The songs show us just how fun, reflective, & amazingly eclectic Nun Habit really are. & sexy, too! Their saucy riffs pull you in before their equally slinky vocals have you hooked.
Righteous Jerk is part call-to-action, part bittersweet reflection, with spot-on lyrics about how it feels to be dumped by that tosser who you should have dumped first. We are 100% here for it!
The most epic songs in history have happened when a band stitches their different songs together, Frankenstein’s monster style, in a seamless way… Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, Paranoid Android by Radiohead… & now Slip n Slide by Nun Habit! The Thurston Moore-Esque vocals give off effortlessly cool vibes while the lyrics mirror the transient nature of the track, as we rush headlong into a dance-y happy-sad disco outro! (Step aside, New Order!)
Nun Habit’s A.A. side showcases the musical genius of each member of the band as they take us by the hand & guide us through a musical journey full of surprising twists & turns. We can’t wait for the album! (& also for that motherfreakin’ album launch gig! Yes please!!!)