The Positive Action Punk Band Urging You All To Be Better Feminists 

There is always an intense raw energy in the room when a group of creative women meet. It is an almost indescribable buzz of support, knowledge, and understanding. A vibe that best describes our shoot with four-piece Dream Nails. Vocalist Janey, bassist Mimi, guitarist Anya, drummer Lucy, photographer Poppy Marriott, stylist Veronica Llamas, and ourselves all crammed into a small flat in Islington to talk about everything from cystitis cures to polyamory to reproductive rights to protest music. This was more than an interview and photoshoot; it was a much-needed communal therapy session. 

Dream Nails’ journey to creating confidently driven, head banging, protest tunes began at a feminist action group – an incredibly logical starting point for a band which doesn’t just preach feminism in a blasé manor, but are practical in their approach to inducing change. These are four women that are educated in their practice and realise that they aren’t done learning yet. Lead singer Janey told us that “Intersectional Feminism is a life long journey, we’re all constantly learning,” and it is this constant growth that has established Dream Nails as the wiser, cooler sisters that you wish you had growing up.

Lyrics such as ‘Nobody cares that your dick is on fire’, and ‘Your body is not your own, you have no autonomy’ punctuate Dream Nails’ angry anarchic sound. A band that not only take full charge of their politically spiked narratives, Dream Nails also have complete control over the manufacturing of their zines as “the bits in-between the music that we can’t say on stage”. They combine music and DIY culture in a way which is reminiscent of the Riot Grrl movement, if it was intersectional, progressive and happening in 2018.

Lucy tells us that “as a band we play our instruments and we control our whole image and the zines are an extension of that philosophy. Zines are unedited and it’s up to us to create and manufacture it.” Whilst DIY publishing isn’t going to kick Trump out of office or overthrow the patriarchy, it can, and will continue to change individual attitudes on a small scale. “Ultimately when it comes to liberation movements, a lot of the change is individual attitude and doing a lot of learning and processing. You just sit and absorb it, and from that perspective it’s one of the best ways to initiate change because it’s personal – there are no defenses. You can just soak it up,” Janey says. “They [zines] aren’t enough by themselves to do it, you’ve also got to be an activist and do things!", Anya adds.

However, Dream Nails are not just publishing zines for the fun of it! Their most recent double A-side vinyl titled ‘Vagina Police’ was released with a zine featuring articles about reproductive rights of women in prison, trans women, lesbian parenting, teenage mothers, birth and an article written by an asylum seeker, and 100% of the profit made went to The Abortion Support Network - just one of the ways in which the band are using their platform to stir up positive action. Another way in which Dream Nails are shaking their listeners, viewers, and fans into action is through their refreshing use of social media to counteract all the “vain dross” we see on our screens every day. Lucy says “the danger of social media, especially amongst young women, is that it just makes you feel inferior and self -conscious and lowers your self -esteem. Janey does the social media and manipulates it so it completely counters all the vain vacuous shit.” Janey adds “the way people use the internet can either be a mirror or a window, and social media very often is a mirror, but we always use it as a window. What’s amazing about our social media is that we have connected with so many people all over the world. There’s are a real magic power about having direct connections with people all over the world and forming a global feminist sisterhood.”

Using social media to create empowering spaces for women and thriving online female communities is exceptionally important. However, girls supporting girls is a notion that should understandably transcend the realms of the internet and manifest itself in real life. When we asked the band exactly how important they felt it was to champion other women/non-binary people, Lucy replied saying: “It’s absolutely vital, and that’s one of the most amazing things– look at us now! Every music video, every photoshoot has all been about bringing women creatives together and celebrating each other. The vibe in the room when we’re all together and executing our evil amazing plans is amazing is because we want to triumph each other, and you don’t see that in any industry, especially in creative industries. We’re so desperate to big each other up and we want each other to shine.”

And shine they do! Dream Nails’ energising live show boasts “femmes to the front”, because they all “write songs that come from experience of living in a patriarchy and the shit that makes us angry. I’m not going to sing about rape into the eyes of some drunk man at the front, fuck that!”, Janey says.

Photography Poppy Marriott


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