Introducing The Nah: a Wollongong band with something to say

I remember seeing The Nah for the first time last year at a local bar, and to be fair, I was really nervous to walk into it. Being queer, sometimes I don’t feel super comfortable walking into gigs, just in the fear that I’ll stick out like an echidna in a nudist colony.

But alas, I plucked up the courage to accompany a friend and my oh my, I hadn’t felt that comfortable at a show since I came out to my super duper gay uncle.

A procreation of communal anguish, The Nah are Wollongong’s self-professed soft punk gems changing the world one song at a time.

Their inception is the perfect introduction to The Nah’s ethos, each member meeting one another at some sort of community event or establishment:

We all crossed paths around about the same general time in 2015, I think. I met Shal through a mutual friend; we put on a pretty cute flea market fundraiser together at the small venue I worked at in Wollongong called Janes. I also met Chelsey there when we put on charity gig that prioritised women/LGBT+ performers called Take Care Fest, and then I met Jess when her and Chels reached out to do Pride Tide shows.”

“I think it’s pretty cool we all kind of came together through some kind of DIY/community-focused arts organising. I remember Shal and I kinda bonded over a love of Taco Cat and were playing some HAIM covers in her bedroom with a pretty loose desire of starting a band.

The Nah have been together and making music for over two years now, located in Wollongong.

I think we fit well in Wollongong because we have a really expansive and diverse group of mates and acquaintances who are all hungry for culture and art and music in the gong who are super supportive of us as a band and the events we are part of“.

I think in Wollongong there is this thing where a lot of people just want to see local artists do well and it’s not as competitive as such“.

Smack bang in the middle of a regional tour as we speak, The Nah are planning to release some new material real soon.

“… we’re about to head up north in my dad’s Winnebago to play in Newy, Port Macquarie and Byron. After this run of shows I think we’re gonna take a little bit of time off to write some new music and maybe just maybe record a single.”

As self-defined soft punk gems, it’s clear that The Nah have had varying influences. The dynamics of the band are complex, and the band feels as if it’s a well curated collective:

CHELS: “I grew up on a steady diet of dance music and disco, which I think comes through in my drumming. I also had a regrettable nu-metal period as a preteen, which led into a pretty broad musical taste afterwards, I was an indie kid and a hipster”.

JESS: “I listened exclusively to RnB and pop until I was a teen then got depressed and started listening to Radiohead, Bjork, Sigur Ros and Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong jazz standards. I’ve always wanted to make music but only recently have opened up to the idea of making not-sad music. I have no commitment to any specific genre, I’m open to lots of styles though I’ll always be an angsty teen at heart”.

SHAL:I was exclusively soft punk/emo as a young lass but also heaps in to riot girl stuff. I have this weird influence that spans from like MCR to Bikini Kill. I was heaps in to ABBA as well.

BEL: “I listened to too much emo and pop punk growing up, but the music that influenced me most at the time was from the Buffy soundtrack haha. They had The Breeders, Mazzy Star, Bif Naked and Cibo Matto, and some of them played live on set; it was very corny and cool.”

Recently, The Nah supported none other than Camp Cope and Chastity Belt, all of whom have voices that need to be heard.

I have very strong messages to share about my experience as a trans woman in this world, and social justice in general”, Chelsey, drummer of The Nah says. “I love sharing that with people in a way that’s a bit fun and enjoyable rather than solemn.

Jess and I had an interview promoting a Pride Tide festival we were putting on in the Gong a couple of years ago. It was a community LGBT+ radio show and it was rather nice. On the way home however, we heard on the radio one of the hosts go on a tirade about how trans women are too sensitive and was freely throwing around slurs. It was pretty shocking, seeing as I had just been in the studio, and it was so antithetical to the event we were putting on. It’s been important to us to be inclusive, we should all be working together rather than infighting. That’s what prompted me to write the song“.

The Nah are truly a force to be reckoned with. If you’re in and around town, try and hop on down to one of their gigs and you’ll see exactly why I believe that they’re one of the most comfortable and well-rounded bands in recent memory.