Pop stars are supposed to have glam hobbies – stuff that would be out of the reach of us mere mortals. Pop stars that are also in worldwide smash Netflix series should be up to even more extravagant things. But Kate Nash? Mushrooming. High on life, mate.
Hi Kate, how did you get into mushrooming then? Has it been a long-time interest?
I’ve always been interested in forest ecology in general and grew up going to the woods and hiking a lot with my family, whether locally or on holiday. Our holidays were always in Ireland or the Lake District/North of England. My interest in mushrooms really spiked two years ago, I started studying Irish mythology, got into fairies and mushrooms from that perspective and then I just became drawn to fungi and started studying mycology specifically.
Do you get to go mushrooming often? Is it something you do in other countries as well as the UK?
I live predominantly in Los Angeles, and there’s a lot of beautiful nature to access. I’m back and forth to the UK a lot, and every time I’m home I research a particular woodland I want to visit and walk around. I’m in an identifying stage, so I’m not really foraging/picking right now. I really want to go to Oregon for it! There’s amazing fungi there, my dream fungi experience would be Australia, some of the mushrooms there look like aliens. Also Brazil!
What’s your favourite type of mushroom?
To eat, I like the classic portobello mushrooms! To look at, Campanella caesia are super cute, and Clathrus archeri looks like the most insane alien spawn you wouldn’t believe.
Is it true you’re doing a college course on mycology?
Yes! Check out Radical Mycology! There are a bunch of different online courses you can do; it’s really stimulating and challenging. Mycology is fucking amazing. You could also check out the book by Peter McCoy.
Do you think you’ll ever move into working with mushrooms or nature professionally?
It’s really inspired me to lean towards sciences in a way that at school I felt like I could never do. I always wanted to be a marine biologist and considering my feelings towards human beings and how they treat the planet, I’m thinking about studying marine biology next, contemplating the idea of doing a degree. Who knows what the future holds?
What tips would you give novice mushroom fans?
I think there’s so much to learn and the great thing is you can find so much online! I would start with Joe Rogan’s podcast interviewing Paul Stamets, a mycologist that says there are six ways mushrooms can save the world.
Have you ever found a mushroom so large you could wear it as a hat?
Yes! Lol, this would actually be a giant hat. I found this in Savernake Forest in the UK which has ancient oak trees over 1,000 years old and is a point of scientific interest. I highly recommend.
Taken from the August issue of Dork. Kate Nash’s album ‘Yesterday Was Forever’ is out now.
Words: Sam Taylor