“No is a power any time, any place,” intones Billy Nomates on No, the centerpiece of her upcoming debut solo album. As manifestos go, it’s unequivocal. She’s done taking shit from the world. This fierce, funny, outspoken force of nature, who hails from Melton Mowbray in rural northeast Leicestershire, but now flits between Bournemouth and Bristol, has arrived to rattle cages. To sock it to bearded indie cliques, old boy’s clubs in thrall to the Eagles, and over-privileged rich kids who think they represent us all. “I wonʼt shave everything off, Iʼm not twelve,” she continues on No, defying the male gaze over a backdrop of stalking bass lines and art-punk riffs, before declaring: “No is gonna start a war, so die if you think it’s worth fighting for.”
The songs on her debut album, released by Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records, all come from a similar place of defiance. Rebellion against Brexit and your racist uncle. Against soul-sapping, dead-end jobs and zero-hours contracts. Against gender inequality, harassment and festivals with obligatory female acts hidden in the small print. Billy’s songs lampoon the same bleak reality satirised by her beloved Scarfolk website and explored so abrasively in the fringe theatre she finds solace in.
This dissatisfaction and fury is made flesh and bone in songs that are candid snapshots of her life. “They’re 100% real,” she explains. “Maybe I’ve slightly changed names, but they’re all based on real encounters – the same lines of conversation, almost. Just given some poetic licence. That’s where my writing is: mirroring where I am. And maybe that represents where lots of people are.”