Smile Politely

Gang Gang Dance: A different animal

My first exposure to Gang Gang Dance was at this year’s Pitchfork Festival, where I happened past their stage on my way to another show. I stuck around for a bit simply based on the fact that any band with as many percussion instruments as Gang Gang Dance has to be worth watching. I was pleasantly surprised when they went into a slow-building synthesizer jam, gradually adding more and more instruments and echoed-out vocals until they hit a huge, booming peak. This year’s Eye Contact (4AD) is an excellent record in it’s own right, but as the group’s singer Lizzi Bougatsos points out later in the article, is a different animal, lacking the raw ass-shaking power of the group’s live show, although I have to point out that “Romance Layers” (which features Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor) is the fucking jam.

I spoke earlier this month to the group’s singer, Lizzi Bougatsos. Here’s what she had to say.

Smile PolitelyYou signed to 4AD last year. Did being on a new label change your approach to recording Eye Contact, compared to Saint Dymphna and your earlier material? What was working with Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip on “Romance Layers” like?

Lizzi: The new label was more of a new opportunity for us, in that we just personally needed a change. It wasn’t about 4AD, Warp, or the Social Registry or even Young Turks, who we did the RAWWAR EP with. We still work with all our labels.

Working with Alexis was refreshing. His voice to me is the Marvin Gaye of the 21st century. He is also a personal friend, so to get his creative side on “Romance Layers” brought a new twist to the song.

SPHow do you feel your live show differs from your studio material? Do you prefer playing live to being in the studio? If so, why?

Lizzi: They are both different animals. You can’t put a caged lion in a house with a lamb. The studio for me is inward. The stage is outward.

SPI saw you perform at Pitchfork Festival. Do you approach a performance of that scale differently from playing a club show?

Lizzi: No, they are different animals as well. It’s about the energy and exchange with the audience. I also think the effect is extremely physical.

SPIs this your first time in Champaign? Is there anyone else playing Pygmalion Fest that you’re excited to see?

Lizzi: I’m not really sure who else is playing…let me check. Well, my favorites are VENUS X & $HAYNE, the DJs from New York that we chose to tour with us. Miss Thang looks like it has a good situation. VENUS X & $HAYNE are very inspiring. I look forward to their every set.

Gang Gang Dance perform tomorrow (Saturday) night at the Canopy Club at 11:15 p.m., along with MartyParty, Venus X & $hayne, and Positive Vibr8ions

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