Interview: Alec Coiro
Photo: Ari Marcopoulos
After seven years, the new Gang Gang Dance album KAZUASHITA has arrived. The first official taste was presented in Bushwick last Friday at Elsewhere. We spoke to lead singer Lizzi Bougatsos a couple days before the record release party about Gang Gang’s latest offering and how she and the band have grown over the years.
The previous album, Eye Contact, was released in 2011 to a world almost unrecognizable to our 2018 eyes. In that time Bougatsos and the band have grown both as artists and individuals, and the journey is apparent in the tracks on the record. But while the lineup has morphed, the spirit remains true. Bougatsos tells us all about the journey below.
Do you think of Gang Gang Dance as having separate chapters or is the history more of a single continuum?
I suppose each album is their own entity or sort of commune, unfortunately. I’ve always struggled with the idea of what a utopia for a band or non-band would be. We are just a traveling pack of characters with a few core members.
How has the band’s process of writing its music evolved since you first formed?
We sort of always composed music in the same way. Improvisation turns into songs once the structures are formed. Then certain members sit with the material and edit it. It gets produced and then we figure out how to play it live. It’s a pretty exhilarating feeling when we get to the “live” step. It’s very satisfying when the live stage of music sounds good. I think it’s all about freedom really. Freedom to compose, freedom to make the music whatever you feel.
This was your longest break between albums. Do you think the longer break affected your artistic perspective?
7 years. Definitely.
We are just a traveling pack of characters with a few core members
It’s such a grim time in America right now. How has that affected you as an artist either in terms of the work you create or the mood from which you create it?
It’s difficult to sit down to do any task really in this moment of time. I think of the music as helping the greater good, improving moods while we are emotionally in turmoil. This is my only hope.
On a happier note, I also wanted to ask if you could tell us about the title of the album, Kazuashita. I know a little about the backstory, but I think it’s really sweet, so I’d love to hear it in your own words.
KAZUASHITA is the Japanese translation meaning Peace Tomorrow. It’s the name of our friend’s son, a very close friend of the band and personal friend of mine for many years. This was his mother’s name originally. This record in particular has many themes of rebirth, death, a match burning, an Easter service on the streets, many sounds are created to evoke a timeline of emotions. It has a beginning and and end but a child’s life can last forever. Maybe that is what we are hoping for? Some salve for the sorrow and an open future.