Questions With: Nancy Whang
Nancy Whang, former member of the band LCD Soundsystem, talks DJing and her preparation for a new solo career.
July 08, 2011
The dance and indie music worlds mourned when James Murphy, the frontman of LCD Soundsystem, announced the permanent termination of his dance-punk band. That is until Nancy Whang, the group’s keyboardist, synth player and backup vocalist, reappeared in the limelight. Now in a transition period, she is experimenting with DJing—one of her first sets was at our beloved Art Basel last December—and she is doing another this Saturday at The Electric Pickle. We caught up with Whang recently to hear all about her solo career, being home in New York for a bit and what fans can expect on Saturday.
How have things been for you since LCD Soundsystem broke up?
NANCY WHANG: It’s been good and strange, I guess. I think I’m still transitioning. I haven’t really gotten to the place that I’m moving toward yet, but I feel good about things. I’m not up to much at the moment except for DJing a little a bit. I think it’s good to take some time off.
You are DJing on Saturday—will you actually perform?
NW: No, I’m just DJing the party at Electric Pickle. Art Basel was actually one of my first DJ sets. I’ve been doing it a lot more recently, but I’m still pretty new at it. I’m learning the ropes. I’m starting to have fun.
You said in an interview once that you could never DJ. What changed your mind?
NW: Having LCD finishing, trying to figure out the next phase. In the interim I need to stay busy, active, relevant…so it’s a good way to earn a living. And it’s fun and it keeps me busy. I can still travel places and go to parties.
Will you be playing any songs from your previous bands on Saturday?
NW: No, I don’t really like doing that. It seems a little too vain. Not that I really have a problem with vanity or anything like that but I feel a little self-congratulatory I guess. Plus there’s other music out there that’s great.
So what can fans expect to hear from you?
NW: Some fun jams, I guess? [Laughs] Compared to the rest of the guys [on the DFA Records label], I play a lot more pop. You gotta throw in the requisite disco jams in there, but I like a lot of ’80s pop and freestyle stuff.
You mentioned transitioning. Are you trying to move into a solo career?
NW: I think the goal is to start making my own music. I feel like there’s a lot of groundwork that I have to lay down first before that actually comes, so it’s a work in progress. I feel really good about LCD. I think we did the right thing [and] ended on a high note. We played as well as we’ve ever played and it’s good. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I, or anybody in the band, was finished with music altogether. Just that particular incarnation of us had finished its arc.
Do you miss anything yet?
NW: I miss playing music. I miss playing live. I miss playing with other people. I actually miss touring. I miss the whole thing. For the moment I’m happy and thrilled to be home. I haven’t been in New York in years really, especially in the summertime. It’s been a really nice at-home vacation—like getting reacquainted with my life and the city and my friends.
Do you have any plans to front a band someday?
NW: It’s been great playing with LCD and playing with [the band] Juan [MacLean]. They were both great learning experiences for me—and they were both really different experiences as well. But yeah, I want to do something that’s my own. I would love to have something where I call the shots. That comes with a lot of responsibility and burdens, but as far as a backing band I have no idea. Obviously I know people that play music and I’d love to ask them to play with me, but it’s kind of a tricky situation because everybody’s got their own things going on. And it kind of will dictate sort of how I decide to make music, too.
Nancy Whang with Krisp: Saturday, July 9 (doors open at 10 PM). The Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-456-5613; electricpicklemiami.com