Interview by David Garcia-Casado
Nancy Whang is one of the founding members of LCD Soundsystem. She was an essential piece for a sound that made a mark in a whole generation. A sound that was born in the offices of DFA Records, a community of artists that grew as a solid production team and record label. She invited us home, showed us around her neighborhood and we had the chance to talk a little bit about her experience with LCD and working with James Murphy, her projects and ideas about music.
D. How long have you lived in NYC?
N. I’ve been here for about 18 years now.
D. Had you played music before coming to live to NY?
N. I knew a little bit about music but I had never played before, except from early piano lessons.
D. Are you interested in classical music?
N. Yes, I really like it but I don’t see myself as an artist driven by a classical background or influence. I don’t think too analytically about music, I am more interested in the pop factor in culture.
D. How did you start with LCD?
N. I met James Murphy at a party in the late 90s and we just got to be friends. In New York there was stuff starting to happen again, and everywhere we went we would run into each other, so we hung out a lot. And I worked a couple of blocks away from the DFA office; there wasn’t a label then, really. They had a studio and people hanging out and doing stuff.
D. A creative environment..
D. And how did it all start for the band, which was the starting point
N. Well, he made a couple of songs. He put out a 12-inch (Losing My Edge b/w Beat Connection) and made some other songs to make an album. And the 12-inch did really well, so he was invited to play at a party and he asked me and other people to join him.
It was James' idea basically. And the idea was to play just five shows, from time to time, just for fun...but the thing really grew and become our lives.
D. Had you played music live before that?
N. No, Just piano.
D. How was the experience?
N. It was terrifying; I had terrible stage fright but I got used to it. We started practicing at the office, we did that for a long time and after that we would only practice before touring.
D. You have toured all over the world. What are some of your favorite places so far?
N. I think Glasgow is the best place to play, best venue, best crowd. I like playing in Paris...and Japan. I love going to Japan but the crowd is kind of weird. It’s really polite. (laughs)
D. Have you worked with other projects?
N. Yes, I made a record with Juan McLean...we toured and we are working on some stuff right now. And I have done a lot of guest collaborations with other bands. Mostly DFA bands...I have been Djing a lot lately as well.
D. Have you always been interested in electronic, synth-oriented sounds?
N. Kind of. I listened to a lot of new wave. Depeche Mode was like the second 45 I ever bought!
D. I saw an interview online where James Murphy said that if LCD was a movie he would be the “Scorsese” and the musicians would be the “De Niros”. I know this was a kind of joke but would you agree with that?
N. Yes, that makes sense. although he is a director who acts in his own movies. (laughs)
D. Do you think that pop music (or at least the one worth listening to) has to have an amount of antagonism?
N.I think all pop music has a lot of antagonism, but I don’t think that it necessarily needs it.
D. Do you conceive techno music connected purely to the club scene?
N. It seems to be expanding. It’s like hip hop music nowadays tends to sound like trance.
D. How do you feel about the end of LCD Soundsystem?
N. I miss playing. I don’t miss touring, but I miss touring with people, making music together...I kind of accepted that it's over and I think it was what it was, and that it was a good idea to put it to an end. It was part of the evolution in a way.