Seven years is a long time to go without seeing your friends, but it’s an even longer time to go without being in the same room as your bandmates. While the members of Gang Gang Dance weren’t separated for exactly that stretch of time because of touring, it’s been a while since they put their heads together to make new music. For the first time since the release of Eye Contact in 2011, the experimental electronic act is back with a new album in tow, and it’s just as much of a trip as listeners should expect.
The band’s new album, Kazuashita, sees them fuse hypnotic rhythms, synth-driven melodies, and echoing guitars as we’ve come to expect. While some songs tackle heavy and topical subjects like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (“J-TREE”) or those who lost their lives unfairly to violence (“Young Boy “Marika in Amerika”), the albums maintains a mesmerizing tone, keeping you engaged even if some of the subject matters is tough to reflect on. It’s a careful balance, once that’s pulled off well and leaves you wondering if the band ever spent that much time apart at all.
“I wasn’t nervous about making this record, but I did wonder what it would feel like to be in the same room with my bandmates after such a long time apart,” says singer Lizzi Bougatsos. “I wanted to approach the record with fresh eyes and try things I haven’t done before but I had to fight old patterns. I did enjoy playing the xylophone and I took on the flute, but those tracks didn’t make the cut. I think I was just getting my feet wet, so to speak.”
To unveil some of the personality behind the experimental act, we interviewed Lizzi Bougatsos for a round of Wheel of Tunes, a series where we ask musicians questions inspired by their song titles. With Kazuashita as the prompt, her answers are short but illuminating—things you can reflect on when they headline Great Scott this Saturday.
1) “( infirma terrae )”
DIGBOSTON: If you could start your own civilization on any planet, regardless of their air supply, which would you choose and why?
BOUGATSOS: I would love to live on the moon, I think it would help my dance and performance skills to live and move without a gravitational pull. [laughs]
DIGBOSTON: When was the last time you climbed a tree?
BOUGATSOS: I wish it were yesterday, but I’m afraid the last time I really got some height on some trunks was probably my birthday in Woodstock in 2011.
DIGBOSTON: In your opinion, what makes someone pure or not pure?
BOUGATSOS: I’m a bit of a shaman so I can tell when someone is off. I am a true believer in good deeds forming a karma for a soul. If a person is ego driven and selfish, it usually shines through their aura.
4) “( birth canal )”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the funniest habit or story about you from when you were an infant?
BOUGATSOS: I know I came out with something to say. I was born at 7 pm so I am a night baby and I think I came out without my dad in the room as my mom ran to the hospital on foot. We couldn’t wait for the ride! Thanks, mom. I was also born in Flushing, Queens, so I tell everybody I came out of the toilet.
DIGBOSTON: What would have to happen today for you to be at peace tomorrow?
BOUGATSOS: I would need some snakes to massage my vocal cords as I lay in moss and salted hay that is heated to tickle me. There will be cedar pillows and roses budding with sage and sandalwood whispering, “you will sleep well tonight and get some sun.”
6) “Young Boy (Marika in Amerika)”
DIGBOSTON: Which three words describe America the best?
BOUGATSOS: Evil, capitalist, and plenty. Greed is governing our society at the expense of the poor and oppressed. Our land is plentiful, our oceans and water clear but everything is at stake with this administration. It is pure evil, mass incarceration and slavery is abundant in prisons, what is happening with family separation is disgusting, racist and inhumane. Not to mention these children will be handed over to sex traffickers, with no family or protection. America is a living hell. We should be ashamed for what this does for the future of humanity, animal species, and the distinction of civil rights and our environment.
7) “Snake Dub”
DIGBOSTON: Who’s the biggest liar you know personally?
BOUGATSOS: Definitely cannot go there. What are facts anyway? I make my own decisions based on my intuition and gathering of information if I care about something.
8) “Too Much, Too Soon”
DIGBOSTON: If you had to downsize the things you own in life starting tonight, which two items would you get rid of first?
BOUGATSOS: My archives and head of hair. I have many relics of my life, ashes of burnt instruments, old boots, letters, photos. They need to be released into the world in another form… like as a book or a play? Then I can start over.
9) “( novae terrae )”
DIGBOSTON: Where have you not traveled to yet that you would love to visit?
10) “Salve On The Sorrow”
DIGBOSTON: What’s your default way of dealing with an emotional injury?
BOUGATSOS: Watching Netflix with a glass of wine and dark chocolate.
GANG GANG DANCE, DEAKIN. SAT 9.15. GREAT SCOTT, 1222 COMM. AVE., ALLSTON. 8:30PM/21+/$16. GREATSCOTTBOSTON.COM