The Way We Get By: Lightning Bug’s Audrey Kang Found Pina Universally Moving

The frontwoman talks Wim Wenders’s modern dance doc.

I picked a film called Pina; it’s a documentary by Wim Wenders about Pina Bausch, a German choreographer who really influenced modern dance in the ‘70s. I think the movie is an escape, but it’s a very human escape, if that makes sense. It sort of zooms in on human expression in the form of dance. But it’s not just dance — it’s also human emotion, and just self-expression in general. It’s been really comforting, and really inspiring to me. 

I’ve been familiar with her work, but I didn’t know about the documentary until recently. Now that we’re all unable to go to shows and see performances — it basically just shows you her performances with minimal interruptions, rather than interview after interview or information in a dry way. You basically have a front seat to her performances in a way that you can experience from your own home. 

I think modern dance can be a bit unapproachable to people. It’s not something everyone thinks they can love or appreciate, but this is presented in a way that I think is universally moving. Anyone can relate to it because of the way it’s shown, and the choreography itself. I am a dancer, so I guess that gives me a different perspective, but I think anyone can appreciate it! 

The coronavirus has hit many people financially, and it’s been especially tough on musicians who rely on touring to support themselves. If you’re able and inclined, check out Lightning Bug’s Bandcamp and order a T-shirt, some vinyl, or whatever they’ve got on offer. Every little bit helps.

(Photo Credit: left, Tonje Thilesen)

Grounded in a tightly knit friendship and an intuitive musical bond, Lightning Bug’s music, an enveloping mix of rapturous shoegaze, longing balladry, and ambient soundscapes, sits at the center point of a creative exchange among songwriter Audrey Kang, multi-instrumentalist Kevin Copeland, and producer Logan Miley. Despite a knack for sonic eclecticism, each Lightning Bug record holds a magnetic sense of cohesion. Lyrically, the songs document Audrey navigating a relationship with her own humanity, memories fraught with joy and pain, and the constant cycle of tension and release necessary in developing self-trust. Lightning Bug’s music is then the manifestation of dialogues: a musical dialogue amongst members of a sacred creative partnership and an internal one as Audrey plumbs the depths of her own foundation.

Last year’s October Song (released via Marbled Arm) marked Lightning Bug’s second full-length offering, the follow up to the largely anonymous release of their self-titled debut Floaters. Earning an 8.0 from Pitchfork and a spot on NME’s best debut albums of 2015 respectively, Lightning Bug have emerged as one of the musical underground’s most fertile sources for textured world-building and soaring catharsis. Lightning Bug have now announced Fat Possum as their new label home and are now recording the follow up to October Song with new members Vincent Puleo and Dane Hagen.

(Photo Credit: Luke Clerkin)