Luce Unplugged: Five Questions for Bat Fangs

Today, Thursday, April 26th, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, the Luce Foundation Center hosts another installment of Luce Unplugged Thursday shows, presented with D.C. Music Download, are a tribute to a Luce Center artwork selected by the performer. This installment of Luce Unplugged features DC rock duo, Bat Fangs, whose music recalls the rock icons of the 80s with their catchy lyrics and raucous guitar riffs. Jessica McFadden, the Luce Foundation Center's Program Assistant, reached out to band members, Betsy Wright and Laura King, to gain some insight into their creative process.

An image of two girls sitting on the floor looking at each other.

Photograph of Bat Fangs by Soleil Konkel

Eye Level: What inspired you to form Bat Fangs and how did you come up with the name?

Wright: I was writing a lot of songs and I needed an outlet. I decided to start with finding a drummer to play with.  Once I started playing with Laura King we worked together to develop the songs. The name happened when we had a two-day jam session in North Carolina. We were just throwing names around and that one stuck!

Can you describe a little bit of your creative process? Does songwriting happen a different way for you every time? Or is it sort-of formulaic?

I usually get a little spark of inspiration that develops into something more later. Usually it’s a few chord changes or a little melody that comes first. Sometimes I get ideas by jamming with someone else, playing with a drum machine, or just picking up my guitar and playing for a while. Sometimes an idea will just pop in my head at night and not leave me alone until I get up and grab a guitar.

 In StereoGum’s review of your self-titled LP they write, “Bat Fangs work from a playbook not too dissimilar from what Wild Flag and Ex Hex did before them. The stew of influences is similar: twinkling power-pop, hessian riff-rock, kitsch-damaged new wave, rip-snorting garage, hooks-first early-’90s riot grrrl. Their songs are sharp and raw and focused…” What would you say your influences are?

The influences for this band were the stuff I loved as a kid. Bon Jovi, Madonna, Led Zeppelin, Poison. Casey Kasem top 40 countdown 1985-1989.

How would you describe the DC music scene? Are there any local artists that you would be interested in collaborating with?

The DC music scene has gotten really fun in the past few years!  It’s kind of a small world and people are pretty supportive of each other which makes it easy to get out there and play.  I’ve already had a chance to play with so many people I admire! I would love to have songwriter/producer Rich Morel do a dance remix for us someday.

Do you have any upcoming projects you’re working on? How and where can fans access your music?

I’m always writing songs and hope to get more music out there soon and will keep performing with Bat Fangs and Ex Hex. I also have some music in the works that I can perform by myself which I haven’t really done before.  Excited to try that this summer/ fall at some point.

Want to listen to music by Bat Fangs? Check out their work on Bandcamp. Luce Unplugged is a free, monthly concert series held in the Luce Foundation Center for American Art. The series is organized in partnership with DC Music Download, and Washington City Paper. Be sure to check out upcoming performances and don't miss Bat Fang’s performance today, Thursday, April 26th! Snacks and libations available for purchase at on-site bar. No registration required. Object talk at 5:30 pm, Bat Fangs at 6 pm.