Denver musician Jen Korte and her gang of instruments and looping pedals perform as Lady Gang at this year’s Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest.
Learn more about Korte and Lady Gang’s music in this Q&A, and check out her festival performance on Sunday, Aug. 11!
What can festivalgoers look forward to at your performance?
People love to watch me balance performing and beat-building. I use a beat machine, a vocal pedal, sometimes alternate between playing bass and guitar, and trigger different effects pedals and banks inside my loop pedal, sometimes all within the same song. I get a lot of “Man, I don’t know you manage to do all of that at once!” which I take as a compliment since it has taken me about four years to master what I am doing. I love performing live. It is a proud moment for me to execute these songs in front of an audience after spending so much time putting them together.
What do you most appreciate about being part of the Colorado music scene, and who are some favorite local artists of yours at the moment? Anyone you’re especially excited to see or connect with at the festival?
I like that even though the Colorado music scene has grown a ton, there is still room to find opportunities and new venues to play and new people to collaborate with. As far as favorite artists, there are so many great new bands, and bands that have been around for a while. Porlolo, Bevin Luna, Brianna Straut, The Still Tide, The Milk Blossoms, The Hollow, Dragondeer, New Mexican, Los Mocochetes … the list goes on … and I can proudly say that many are my friends. I am most excited to see my best friends, Alysia Kraft and Staci Foster of Whippoorwill, open directly for Bonnie Raitt. It’s been such a journey to watch all of us grow.
How do you see the Colorado music scene evolving, especially in terms of gender equality? How do you see yourself as part of that evolution?
You know, we aren’t quite there yet … especially for women of color. I was recently on a music thread in the Denver scene and someone (a white male) put out a call for a woman of color that he wanted to collaborate with on a blues experiment. He felt like that was an under-served voice and he wanted someone who could speak their truth to their experience as a woman of color. The backlash of that conversation was disgusting – people saying he was basically “shopping for a certain type of person” instead of taking whomever could play the blues. I mean it went on and on and on, when really all he was trying to do was give an opportunity and a voice to woman of color. So yeah, we aren’t there. But I will say this last year has really highlighted the philosophy of what I am trying to live by right now: “Be the representation you want to see.” It’s playing out in cool ways. For example, I am a guitarist and vocalist for a ‘90s band and at the last few shows, there have been groups of women there just to support me and take the time to tell me after the show how important it is to see a woman on stage with all men holding her own, owning her space, shredding her guitar. I’ve had quite a few of those interactions this year in various environments and it just makes me feel like I am making a difference somehow in people’s perception of “women in music.”
Any new or upcoming projects to share?
Yes! Lady Gang’s debut EP, “Simple Truths,” was released last year, and I am currently working on a full-length album. I’m hoping to have a single out by the time of the festival.