Bill Nace

2020 PEW FELLOW
Updated
5 Feb 2021

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Bill Nace stands amidst waist-high plants with a string of decorative flags just behind him. An ivy-covered wall and electrical wires are visible in the background. He has light skin and short brown hair and wears a black record label t-shirt.

Bill Nace, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

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Bill Nace leans against a tall picket fence in a backyard. The setting sun lights the top of his face. He has light skin, short brown hair, and wears a black t-shirt that says “open mouth records.”

Bill Nace, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

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Bill Nace leans against a wall just inside a bright but weathered entryway. His hands are in his pockets and one foot is crossed over the other. He has light skin, short brown hair, and wears a black t-shirt that says “open mouth records.”

Bill Nace, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

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Bill Nace, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Andrew Kesin.

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Bill Nace, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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Bill Nace, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Chelsea Hogue.

“I build structures or musical moments based on assumptions and then allow those to fail and dissolve over time. Here, frustration or discord is as important as ecstatic coordination.” 

Guitarist Bill Nace’s experimental improvisations and compositions extend the boundaries of electric guitar technique, using bows, metal, wood, glass bowls, and other implements. His distinctive musical vocabulary references folk, rock, and punk traditions as he works to make a ubiquitous instrument sound new. “I use this energy to see if there is a space in between that I can call my own,” he says, “where I can draw from all of these traditions while also exerting something that feels personal and not beholden to one discipline.” He performs in the band Body/Head with Kim Gordon as well as in duos with Samara Lubelski and Steve Baczkowski, and he has collaborated with Yoko Ono, Joe McPhee, Thurston Moore, and many others. As a touring musician, he has performed at venues and festivals such as Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Primavera Sound in Barcelona, the Benaki Museum in Athens, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Nace released Both, his first solo album, in 2020. He founded Open Mouth Records to release experimental music and hosts Open Mouth Presents, an ongoing local performance series for interdisciplinary, multigenerational groups of performers.