Earmilk Interview: Big Gigantic

Earmilk Interview: Big Gigantic

If there is a group that comes to mind someone says "electronic," Big Gigantic might be one of them. Technology has been rapidly changing and evolving in the past decades, which, of course, affects our daily lives in every shape and form. Music is no exception. Its evolution is closely tied with technology, which brings us to the year 2013. Electronic music has been and is currently on the rise, trickling to the corners of the world. Much like rock'n'roll in the 60s, electronic music has brought revolutionary sounds and techniques that would make mothers plug their child's ear in disgust.

But where there is hate, there is also love. Legions upon legions of fans are in the electronic music wagon and are demanding more. As in any genre, the colossal question that is constantly asked is, "How do we stand out? How do we make a fresh sound?" That's where Big Gigantic comes in. Jeremy Salken and Dominic Lalli boast an answer to said questions, which explains their snowballing popularity these past few years. Taking cues from bands such as Radiohead, Big G decided to release their tunes as a free download, giving us the choice to pay full value or not. Much like Radiohead had experienced, this strategy increased their fan base and has categorized them as a forward-thinking type of artist.

I had the pleasure in exchanging some words with these rising stars.  Who are they? What are they like? Below are word flings between me and the electronic duo. Stream some of their tunes below to get to know them on a deeper level as we get down to the nitty gritty. 

Some words were flung.

EARMILK: How did Big Gigantic come to be?
Dominic Lalli: Me and Jeremy had been roommates and done a ton of playing together around Boulder. We played in different bands, played different gigs, and stuff like that. We go see shows all the time, and DJs. Time came around and the idea came up. I started making music and started writing. I got my computer so I started learning how to make stuff and then decided I had enough things together to kinda start something. I got Jeremy involved, started practicing, and got a couple gigs. And now it's been just a little over four years now.
EM: Kinda snowballing?
DL: Yeah, pretty much right from the get. 
EM: Before the formation of Big Gigantic, what did you guys plan on doing?
DL: Definitely music! I was looking at jazz, I was doing jazz, funk kind of stuff. So, I'll always be a musician for sure, for life.
JS: Yeah, I was playing music and then ended up getting my graphic design and web design degree. So I was doing that to supplement the gigs when it was slower, because it's tough when you're just out there trying to get after it by just playing shows. 
DL: When we were before Big G, it was a 50 dollar gig at this bar and then, "Oh! 100 dollar gig?!" That was the money shit right there, "100 dollar gig this weekend, we're killin it!" (laughs) A lot of pizza.
JS: We would get a steak if we play at this place...
DL: *laughs* Yeah, free dinners!
EM: Perks...
DL: Free drinks and shit!
EM: At what point did you guys realize that Big G was going to be something more and was going to take 0ff?
DL: It's hard to say. Once it started, like we got a couple opening gigs for STS9, once that stuff starts, everything goes so quick. You don't even have to time go like "Is this going to get big?" or barely even to say "This got big." I'm still like, "Fuck! What I am going to do for the next one?" We've just been along for the ride and it's sweet.
JS: Yeah, I have to agree with that completely.
EM: You guys like to put your tracks up on SoundCloud for free downloads. What's your reasoning behind it?
DL: From the get-go, pretty much through all our albums, we've done the free download thing. It started with Radiohead, and then Pretty Lights did it, and then we were like "this is a good idea." Especially just starting out. Our first album didn't even have saxophone on it, so we might as well give it out and try to start buzz around stuff. It's something that we've always done, but now, we are at the point where we are like, "OK, let's do that, we're always going to do that, but sell it, let's have it everywhere." So I think our main mission now is more accessibility and quickness. Because when you go get music, you're like, "Where's this new shit?" So you do this one thing, and it comes up, hopefully, and then you click it, and click it again, and it's downloading. However people get their music, we just wanted it very easy for them to get it, whether it's for free or from iTunes.

EM: So would a majority of your income and revenue come from live gigs and tours? 
DL/JS: Yeah.   
DL: That's one of the things that we realized early on. I mean, it's hard even if you just sell your music to get people, especially when you are trying to get exposure. Especially now, because iTunes, everyone was getting used to it four years ago...
JS: Yeah, now it's a standard thing. When people buy our album on there, they can get it from Spotify, Pandora, E-Music, and there's a ton of places people can get their music. It's mainly been, we do the albums, and Dom crushes it on that, and try to put on the best show that we can, and get everybody to come out and party. Because really, that's our chance to get down. 
DL: On tour, we see our Facebook and get more people talking about us.
JS: More activity.
DL: Buying albums and merchandise. 
EM: Your current tour, your winter tour, is jam-packed. It's every day for about a month. How do you guys deal with it? I know some bands get absolutely exhausted.
JS: It's definitely tiring. I think as the more we tour, the more we learn little tricks to keep ourselves, whether it's being in shape, trying to eat better, or sleeping right.
DL: Not getting wasted every night.
DL/JS: *laughs*
JS: That's a big one!
DL: Yeah, that REALLY helps you!

JS: Just keep going, not raging every night. The first time we had a bus, we kind of went apeshit every single day, because we were like, "We got a bus!" And then the crew were working 14 to 16 hour days! 
DL: They would come back on the bus and there would be like, 25 people on the bus. And we be like, "Sorry guys, but it's our first bus!"
JS: Now this is our third or fourth bus so it's mellow. We've been chilling and saving the raging for the actual show.
DL: We literally put out so much energy live. It's like a marathon, a hundred-yard dash for two hours. We just go as hard as we can go and put everything out there. So, in terms of that, you gotta save up all that for 11 p.m. But yeah, I think we do a fairly good job of holding together and giving our all out there for sure. 
EM: One aspect that makes you guys pretty unique is that you use the saxophone. How did this idea come into play? 
DL: We started before what DJs did, or anything. It was like, I play sax, and he plays drums. That's what we've always been doing. It was very natural. We started going to see STS9, and they've got DJs, mixing those things together. Well, you're a drummer, I'm a saxophone player, lets make electronic music.
JS: And see if we could get away with it.
EM: A lot of media have characterized your music as electronica or EDM. What do you guys characterize yourselves as?
 JS: We kind of throw ourselves in that same category. It's hard to describe it because on top of our live element, we try to play every different style.
DL: Within EDM. 
JS: Yeah, and Dom is really good at finding, whether it be new shit or a different way to play whatever. I think that there is a blanket term for all of it, and then there's an infinite number of sub-genres within there. We play live electronic, but it doesn't really mean anything.
DL: It's almost like that the point to not really know what to call it, you know? Because it's just like, "Oh, it's dubstep," then you're trapped within it. Definitely electronic, definitely dance music. We can just start there and you can call it whatever you want!
EM: Have you ever considered experimenting with different music? Or a different style?
DL: Well, we have a lot. We've experimented a bunch with jazz and funk. That's a lot of the influences we're bringing into our style of electronic dance music. We've played kind of gig, like wedding gigs. And if you play wedding gigs, you play every fucking...
JS: Motown songs.
DL: Yeah Motown songs, Stevie Wonder, so we've done everything like that. Then at the dinner of the wedding, we play jazz, like some Miles Davis tunes. We can do anything pretty much!

JS: I was in a bluegrass band. We try to bring in a lot, like a cornucopia of music, into what we're doing, and take influences from everywhere.
EM: I wasn't expecting bluegrass at all.
DL: I've actually played, not a full-on bluegrass band, but I played in jams and people would be like, "You should go play sax and some bluegrass!" and I'm like, "Let's do this!" They get down, but in a totally different way. Still sweaty.
EM: I can see that. I went to Bonnaroo 2008 and 2009 and saw some country stuff there, and they still rage.
DL: 2008 and 2009, bluegrass was definitely kicking.
EM: Where do you see yourselves in 10 years? 20 years?
DL: Private island.
JS: Beach.
DL: So funny we said the same thing: ON VACATION, FOREVER!
JS: We're probably doing the same thing. Honestly, I want to play music until my arm fall off.
DL: We would be playing music for sure. It's hard to say in 10 years. But obviously, we would be making music. Who knows where music will be in 10 years, wow! Oh. My. God. I can't even fucking imagine. It's going to be like this: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" (laughs) just kidding! It'll just be white noise *proceeds with high-pitch whistling * "I love that..." And be crying, emotionally. *attempts high-pitch whistle a second time, but quieter*
JS: You really hit that frequency.
EM: That's about all the questions I have, is there anything that may be interesting that you might want to share with us?
DOM: Just excited for the year, it's going to be another big year for us. We having another album coming out in the fall so we're working on a bunch of new music for that.
EM: Will that follow the same plan as Nocturnal? Free? 
DOM: We're going for the same vibe, same jugular.

There you have it folks, that's Big G to the core for you. Be sure to check out their Facebook page to see their extensive winter tour dates and locations. They are literally on the move every day around the Mid-West. If you are lucky enough to be at one of the locations, do yourself a favor and see this dynamic duo in action. 

It's been almost three hours since the end of their set and I'm still recovering.

 

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