Big Gigantic

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Big Gigantic Keeps killing it and growing Like A Supernova


:: Big Gigantic ::
:: Gothic Theatre :: January 27 ::
::  Fox Theatre :: January 28 ::
:: three20South :: January 29 ::
:: Ghost Ranch Saloon :: January 30 ::
:: Belly Up ::  February 2 ::
:: Abbey Theatre :: February 3 ::
:: Fly Me  To The Moon Saloon :: February 4 ::

By P.J. Nutting

“I’m a sax player in a DJ world,” said Dominic Lalli, the producer/saxophonist who, together with drummer Jeremy Salken, form jamtronica heavyweight Big Gigantic.

“Everyone’s been like, ‘That’s not gonna work the whole time,’” Lalli said. “I think that’s the thing about us, it just doesn’t even matter. The sax is dead. I mean, nothing’s going on with the saxophone right now. So it’s like, if I can make this work, then, fuck it, we can do whatever.”

Lalli and Salken sat down with The Marquee between fall and winter tours, taking a small brainstorming session before their Atlanta after-show for Bassnectar on December 30. At the end of an enormous year, with a packed performance at Red Rocks with STS9 and a miraculously blessed gig at Camp Bisco behind them, it seems ironic that it is finally okay for them to play their first headlining show in Boulder (which sold out in just 30 hours).

“I feel absolutely blessed and extremely psyched.” Salken said. “When I first moved here, one of my first gigs was at Grammazio’s Pizza (now Abo’s on the Hill, in Boulder). We were getting paid $50 for a full band to play. We were splitting $50, and I was psyched just to do that and eat pizza! That was the coolest thing of my life. And that excitement — it’s not the same as Red Rocks — but at the same time I was like, ‘I can’t believe I can do this.’”

Since its creation in 2008, Big Gigantic has become increasingly formidable at fusing vibrant melodies and improvisational sensibilities back into electronic music, both live and with their freely available releases Fire It Up and Wide Awake. College kids go nuts for the concussive bass grooves while older fans appreciate the effort toward a live-instrument sound — which was captured on Big Gigantic’s September 2010 release A Place Behind The Moon. The end result is a one-two punch of electronic builds that knock listeners over, and a melody that sticks in their head as  they’re sprawled on the floor. Big G will also drop another, still un-named, album sometime­ around late spring of 2011.

“We’re still picking things from different styles of electronic music that we really love — different styles and how they drop and how things build up,” Lalli said. For “High Life,” the first track on the groups’s Wide Awake EP, “I would make some dubstep-y tone, and then cut the bass out of it and stick it right in the middle and have a whole different kind of bass,” Lalli said. “So it’s a whole different application to it; it doesn’t have to be that ‘wuh-wuh-wuh.’ We’re starting to get where we can put it into one song and all those things come across, in terms of getting that more into our style so it sounds like us, that’s the exciting part.”

“We’re trying to step up our live show as well,” Salken said. “The more that the produced music comes together, the more we can work on the live thing and build energy with solos and drops, and try to make it as epic as possible. We’re just trying to make it bigger every time.”

Friendly to a wide range of ears, Big G fuses elements of jam, dance, and electronic styles in a funky yet hard-hitting way that allows the highs of each style to overlap. The supporting acts on this upcoming tour highlight their sonic versatility: Fresh2Death will surely pull no punches in a battle to out-bass at The Fox, while Umphrey’s Mcgee will challenge Big G’s instrumental prowess when they team up for a West Coast jaunt. Throw in dates with hip-hop producer AmpLive, former Glitch Mob member Kraddy, and fellow jamtronica group Somasphere, and the accessibility of Big Gigantic’s style is, well, gigantic.

The Fox show will nearly mark the two-year anniversary of when Lalli and Salken were invited to perform at the B-Side Lounge with STS9’s David Murphy in his first show as Rootz vs. Murphy (alongside Boulder’s DJ Rootz). The two groups shared a buzz that eventually brought Big Gigantic into the highly influential 1320 Records family that is home to STS9 and a tastemaker for Lalli and Salken’s home in Boulder.

Now, the duo is attracting attention as producers instead of just instrumentalists. Big Gigantic’s recent remix of Chitty Bang’s “Opposite of Adults” wasn’t their original idea — rapper Xaphoon Jones approached them with the idea. “That was a nod, y’know. That was an honor,” Lalli said. (It should be noted that a xaphoon is a single-reed, bamboo instrument otherwise known as a pocket sax.)

One of Big Gigantic’s most well-known songs is Aloe Blacc’s “I Need A Dollar,” a song that caught on with the band through their mutual interest in the TV show “How To Make It In America.” “We were obsessed with that show and loved the song. It sounds old as hell and sounds like he remixed it, but that’s actually him,” Salken said. “It’s not like he just jacked a James Brown beat and jacked this other thing and put them together. That’s his shit!”

An animation for the song on YouTube has over 150,000 hits, and has become so popular that every show has fans waving dollars in the air before bouncing them off of Lalli in a crumpled wad. “This girl made an airplane and tried to throw it at me,” Salken said. “It’s like, I get it. It’s coming, just be patient.”

“We definitely hit a spot, some kind of connection with the fans. I don’t know if it was going to afterparties after every gig,” Lalli laughs, “but we feel a more special connection with the audience and people are really coming to see us.”

“We were just up in the Northeast. It was so good up there. We don’t know what to expect sometimes,” Lalli continued. “On our day off our manager told us a gig we had in  Northampton, Mass., The Iron Horse, was sold out. It’s a small venue, like 200 or 300 people. So they moved us up to this other venue called Pearl Street, downstairs. It sold out — and all before we got there. And so they moved us again to Pearl Street, upstairs. We ended up selling 500-some tickets, and it’s in this place we’ve never been, and there are all these kids who are just so excited, like they had a wand like, ‘Pow! Do this! Do that!’” Lalli said, waving around an imaginary conductor’s baton.

“That’s the motivation,” Lalli said, “knowing that you’re going to have a week like that. We obviously love to play music. But knowing that there’s gonna be a bunch of kids that are really excited to hear what we’re gonna do, makes me care a lot,” Lalli finished with a laugh.

:: Big Gigantic ::

:: Gothic Theatre :: January 27 ::

:: Fox Theatre :: January 28 ::

:: three20South :: January 29 ::

:: Ghost Ranch Saloon :: January 30 ::

:: Belly Up :: February 2 ::

:: Abbey Theatre :: February 3 ::

:: Fly Me To The Moon Saloon :: February 4 ::

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