Big Motif

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Big Motif strips its sound down for sophomore release Does It Weigh Heavy

:: The Big Motif ::
:: Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom ::
:: April 1 ::
:: Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids :: April 8 ::
:: Bar SS (for FOCOMX) :: April 9 ::
:: Lola :: April 10 ::
:: Cassleman’s :: April 21 ::

By Brian F. Johnson

 

In the two years that The Big Motif has been called The Big Motif (they used to be called the Runnin’ Wild Band, prior to 2009), the band has already learned enough about what they do that they took a completely different approach to their second album — and in doing so, they’ve kind of flipped the table on the normal path of a rock band.

Usually, bands start with something raw and refine it. The Big Motif, on the other hand, has acknowledged the beauty of a spit-shine, but chosen to get dirty instead.

In 2009, the band dropped its debut, self-titled release — a polished blues/funk fusion album that was crisp, tight and slick. It was an impressive release for the band, who at the time had no one of legal drinking age in their ranks.

But for their latest effort Does It Weigh Heavy, released on April Fool’s Day of this year, the band decided to shed their slicks for something with a bit more bite.

“I think the last album was pretty produced,” said guitarist Tony Pacello, when he talked with The Marquee after getting in an early spring round of golf. “I loved the last album. We were all happy with it and the songs on it. But like I said, we feel like it was really produced and what we wanted to do with this album, compared to the last one, was we wanted to make it a lot more raw and a lot more like how we play live. We wanted to make the sound on the album like how we are live because we don’t want there to be a difference between the two.”

That desire meant a slightly different course for the band’s songwriting on Does It Weigh Heavy. Pacello said that this album is more true to life, in his eyes. “There’s a lot more truth here on the songwriting,” Pacello said. “The writing for this album was based on, or at least came from real-life experiences. Even the actual instrumental parts were more based on what we have experienced as a band, and what I have experienced as an individual, compared to the last album. This one is a lot more closer to our hearts.”

Recorded at Module Overload studio, the seven-song album starts with a soft, but intricate bass line and an almost inaudible ride cymbal. But when that title-track hits the 30-second mark, the band explodes into a classic blues rock sound indicative of Doyle Bramhall II, or Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys.

Got the picture of their rawness yet?

Pacello credits a lot of that sound to his rhythm section, made up by 19-year-olds Jeff Jani on drums and Hunter Roberts on bass. “Jeff has been playing drums since he was three and Hunter has been playing since he was seven. They grew up not even a block from each other, so they’ve been playing together since a really early age. There’s a lot of bands that would kill for that communication, and for me, playing with a rhythm section that’s been together for that long is so great. They have a great deal of chemistry, which I am forever grateful for,” he said.

The three musicians met through a radio station contest where they were actually playing in other youth bands. They initially got together with several other musicians, but after they found that some of them weren’t as dedicated, they scaled down to a trio.

Eventually, the band met up with Morris Beegle of Hapi Skratch Records. Beegle’s brother Dave — himself an accomplished musician — produced their first album, and Pacello said that what Morris Beegle has done for the band has been incredible. “Morris has been really supportive of us being who we want to be. When we created this album Morris helped us produce it and helped us to make the sound that we wanted to make. And, he’s great because he helps that way, while also pushing us to look at things from a managerial point of view, too. With him on board, it’s just much more productive,” Pacello said.

With this album in the bag, and a series of gigs to promote it, the band will hit things hard this spring and summer, and hope to do some touring this year as well. “We really want to try to stay busy throughout the summer and play out as much as we can and promote this album,” he said.

Touring for a band that still has two minors in it can be daunting (lots of clubs don’t want to mess with keeping backstage areas dry of alcohol), but Pacello said that it’d suit him fine if age isn’t ever discussed in regards to the band. “We have kind of used our age as a marketing tool in some regards. It’s easy for Morris to say, ‘Hey, these guys are only 20.’ But we don’t really want it to be about our age,” Pacello said. “We want it to be about our music.”

 

:: The Big Motif ::

:: Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom ::

:: April 1 ::

:: Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids :: April 8 ::

:: Bar SS (for FOCOMX) :: April 9 ::

:: Lola :: April 10 ::

:: Cassleman’s :: April 21 ::

 

Recommended if you Like:

• Gov’t Mule

• Doyle Bramhall II

• Band of Gypsys

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