Big Gigantic Returns to Red Rocks to Host Rowdytown II

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:: Big Gigantic’s Rowdytown II Pre-Party ::

:: Fillmore Auditorium ::

:: September 27 ::

 

:: Big Gigantic’s Rowdytown II ::

:: Red Rocks Amphitheatre ::

:: September 28 ::

 

By Brian F. Johnson

“We’re really hustling the whole time, so it’s like a sprint — not that it ever ends. You barely have time to sit back and say, ‘Man, this is awesome,’” said Big Gigantic drummer Jeremy Salken in a recent group interview with The Marquee. “Even gigs like Red Rocks, when you’re supposed to be taking it all in and realizing this is the greatest gig I might ever play, you’re still in the zone. You’re still thinking ‘I need to crush it tonight’ and we need to do this and that, and you don’t really have the chance to sit back and say, ‘Holy fucking shit. We’re playing fucking Red Rocks.”

Salken and producer/saxophonist Dominic Lalli have been running that sprint for more than five years now, and over the past year-and-a-half the live-tronica duo has completed various soldout headlining tours and played some of the country’s most major festivals, including Lollapalooza, Ultra, Hangout, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, and Outside Lands, among others. During that time, the group also saw their 2012 release Nocturnal receive over 250,000 downloads, while their Facebook page grew to over 100,000 fans (which they marked the milestone by releasing a special remix of Jay-Z’s “Cant I Get A…”).

“It’s all happened so fast,” said Lalli. “You know, for a while there I was still playing with The Motet and trying to juggle both, and right when The Motet started to chill out a bit is right when things took off for Big G. It’s weird. It’s crazy. Because we just used to hang out at the Mountain Sun every night finding places to sit in. I feel like we’re the same guys, but I’m literally so busy now it just goes by too quick and I’m just trying to find the time to write music. So it’s still the same in terms of what the goal is.”

Lately, for Lalli, that means working on Big Gigantic’s next album, which will most likely come out early next year. “The plan was to release it before Red Rocks, but basically, a few weeks ago we came to the decision to push it back a few months to the beginning of next year. I feel like I’ve started stumbling onto something special and to rush that right now wouldn’t be a smart move,” Lalli said. “So I’m working on everything, every day, and trying to get the music and vision as clear and as awesome as possible.”

Lalli said that he has more than half of the still not publicly named album completely written and finished. He described his writing process as “a lot of trial and error. It’s a lot of ideas and re-arranging,” he said, while Salken explained that he doesn’t actually play on the album. “In the beginning, Dom was sitting there making tracks and we realized how hard it is to make live drums sound as good as those beats. We recorded the drums and did it at a studio, but it didn’t sound as good,” Salken said. “So while Dom writes I focus on the business aspect, and live is where our music takes its real shape, when I expand on the ideas that are there, which turns it into this more organic thing than it is.”

While the full album might be delayed, they plan to release a single from the disc just before Big Gigantic returns to Red Rocks for Rowdytown II — their second annual Red Rocks extravaganza. 2012’s Rowdytown sold out and was the first show to ever use “projection mapping,” which displayed visuals on the venue’s epic rock faces. The show was voted the number one EDM show of 2012 by Westword, and Lalli and Salken are taking every second to capitalize on the return, by making the 2013 show even bigger. For a promotional video they shot for the announcement, Big G boasted “Double the lights. Double the projection mapping. Double the Rowdy.”

While Lalli handles crafting the blend of funk, dubstep, house and hip-hop beats that are the backbone of Big Gigantic, Salken handles a lot of production for the live shows, and is the one responsible for making sure that the lighting director’s ideas work to properly compliment the music.

While last year’s projection mapping was historic, Salken said that they want it to go even better for Rowdytown II. “Last year, we did get a test day to set it up and see if it would even work. We previewed it, but barely. There are so many logistics that go into that, and the goal for this year is to be twice as bright and as clear as possible. The projectors are competing with strobes and it’s hard to get brighter than a strobe,” Salken said. He added that last year the show fell on the night of a full harvest moon and that moonlight was competition for the visuals, but this year the show will fall when the moon is in its last quarter and shouldn’t interfere.

“We’re really excited to bring this next chapter to the Rocks. It’s a dream that for the second time we’re getting to do it,” said Salken.

Both Lalli and Salken, who were formerly roommates back before Big Gigantic, said that coming up in the scene together has been yet another dream come true for the old friends. “I met Dom through The Motet,” said Salken. “He was living in New York and was always coming in to play with them, and I just moved here and would literally go to every Motet show — you know, when they were playing Dulcinea’s and the Fox and the Mountain Sun. I’d go see Dave Watts and always try to get a drum lesson from him. That was my goal. Eventually, I got in with them and started making posters for The Motet. Then my job grew to where I was selling merch on the road and setting up Dave’s drum set. And I got to play with them. They asked me to sit in a few times and I thought that was the greatest thing to play with Dave and Garrett [Sayers] and Ryan [Jalbert] and that’s how our relationship formed. And when we started playing together, the scene was growing and the guys in Sound Tribe [STS9] brought us out and there were a lot of those people who took us under their wing and brought us into the community. And then you have Pretty Lights and Bassnectar and Skrillex emerging and everybody started blowing up and the EDM scene was emerging. It just became more real.”

But Salken said that as the machine of Big Gigantic continues to grow with each passing month, he and Lalli still feel like it’s all new and surreal. “It’s funny. Every time we have a milestone, like we play Red Rocks or a big New Year’s show or get a bus, we’re still like, ‘Whoa, this is what real bands do.’ Because we used to tour in my freaking Subaru — just the two of us, driving around. And then we rented a van and we were like, ‘This is what real bands do.’ Then we got a Sprinter and we were like, ‘Oh wow, this is like what reals bands do.’ So it’s like each moment it becomes more real and I still don’t think that it’s fully real,” said Salken.

Lalli agreed, adding, “We’re still humbled every day by the response. We’re always so human all the time.”

 

:: Big Gigantic’s Rowdytown II Pre-Party ::

:: Fillmore Auditorium ::

:: September 27 ::

 

:: Big Gigantic’s Rowdytown II ::

:: Red Rocks Amphitheatre ::

:: September 28 ::

 

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