An Interview With The Pop-Rock Band BIG SOMETHING On Their New Album, ‘The Otherside’!
Posted On 23 May 2018
Big Something released their newest album, The Otherside, on April 20th. The lead single from the collection is called “Sundown Nomad” and it can be listened to here: https://goo.gl/wQ6mr6
Big Something fuses elements of rock, pop, funk, and improvisation to take listeners on a journey through a myriad of musical styles. On The Otherside, Big Something continues to build upon the post-apocalyptic peyote trip imagery from Tumbleweed, concluding the story of a nomad who has made it to the other side of his journey wandering through the night towards a desert sunrise. The album also showcases a different musical side of the band with a heavier, more focused, and soulful collection of 8 songs.
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Learn more about Big Something in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Besides this interview, what else do you guys have on tap for today?
Casey – I’m listening to new music. I’m bumping this new Janelle Monàe album, Dirty Computer which is absolute fire.
Jesse – I’m currently sitting in the South Carolina sunshine, watching pups play in the yard and drinking coffee.
How has being from your hometown influenced this band and the kind of music that you make today?
Ben: Well The Piedmont area has a really dense musical history. Aside from the obvious bluegrass and folk stuff a lot of great jazz, pop and even rap has come from NC. People like Thelonious Monk, J-Cole, Nina Simone, James Taylor so it’s a pretty cool spectrum. I don’t know what it is but there seems to just be a ton a variety and innovation that pervades the music scene down here.
Jesse – Most all of us have different original hometowns and vary a bit in age as well. Personally I feel that this tends to be the biggest factor on how we sound as a collective unit rather than where we all reside now which is in NC. Some of us grew up in the south east and have remnants of folk / bluegrass, southern rock, and soul. A couple of us grew up in the DC area bringing bits of 90’s alternative, Go-Go and Hip Hop flavors. Some of us have more of a connection to that 80’s sound and production and some of us grew up playing in large band studying more classical and jazz. There are tons of influences that I really hope listeners can find if they choose to analyze our songs and albums.
How did you all meet and form this band? Can you remember the first moment where you thought you could be in this band together and make music?
Casey- We basically all met up through the Burlington and Triad North Carolina music scene. Most of us played in different bands before being introduced to each other. The Big Something thing was like a magnet and we were all drawn towards it for whatever reason.
Was it difficult coming up with your band name? What were some of the other names the you considered?
Nick: We threw around lots and lots of different ideas. Most of them were jokes. I honestly can’t remember most of them. Naming a band is hard. “Big Something” was one of the ideas written down on a list of potential band names. We showed that list to our producer John Custer when we were recording our first album. He quickly glanced over all the options and the first thing he said was “I think you guys could rock the Big Something.”
How does it feel to have released your new album “The Otherside” ? Did anything surprise you about putting together this album? How do you think it compares to anything else that you have put out? I read that it felt effortless to put it together. Why is that?
Nick- This is the album that I’m most proud of so far. It felt like everyone was really dialed in and playing great. I think it’s a little bit more of a deep cut album with more improvisation and free flowing ambient space compared to our older albums, but it still sounds like us.
Casey- Most recording projects are huge undertakings and this was no exception. I would say that it was a more fluid experience than our past efforts, probably because we are all accustomed to playing with each other and working with our producer, John Custer. This is our fifth together, and the material was fresh as well. We had a great creative energy flowing in the studio.
I know it’s difficult to pick but can you pick out a few of your favorite songs from this album and talk about how they were written? How do you all generally go about writing your music?
Doug – One thing I love about this album is that I can’t pick a favorite. Each song is so much fun to play! Plug is one of my favorites for sure. We just played Smoke Signal for the first time live. I can’t wait to hear that one grow each night. The song writing comes from everywhere. Nick does a ton of it. He is constantly working on new ideas. And it’s fun when a new one comes together!
Nick – A lot of the songs are written very gradually over long spans of time in various different settings. Several of the musical ideas from this album came from a late night jam session we did at our friend Soup’s house. We recorded a bunch of different jams and I then I would visit my friend Paul Interdonato (our lyricist) and we would listen to the recordings and brainstorm on the lyrics together. Wildfire, The Cave, and Smoke Signal all came together like that with Paul and I listening to different musical ideas from our practice sessions. The Cave actually started as a poem that Paul wrote many years ago and it finally got put to music on this album.
How do you think Big Something has grown as a band over the years? What has remained the same? Do you find that what motivates you to all be in this band has shifted at all?
Jesse – With writing and touring as much as we have in recent years, there are a lot of aspects that are constantly changing. The things that speak to us musically, the people we come in contact with, the venues we play, so on and so forth but I feel as if what motivates us as a group hasn’t really changed but only grown stronger. The goal has always been to make honest music that we all can be proud of.
Doug- We have grown so many ways in this band. There has always been a lot of talent. But hearing how we have gelled together over the years is awesome. Everyone has grown closer as a group which is just as important sometimes.
Looks like you have a busy Spring and Summer playing at music festivals around the US. Where are you looking forward to playing at? What can people expect from your shows? What do you think makes for an ideal show for Big Something?
Josh: I’m looking forward to returning to Telluride for The Ride Festival and the Mountain Music Festival in West Virginia. There’s also some new ones coming up for us such as Electric Forest. Expect to smile, dance, have a great time and probably make some new friends!
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere? Do you have any upcoming touring dates scheduled?
Casey- I am at my happiest when I’m in the moment of creating music and I look outward, to see some person enjoying it.
How do you think being a musician and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today? With everything going on in the world today, how do you think your music is a reflection of these times?
Casey- music is a gift to everyone from the universe. If we didn’t have it in our lives I don’t know what we would do. Even though the world seems crazy now, I feel like things have always been a bit crazy. We have to look past the craziness and focus on the “now” in order to have any sort of positive effect on our surroundings.
Who are you all listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Ben: Tons of stuff! Every single person in this band is constantly bringing new stuff to the Van stereo! Casey just introduced me to Knower recently, Nick just showed me Miguel, Josh has been getting me back into Imogen Heap/Frou Frou and him and Casey brought Kate Bush to my attention, Doug’s always got a bead on some new prog and metal like Lazer/Wulf and KXM and Jesse is incredible because he records people’s demos in his home studio. His buddy Drew Foust has some new songs that I’ve been obsessed with lately, he also randomly stumbled onto this band Mingo Fishtrap when I was driving and he was sitting shotgun on tour. So I’d say all of this stuff seeps into my subconscious. I would love to work with anyone who wants to collaborate and be creative, whether it’s the girl or guy down the street or people that are out there on the road like us. Kamasi, Lettuce, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi…people I admire from a distance that are pushing boundaries musically and seem like great people too!
Casey- I’m currently hooked on this new Janelle Monàe record, Dirty Computer.
What advice would you give to a young band just getting started today?
Ben: Get ready to work. Nobody gets to where they want in music without putting in a lottttt of time and effort. It won’t always seem fun, but the beauty comes when you catch little moments of “wow” amidst all the grinding and traveling and loading.
Jesse – Stay as mindful and aware as possible and learn to enjoy and cherish every aspect of what you have the opportunity to do with your life no matter what that may be. Also, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone because that’s where all of the best stuff lives.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
Casey – I would like to share a general enthusiasm about embracing who you are. If we as musicians can share our ‘‘selves,’’ then you can share yours if you choose to. We thank you for your interest in our project and we hope it helps you in some way, shape or form