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Published: 2009/09/30
by Ben Weiss

Big Gigantic: Rowdy Beats, Live Synths, and Saxophones

Whether you’ve seen them opening for STS9, on tour with Conspirator, or as the closing act at Rothbury, it’s hard to have missed the impact Big Gigantic has been making on the jamtronica circuit since they blazed onto the scene this past October. With the combination of Dominic Lalli’s thick, powerful beats and live synth lines over Jeremy Salken’s explosive drum set, Big Gigantic has manifested a full bodied sound that keeps the audience dancing. And with the introduction of Lalli’s soulful saxophone parts during the group’s live performances, Big Gigantic has patented a fusion of sound that separates them from other acts on the jamtronica circuit.

Furthermore, because Lalli’s musical roots are steeped in jazz, the electronic element is infused with a traditional jazz soul, so that the music stays fresh. A packed fall tour schedule includes appearances with everyone from The Disco Biscuits, to Telepath and Pnuma Trio. With this in mind, I had the opportunity to talk with Dominic Lalli about how the project started, what he’s experienced so far, and what we can expect in the future.

It seems like this past Spring I was just starting to hear the name Big Gigantic when all of the sudden you’re opening for Conspirator and closing out Rothbury. To what do you owe this rapid notoriety?

I basically started this project in late October of last year, and it’s been kind of nuts. I’ve just been trying to keep up with everything that’s come our way. Our first gig was like, we opened up for [DJ] Rootz and Murph here in Boulder, and we just have a good team right now, and we’ve just been trying to do a lot of networking stuff online, and keep our stuff super fresh. You know, we opened up for STS9 a few times, and it’s just stuff like that, just trying to keep the train rolling.

Big Gigantic is not your first project. How would you compare your role in does Big Gigantic differ from the role you play in your other group, The Motet?

I do still play with the Motet, we just aren’t playing quite as much as we have been. And I guess the difference between the two is I play mostly saxophone with the Motet, and I guess a little bit of keyboard, but in Big Gigantic I’m DJ’ing my own beats, and playing synths, and playing sax, so I’m sort of controlling the ebb and flow of the whole thing. I’m controlling the way the music is flowing in Big Gigantic, and you know still playing horn solos while still on the keys and synths and stuff like that.

Your first album, Fire It Up, is available for download free of charge on your website. How do you think this method of music dispersal has played into your success?
I think that definitely helps. It’s sort of like the new wave of what’s happening, and it’s the best way to get your music out to everybody. I think it’s been a tremendous help in allowing us to be where we are right now, just getting music out to people so they can hear it, and then getting them out to the live shows.

Fans may have noticed that Fire It Up actually has no sax parts on it, an integral part of your live show. Why did you choose to leave the horn out of this album?

You know, since we’re such a young band, everything’s happened so fast that I really haven’t had a lot of time to put a lot of stuff together and my studio isn’t really set up to record horns. So anyways, I just wanted to get something out to people, so basically Fired Up is just a compilation of all the beats I’ve been making and the stuff we’re playing live, minus the horn and the live drums. So for now, you know, it’s a little incentive to come see us live because it’s a little different than the album, there’s actually a live element to it. But also I’m already in the works on a second EP that we’re throwing sax and live drums on as well. So I just wanted to get something out to everybody, and not necessarily take the extra production time to add the sax onto the first album.

When will the new album be released, exactly?

Early October.

Your musical roots are as a jazz musician, and you currently play in a heavily electronic group. Can you explain some of the range of influences that can be seen in your music?

I’m really a saxophone player. I really just started getting into making beats and electronic music a few years ago, so I’m a huge jazz fan. John Coltrane, Miles Davis, you know, all huge influences on all the music that I’m playing and making, even the electronic music. So they’re sort of my main influences, but in terms of my general music stuff, there’s so many producers making so much great music that have played a huge part in the music I’m making. Jazz people all the way to current electronic music producers have really heavily influenced all my music. That includes everyone from Alex B to Eliot Lipp, to Flying Lotus, Rustie, Hudson Mohawke and Thievery Corporation. Even Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne. Oh, and Herbie Hancock. He’s probably the biggest influence for me in general.

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