Big Gigantic has been doing some pretty big things. They kicked off a month-long tour earlier this month in support of their fifth studio album The Night Is Young, just following their debut at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City supporting their friend Bassnectar.
Tomorrow night they will be doing what is sure to be a very fun Halloween show at The Tabernacle here in Atlanta. We spoke with saxophonist Dominic Lalli (who happens to have a master’s degree in Jazz from the Manhattan School of Music) and asked him some questions about Big Gigantic’s past and the future of electronic dance music.
You’ve played in Atlanta quite a few times. Is there anything new we can expect to see at your show on Friday?
Oh yeah, all kinds of new stuff. First of all it’s Halloween, so we’re gonna do all this other stuff – Halloween things. We have a new album out that we haven’t been through Atlanta yet so we’ll play a bunch of stuff off of that and a couple unreleased things that we’ve been playing out. We’re just trying to bring the house down pretty much.
You guys have grown exponentially in the past few years. What would you say is the biggest difference between the first time you played here in Atlanta to now?
Oh my god. So many differences. Well the first time we played in GA was in Athens, and I’m pretty sure it was a frat party, and then we went and did the GA Theatre after that. Our first Atlanta gig might have been where Terminal West is now [King Plow] and then we opened up for Sound Tribe at The Tabernacle; we played with Bassnectar at The Masquerade – that was wild. We’ve really had a pretty cool lifeline in terms of cool shows that we’ve played in Atlanta. We’ve done our own Tabernacle show before too – Tabby is just one of those epic venues, so it’s always really fun to know that we’re going back to play at that venue, especially to do our own show, and it’s Halloween so it’s gonna be a really sick night.
How much would you say stage set up and production adds to a live performance in a show?
Well, for what we’re trying to do it’s a pretty integral part of our whole vision in terms of what we want to do when bringing a live show to town. For us it’s pretty important; we want to have that visual thing linked up to all the music that we’re doing.
You had Cherub on the title track of your last album. Do you plan on doing more tracks with artists singing on them?
Yeah we’re definitely trying to do some different stuff, and some more stuff with those guys too. We actually just saw them the other day and we’re going to try to get them in the studio next month and try to make some more music. Love working with vocalists so we’re definitely going to continue trying to do more stuff like that.
What was your favorite festival you got to play at this past summer?
Counterpoint was amazing, one of our favorites that we got to do a couple years ago. We played Big Day Out in Australia this year which is like a traveling festival that goes all around Australia, that was really sick. Coachella was really badass this year – we brought a marching band out with us and it was in the Sahara tent which is this massive tent that they do all these crazy lights in, and it was two weekends so that was pretty sweet. Firefly was another festival that was really cool. We got to do a lot of really cool festivals this past Summer.
What artists do you listen to that influence you musically?
I listen to the stuff that’s on the radio, music from my friends like Pretty Lights, Bassnectar and Skrillex. Stuff that’s on the super underground, low, under the radar. I just try to find anything new, cool and different and really try to use that as my influence. But nothing too in particular because I like to just have more variety as it gives me more personality to my own sound.
What artists do you just enjoy listening to?
Checking out this producer TroyBoy, Flume, Disclosure, Bassnectar’s new album. Always checking out what Skrillex is doing, the homie Snails is doing some great stuff right now. I listen to so much music, a ton of jazz and classical music.
Who are your favorite Jazz musicians?
I would probably say either Herbie Hancock or Miles Davis. Those guys overall visions and how they put bands together, and the albums they put out definitely have a big influence on the stuff that I do everyday.
What 5 bands would play with you in your dream gig?
New York Philharmonics – the whole orchestra, Herbie Hancock on piano, Skrillex is dj’ing the whole thing, I’m playing sax, Jeremy is on the drums, and Rihanna is singing with Kendrick Lamar rapping. And we’d all play together the whole time – that would be tight! So hook me up with all those people and let’s make it rain.
What do you personally think is the future of electronic dance music? How do you see it evolving as the genre grows?
So hard to say. I think it’s definitely going to be evolving into something, because it’s got to and that’s what music always does. Something is gonna be happening but it’s really hard to say where it’s going to go. 10-15 years ago you wouldn’t have said DJ/Dance Music is going to take over everything like this, so it could be some brand new thing that we don’t even know is going to evolve and turn into this new hot s*** that all the kids are listening to. It’s like when hip hop music came and was sweeping America the way electronic music is now – they wanted their own hip hop awards and they wanted hip hop awards at the Grammys and there wasn’t anything like that. It’s such a similar situation to how the electronic music scene came up and what happened with that situation is it just becomes more a part of popular music. Hip hop really became infused with the popular music and I think now you’re starting to hear the same thing happening with electronic music. So I think it’s just gonna do that kind of thing and then there’s going to be things that branch out from it that are gonna be more successful than others, and there’s probably gonna be stuff in 10 years that we’re both going to be like “What the hell is that?”
What’s next for Big Gigantic?
We are sitting on some new music, and we’re going to have a little time off after tour – going to Europe in December. Working on trying to put out a new EP or something as early as we can next year. I feel like we’re kind of breaking in a bit of a new sound for us that I feel like we’ve been trying to hit on for a while. It’s got the drums and the 808’s but it’s fast and there’s funky beats but still a little dancey, with the horns and the strings but it’s bouncing. We’re gonna work on really getting that sound moving forward into something a little more special. We’re gonna have another big year next year traveling abroad and playing a bunch of cool festivals and stuff. We’re always just trying to bring something new and fresh to what we’re doing and to the scene.