This Friday, one of my biggest inspirations makes his way to San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom. Jackson is a hell of a dude, and his music has a very unique way of giving you energy while immersing you in a plethora of synths in a drum-filled frenzy. Check out what he had to say about his path and process so far:
C+A+D: Let’s start with how I found out about you, through Odesza and when you opened for them about 2 years ago at SXSW. How did that relationship come about and how do you think that made a change to your career?
Big Wild: Our relationship definitely helped a lot, because there’s a lot of crossover between their music and my music. Odesza’s fans were able to connect with their music and they become my fans too. It was just a really beneficial relationship for both parts. It’s been cool to get tips and advice from them. Not to mention working with Foreign Family. It was a big difference maker in pushing me to where I am today.
C+A+D: The invincible EP is a perfect summation of you and how your sound developed over the years…My favorite song is between Empty Room and Invincible, which are unmistakably you. What was the most challenging part of putting this EP together? Where did you see the most improvement to your process?
Big Wild: The hardest part about it was just its completion. I had been working on some of these songs for over a year; on and off. It’s really easy to run into roadblocks or writers-block. Through this process, I’ve made changes on how I make music now, so I can make music a lot faster than before.
There would be times when I didn’t know how to make the drop hit harder…or how to tweak this or that. I think that was the hardest part. Accepting that I could keep making changes to the song forever, and it’s never going to be perfect, and to just finish it. That’s a really big part of putting together any kind of project, EP, or even a single. Just knowing when to say, “OK. I’m not really improving the song. I’m just making it sound different.” And that’s crucial.
C+A+D: What other equipment makes up your live rig? Did you evolve your rig from a more basic set up, or has it remained the same since you began performing
Big Wild: I really try to focus on not piling up a bunch of gear and keeping it fairly minimal. I don’t want to clutter my stage with gear and separate me from the crowd. My set up over time has pretty much the same amount of things. I used to use a nord keyboard but on this tour I’m using a keyboard that also triggers samples off my computer as well. I’m happy with how it brings my songs to life in front of a crowd.
C+A+D: If you had a time machine and were able to talk to yourself before your first show as Big Wild, what advice would you give?
Big Wild: Oh that’s a good question. *thinks for a few seconds* If I had to give myself advice, it would be not to overthink everything. Don’t make music more complicated than it needs to be, because I definitely tend to do that. Another thing is to understand the importance of different elements in all types of music and why people would like those things.
For example, when I started out I was really into hip hop. I would make hip hop instrumentals, and I was 100% all about producing. That’s what I was listening to and focusing on in songs. By doing that I wasn’t focusing as much on vocals, or what type of voice this needs, or what the lyrics are. When I first started out, because I didn’t pay attention to that, I had holes in my musicianship. When I would go to make a song and try to focus on vocals or a lead instrument, it would be really difficult.
It’s important to not get sucked into one part of a song, and focus on all the parts; like the melody of the vocals for example. Understand what goes into making a FULL song, rather than get too obsessed on one specific part of a song. Which I guess goes back to not overthinking it. These are all things that were goals for me on this EP. Get involved with writing the lyrics. Get involved with writing the melody for the singers. Work on these other things that I never cared much about, but now I’m very much into. This EP was a learning experience for that, and I’m at peace with how it came out.