Walking Through The Wilderness With Big Wild
We sat down with Big Wild at Camp Bisco this past weekend to discuss Jackson’s success, future endeavors, and the landscape his music illustrates. Take a look at our interview below for a firsthand experience of the man behind the magic.
Sensible Reason: Your music has an exotic feel to it. What’s your favorite spot that you’ve traveled to? And what was it about the location that impacted you?
Big Wild: Oh man. I’ve had a lot of good experiences traveling in Europe. I really enjoyed visiting Ireland and Italy for the first time, but I think that probably the most crazy and wildest place I’ve ever visited was Alaska when I was in eighth grade. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, just pure wilderness. And to kind of be away from people for awhile was nice.
SR: What type of space do you imagine yourself in when creating a track? And how do you choose sounds that best describe that atmosphere?
BW: I kind of just go with whatever is inspiring me at the time. So, maybe it’s an artist or a particular environment it will just for whatever reason it triggers something inside that makes me want to create. And to create an atmosphere is really important to me. Almost every song I want to be a story and something that you get immersed in. How I choose the sounds though is…I’m not really sure, it’s kind of an instinctual thing at a certain point. I definitely choose sounds that you would associate with typical environments or scenes, maybe based on what people do in movies or different cultures, but I also like to pick unique sounds that you might not usually hear with something but for whatever reason kind of click a little bit. And that part is where it is more instinctual and more trying to be creative.
SR: What caused you to add the lyrics to “Aftergold”? And how did you choose Tove Styrke?
BW: I originally envisioned vocals on “Aftergold” and I wasn’t able to get a vocalist in time, so that’s why I did the vocal chop idea instead. It was always something I wanted to do, and it was like “alright, now that we put this out let’s give it a second chance with a singer.” I wanted to go a different route with it and attract a different crowd like people who would be more into a pop vocal sound. Tove was really interested in the track when we showed it to her and I liked her music, so it was a good fit.
SR: Obviously, congratulations on releasing a music video for “Aftergold.” How did you select the landscape for the video or did you have someone helped with the concept?
BW: Actually we had a completely different idea for the movie and our plans with the director fell through last minute, so it was kind of a scramble to figure out how in the hell are we going to make this video. It just so happens that I had visited the area outside of Las Vegas a couple times, it’s a really cool, natural area, and my management knew this director who was going out there to be filming. They asked him if she could also work on this as well, and she was totally down. I definitely envisioned a lot of mountains and wildlife scenery in general because when you see homemade videos people make you will see all kinds of different things. It’s almost like a montage song for a lot of people, so I wanted that feel but more based around mountains. I think they nailed it because there’s a lot of cool nature outside of Vegas. Then juxtaposing it against the city which is very man-made and the opposite of natural.
SR: How much creative impact did you have?
BW: I gave them a very general direction of what I visually wanted, but for the most part they kind of rolled with it. We had an idea of how we wanted it to look with the shots. They had the idea of going between the city and the mountains – bringing up that comparison.
SR: So when you’re working on something like that collaboratively, is it scary giving your work to someone else and letting them put their mark on it?
BW: A little bit. At the same time I have an idea for what the song looks like visually to me, but I’ve come to realize that what it looks like to me in my head is very different from other people too. So as long as I know the person who is doing it and trust their work, I am usually pretty open to give them a lot of creative freedom. And because [Aftergold] was on such a tight deadline, we just went with it.
SR: You’ve played a lot of shows this year. What is the biggest personal challenge with being more successful but also having to do more because you’re in demand?
BW: It’s just finding out how to divide my time. It’s like “today am I going work on my live show, mix, remix, or personal songs.” You have to realize that your time is constantly getting divided into more and more things, so you basically have to learn how to manage it. And it’s really tough when you’re on the road because you deal with stress and the tiredness that comes with traveling a lot. That can make it really difficult to work on music.
SR: When you’re on the road how do you find time for yourself?
BW: I try to stay relaxed. *laughs* It’s really a matter of being focused. For example, when I got here (Camp Bisco) last night I was like alright I’m just going to sleep so I can feel rested in the morning to work on my set a bunch for today and do interviews. I’m not going to mess around as much. But at the same time, I have to find time to not work on anything and blow off some steam and let loose otherwise I’ll burn out – like after the set. You gotta figure out how to manage your time.
SR: What got you into music initially?
BW: I guess initially it was hip-hop. That’s what really got me into making music. I wanted to emulate what I was hearing. That’s when I started to get into production on the computer. I played trumpet before then, but I was never super into it. I found that writing songs on the computer and being able to have all these ideas with different instruments rather than one made me able to express myself more. That’s what really got me into music. From there it just evolved and I would get influenced by different genres or different artists, and slowly build up my production chops.
SR: If you were going to have your own festival, what are the top five artists that you would put on the lineup? You’re not trying to sell tickets, just having the festival that you want to go to.
BW: I would pick somebody who I’ve seen before and is one of my favorite performers, Anderson Paak. I would pick Tame Impala. I am picking acts that would bring a big draw, but I’m not even trying to do that, I just really like them. This new group I’ve really gotten into called Hoops. They have some really cool guitar stuff. If I was able to unite the band, I would bring Led Zeppelin. I’d bring my LD, his band Head to Head is great, yeah they have some cool stuff.
SR: After releasing your Spring Mix, do you plan to release more mixes in the future? What’s different about producing mixes rather than a single track?
BW: I’m definitely planning on putting out some more mixes in the future. I just don’t think that it will 100% be my music. I want to put out something that is 30-40 minutes and kind of do it regularly. Because I’m always looking for new music and I want to put that skill to work. I find all this new stuff and I want to be able to share it with people. So yeah, I do plan on doing more things like that in the future. I know a lot of people don’t necessarily have time to find new music or put together a playlist, so I would love to be a tastemaker for those people.