How can you describe Big Something? Many people would call them an alternative rock band and they seem to agree. I, however, think that their name sums up their musical identity quite succinctly. The six piece ensemble, Big Something, fuses several widely different genres together to make something fresh. Summing it up, they are a big band of something that, at the end of the day, make truly excellent music. They are Big Something.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with the band members and talking about Big Something, along with their thoughts on the importance of thoughtful music making. Nick MacDaniels (guitar and lead vocal), Jesse Hensley (lead guitar), Casey Cranford (sax and wind synth), Josh Kagel (keyboard and trumpet), Doug Marshall (bass), and Ben Vinograd (drums) compose the full line-up. They had just gotten back from Jam Fest, a weeklong cruise ship festival (Casey tells me they got to jam with some of their heroes).
Following a brief introduction, we got into some of their influences as a band. They have a wide range when it comes to influences from early jazz and reggae, to the electro-pop and grunge rock of the 80s and 90s. Following this, we talked about how they formed and where their hearts are at. Doug spoke about their origins, saying the band “happened out of necessity” whilst Josh lovingly described the band as “the fusion of the best parts of music we all like.” With Michael Jackson dimly thrumming in the club upstairs, I ask the band what song off their new record Tumbleweed is the most fun to play. They unanimously respond with “Waves”, but there isn’t a song on the album that they don’t love playing. The LP is about 8 tracks and spans a little over an hour in length.
“This all happened because we love playing music together as a unit and we vibe off each other.” – Doug Marshall, bassist.
I was initially drawn to them by their laid back attitudes, as well as their love of almost all varieties of music. We were halfway through talking about Polyphia (a prog metal outfit I recently find myself obsessed with), when the call for sound check rang out.
As 11 rolled around, we all retreated to the green room where the band, myself and a whole menagerie of crew hung out, eating dinner until the club told us to head upstairs for the show. I really admired how relaxed they all were, even though they were about to perform. I know I would have been freaking out, even if this was my 1000th show. Conversation shifted to the tour manager and it was clear to see that he was as much a member of the band as any other part of the ensemble. As we launched into a heated debate regarding the best shape of chicken wings, we got the signal for the show to start and began to head upstairs.
The show began quickly to a flash of light and a burst of amazing music. The music they were making was practically a living thing in its own right. At random points during the show, one of the members would launch into a solo, seamlessly blending it into the rest of the track. The lighting of the show also deserves a distinct shout-out, ranging from complex arrays of strobes to the entire aquatic animations on my favorite song, “The Undertow.”
Big Something is all you could want from a rock-funk fusion group. They’ll most certainly always be welcome here at SCAD Radio whenever they are in town. You can hear their tunes on scadradio.org or RadioFX (not compatible for Android). Believe me, you won’t regret it.
Check out their latest release “Tumbleweed” on Spotify, or pick up a copy on February 24th.