Big Gigantic rumbles to Town Ballroom - INTERVIEW
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • November 03, 2012 @ 8:00am
Big Gigantic drummer Jeremy Salken is familiar with Buffalo, but he’s not THAT familiar with Buffalo. He wasn’t aware that Buffalo wings originated in Buffalo—a little embarrassing, he admits—but he still harbors nothing but fond memories for the Queen City.
“I haven’t been to the Town Ballroom,” Salken said in a phone interview last week, “but I remember the last two times we’ve been to Buffalo, and it’s been frickin’ nuts. The first time we came, we were like, ‘Holy sh*t, Buffalo gets wild.’”
How wild will Buffalo be when the jam-band/EDM duo of Salken and saxophonist Dominic Lalli gallivants to Town Ballroom? The show starts at 7 p.m. Monday with opener Crizzly, and tickets can be purchased here for $17.
Instead of starting out by discussing concert visuals and Big Gigantic’s coming album, we clarified the meaning of “Buffalo-style” in terms of chicken wings—then discussed why Salken thought Buffalo was wilder than other cities.
“You guys are in the western part of New York—I don’t know if it’s that you don’t get enough music there, so you really appreciate it when it does come, or because you guys are as cold as sh*t so you need to rage to stay warm,” Salken said with a chuckle.
Big Gigantic’s two-month Uprising Tour serves dual purposes: to provide fans with the band’s vaunted live concert experience and to experiment with new tracks for a coming album.
“It’s always been a big focus of ours to put on not only the best musically-oriented show that we can, but also one that’s super visually stimulating,” Salken noted.
You can refer to the embedded video above to see Big Gigantic’s LED presentation, but in short, Lalli and Salken are split into two elevated pods that each boast light displays. Not too different visually from Datsik’s “Vortex” from his Buffalo show Oct. 3—except it’s less reliant on 3D projection mapping and lacks the inward spiral—Big Gigantic’s stage design is intricate and the flexible panels were novel when they were first introduced.
“We were in Binghamton playing a show when our light guy drew this design on a napkin, and I said, ‘Oh my God, I think that’s it!’ I sketched it out on Adobe Illustrator, and we sent it to our manager with a picture of the napkin, and we said, ‘Let’s do this.’ Our manager said, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’” But, the project came to fruition.
Salken admitted that the current live experience isn’t perfect—“We feel removed from the crowd because we’re behind these big tables on a riser,” he said—but it hasn’t diminished Big Gigantic’s dynamic concert experience.
“As we design our next set, we’re taking that into consideration and trying to get ourselves in the crowd almost, or as close as we can,” Salken noted.
Once the tour draws to a close, Lalli and Salken will return to Boulder, Colo. to work on their next album—the duo hasn’t set a firm date on its release, but he’s hoping that Big Gigantic’s third full-length album will be available before spring. While much of their efforts toward producing new tracks—Lalli does much of the writing and the producing—will come in the studio off-tour, the present Uprising Tour serves as an opportunity for the duo to test tracks on a live audience.
“We’re already dropping new tracks in our live set now that we’re experimenting with,” Salken explained. “We’re taking the live band approach—playing a song live, tweaking it and then perfecting it before the album.”
Even though he says he’s been through Western New York before on a trip to the Aquarium of Niagara, Salken needs a heavy dose of Buffalo when he visits early next week, if only so he can avoid statements like the one below.
“I’ve never eaten Buffalo wings in Buffalo,” Salken said, still marveling that he didn’t know their origin. “Dude, I know that makes me sound really stupid, but it sounds like you have some real Buffalo wings there.”
(Bottom photo and header photo courtesy of the Big Gigantic Facebook page).