BIGG are a Reading UK based four piece with a dynamic, giant incendiary rock sound. Maybe it's stamped all over with aging American hardcore and thrash metal, rock and hip-hop references, but it's the taking of those references and transplanting them, reinterpreting them in Reading that makes their sound so contemporary and so thrilling.
BIGG formed just a few years ago when brothers Tom, the singer and James, the guitarist, moved to Reading in the UK and met up with rythym section, Pearce O'Keefe (bass) and James "Smithy" Smith (drums).
At the time, Tom had started writing material which the other band members really enjoyed and not long after that they began writing as a group. Since then virtually all of their songs are born from jamming and writing as a collective.
The band focus has always been on writing songs with performance in mind as they are foremost a live band. The songs are action packed, and they say, fun to play and most importantly fun to listen to.
Relentless gigging in support of their first EP, Lock Up Your Daughters (bandcamp) and its amazing stand out (in any language or vernacular), How Do You Sleep, has earned them a massive reputation for their high energy live shows. BIGG are currently piecing together a new series of EP's while keeping up their frenetic gigging schedule...
OL: Let's talk about the first EP, Lock up your Daughters, it sounds amazing, perhaps, with a nod to early 90s american rock, maybe that's how I hear it. There's that epic dynamic to it. Where was it recorded, engineered, say something about that process...
BIGG: For "LUYD" we really wanted to capture the raw energy of our live set. We'd been disappointed in the past with multitrack recordings we'd done where the feel wasn't really there so decided to focus our efforts on finding a studio that would work with us to help keep the energy up. We eventually settled on Brighton Electric (in, would you believe it, Brighton) where the studio manager Jimi Wheelwright of Tigercub introduced us to Ben Hampson who became our Producer and Tech for the record. Ben really understood what we wanted to achieve and we worked through an intense pre production session with us so we would work out how best to use our time in the studio (which was limited by our very stretched budget!)
We ended up playing all together at the same time in the same room to record the drums and a set of scratch tracks for each song (using some clever studio trickery to keep the room silent apart from the drums that were being tracked) so that every member could hear something approximating the finished thing as they were tracking their part. This allowed us to really lock in with each other as we were playing and the energy of the performance stayed intact. We then re-amped all the guitar and bass tracks through various old and expensive tube amps for the huge sound that we're now so proud of.
OL: There's a cornucopia of influences on your music, what do you guys listen to, is there anything we should hear?
BIGG: We'll listen to anything once, and very often lift bits and bobs from places you'd never expect. Each of us sort of has a broad area of interest but theres quite a lot of run together. We like so much stuff and have made friends with so many amazing musicians this year alone that it wouldn't be feasible or fair to try to list even half of the people we'd recommend you listen to (But if you look at the bands we're gigging with, or that our Page follow on facebook you should get a pretty good idea!)
OL: You make pretty cool videos - how does that all work?
BIGG: Our Latest video for "How Do You Sleep" was actually all shot on our phones! We'd written a basic storyboard and decided that to save money we could shoot it ourselves. We spent 2 very cold and rainy nights walking up and down a tunnel by the Kennet with Wade operating the camera (Phone) while Smithy and Pearce held lights and played the song so it could be lip-synced. We have lots of ideas for music videos, but sadly they all seem to fall by the wayside due to our intense gigging schedule (20-odd more shows between now and Christmas! Details on our Website www.bigg-band.com;)
OL: You have a tremendous reputation as a live band do you have a favourite, maybe epochal gig you've played, or a bad one we always like to hear about the bad ones!
BIGG: We try not to let the bad gigs get us down so they usually just end up forgotten rather than bad memories. We've played our share of empty rooms and wobbly stages, but everyone has, it's a bit of a badge of honour. We once played a show over in Neath and afterwards the audience (all 5 of them) thanked us for taking to the stage, apparently previously bands have turned up, looked around, thought "fuck that" and gone home without playing!
For memorably good gigs, it's hard to top WowFest! In June we put on our own miniature festival in the Wade Bro's back garden, the place they live is called the BungleWow so Wowfest was the obvious choice. We built a stage out of pallets, stocked a bar and booked a line up of all our mates bands. We headlined the night, playing as the sun went down with all our friends and fans going mental, it was very special to us. It's also spawned a set of weekenders (wow weekends) between us and 2 Other bands (Radiosaurus and The Dirty Dead) where we each go to the others hometowns for a weekend to make some noise and some new friends. We're really looking forward to these shows which will be happening October/November time.
OL: You've been promoting Lock Up Your Daughters for a while now, what's next for the band?
BIGG: We're heading back into the studio in a couple of weeks time, to record a string of singles that we can release over the next year. Recording a cohesive EP was fun but it meant that we only really had one release for the year, whereas with singles we can tease and release tracks one after another every couple of months, and switch up our sets, shows and merch to match our releases.
Apart from that we're trying to heft up our already very busy calendar. We aimed to play 50 shows this year and we're on target! Next year we want to do even more, and try to lock down some of those elusive festival slots and maybe a short EU tour (depending on the visa situation! Brexit etc). We're not so good at the social media and marketing parts of being in a band, so we're hoping that hundreds of gigs and a ripping live set will pay off for us!
Find Out More About BIGG
Hamilton High was born on Doheny Ave in the gutter, is a poet, writer and observer of popular culture. Likes fashion and cares less for style. He's on the move, he's an alter ego and we hardly ever hear from him.