Currently one of the most exciting bands in the scene right now, Big Something is a masterful combination of whatever you consider your favorite genres delivered with precision, energy, and ambition. Big Something's strength has been their live performances, which is inherently birthed from the chemistry they share as a group but also their continuous evolution in exploring various sonic landscapes through their songwriting. These skills have all come together as of late, forming an equilibrium, which paved the way for their most successful studio body of work to date, Tumbleweed, which was released February 24th via Truth Serum Records. As Simon stated in his review, " It's an incredibly satisfying, if not innovative, release that fuses alternative rock, psych rock, reggae rock, and funk with sprinkles of electronica and a dash of bluegrass that purrs with enough signature brilliance that makes it sound all their own." If you haven't done so, give Tumbleweed a listen.
We last caught up with the band about three years ago, where we dove deep into the world of Big Something via the lens of frontman Nick MacDaniels. Read the interview HERE! With our excitement over Big Something's recent album, we recently caught up with the band to discuss their evolution over the last three years, the various challenges or successes they've experienced, and much more. Enjoy the conversation below.
Last time we touched base was around three years ago, December of 2014. The first question was in regards to notoriety and success. Over the last three years, we’ve seen your fandom grow; your tours gain more attraction, your festival receiving more attendees, as well as you guys booking more festivals. Have you guys reached that place where you no longer need to have day jobs and can play music for a living?
Nick: haha no… I guess we’re getting kinda close but not really ... Josh is technically still a full-time employee at Company Shops Market in Burlington NC. He’s got a great reputation there and they are super awesome about his schedule and letting him work from the road. Ben is a calzone delivery artist. Doug works as a cook in a restaurant on our off days. Jesse works at a local guitar shop doing repairs and teaching lessons. Need your guitar setup? Give him a call haha. The rest of us kinda pick up odd jobs here and there teaching lessons etc.
What have been some of the challenges in handling this consistent growth and what does this idea of notoriety and success mean to you presently?
Ben: I think the goal for all of us is to reach a point where we can live comfortably and be able to commit ourselves more and more to this band and the music we are able to create because of that. It’s more about reaching a point where we can create and be productive on our time off rather than working side jobs and things like that.
Jesse: There are challenges but we all believe that they come with great reward. As you can imagine, our lifestyles are a little unorthodox... hahaha! Our schedules are really different than most people who are living the 9 to 5 American dream so to speak and it’s become tough at times to get schedules to line up with the people at home you love. It takes a special kind of commitment from a lot of people to keep what we do growing and running smoothly. As far as the notoriety, We just want to be able to hit new peaks musically and in our relationships together. We are so pumped and thankful for all the new opportunities!
Plenty can happen in three years. What have been some of the highlights or moments that stick out to you whether they’re moments of growth, goofy things that happen on stage, tour life, studio time and etc.?
Ben: The week we spent in Asheville recording Tumbleweed will definitely always stick out to me. We tightened up so much as a group and it was so incredible to dedicate that much time to just creating and being in the moment with a project. Touring can be fleeting and stressful and you don’t get a chance to sit back and appreciate it a lot of the time, so this recording process was an awesome way to finally get to enjoy our music and our personalities and group dynamic in a relaxed atmosphere.
Jesse: All the things! Every day comes with a new music lesson, life lesson and inside joke. Although, playing the main stage at The Ride Festival last year was pretty surreal. Was definitely the most beautiful stage view I’ve ever experienced.
Speaking of studio time, you guys have a new album, Tumbleweed, dropping February 24th. The album is a successful mixture of various sonic landscapes that I think is a good representation of not only the Big Something sound but also the culture from where you guys hail. What are you most proud or happy of in regards to this body of work?
Ben: I just think track for track there isn’t one song I don’t like on Tumbleweed. I generally give our albums one listen through after they’re mastered just to get a feel for it, but this one, in particular, I legitimately enjoy listening to all the way through, which is rare when you’re actually in the band. I also laugh a lot at my own jokes and constantly praise my physical appearance to anyone that will listen.
What do you hope listeners take away from this album?
Ben: I hope they can see the strides we have taken as a group musically and that they see this as the best thing we’ve put out. I think we all feel that way about this album so we’re excited to see what people take away after listening to it. It really does give the best representation of who we are (or even who we’ve become) musically.
Jesse: I think we just want everyone who listens to it to enjoy their musical journey. Kinda just let each song take you somewhere else for a little while.
Was it intentional to cover that much ground due to the short track listing? In other words, were you conscious in a way that you set out to make an album with 5-10 minute tracks with a short track listing?
Ben: There was never a point where we decided to embellish or extend a song for that reason, I think the songs were so strong and everyone has been playing at such a high level that we unconsciously just wanted to give everyone a time to shine on each track.
Jesse: [In my best Garth Algar impression] We like to play.
Let’s move on to a couple fun ones and then we’ll tie it back to close. You’re going on a boat tour and you can bring two other bands, who would you want it to be?
Ben: GWAR seems like they’d be pretty neat to hang out with. Aside from that, I think Mastodon and The Foo Fighters would be amazing to be around both musically and personally.
Jesse: Do they have to be current bands? If not, Band of Gypsys and The Original Allman Brothers Band.
Nick: Pink Floyd and The Talking Heads. Two of my biggest influences.
What food, snack, or beverage do you wish you always had while on tour?
Ben: I’m always keen on a nice Turkey Submarine sandwich if I’m honest!
Jesse: Sandy pizza and rest stop chicken.
What’s the last song or album you’d want to listen to on your deathbed?
Nick: Woah. That’s a tough question. Maybe Bela Fleck “Throw Down Your Heart”
Ben: Either George Winston-”Autumn” or Elliott Smith- “XO”
Jesse: Billie Holiday - “I’ll Be Seeing You” or The Doors - “Break On Through (To The Other Side)
What band would you want to sit-in with or who would you like to sit-in during one of your sets?
Ben: I would love to have Bernard Purdie play my drums at some point.
Jesse: Being able to jam with Jimmy Herring or Col. Bruce would be pretty rad!
Nick: I’d love to do vocals on an Umphrey’s McGee Rage cover or maybe a 90’s hip-hop song with them. Would be so cool to have Derek Trucks or Kamasi Washington sit in with us. The later almost happened on JamCruise!
Okay, let’s bring it home. So you’ll be touring with one of our favorites, Umphrey’s McGee. If you had to pick an Umphrey’s Song to perform, which one(s) would it be?
Ben: I saw them do “Puppet Strings” at Peach Fest and had never heard that one before. It blew me away. It got a lot of power and melody intertwined so I think we’d have a lot of fun with that one.
Nick: our music is so much more basic and simplified than most Umphrey’s songs. Their music is so progressive and complex at times it would honestly be quite an endeavor to cover one of their songs but if I had to choose I’d say "Booth Love" or "Uncle Wally" or "Miss Tinkles Overture."
What should fans expect from Big Something in 2017?
Ben: Just for us to keep on keeping on. Life’s a garden, dig it?
Jesse: Well said, Ben!
Nick: New music! We got new ideas a-brewing.
Any things we missed, shout outs, special dates, etc.?
Ben: Well we have some really cool theater shows in Colorado coming up in March. We also just got word we’ll be on THE RIDE festival in Telluride again for the second straight year. Last year Pearl Jam headlined it and this year it's Beck. Very excited to see him perform live and to see what kind of hat(s) he’ll choose to wear for that performance. But you can check out www.bigsomething.com for all of our tour dates. Shout out to my girlfriend Corinne!