When Odesza rolled through town at the beginning of December, we knew we had to interview someone on the tour. The crazy amount of talent on the tour between Odesza, Hayden James and Big Wild gave us the perfect opportunity to hash it up with the top music influencers of right now.
We met up with Big Wild after his set and got to chat while Odesza warmed up in the green room. Jordan, who is the man behind Big Wild, is a nice and simple guy who just wants to get you to dance, smile and get into the music. We got to chat with him about his career highs, the tour and what’s to come.
EYES & EDGE: Start out by describing your sound. To us, when we listen to Big Wild’s tracks that exactly how we feel – it’s big, it’s jungly, it wild, you can get loose to it, your drums are there.
Big Wild: Well to start out I’m always trying to do something unique and different with pretty much every song I release. It might be the way I arrange the song, the instruments I use – I always try to do that. I always like to blend something electronic and organic, using strings but layering them with a synthesizer. So, it’s kind of like a blend of more modern and classical instruments. I am always trying to make people dance. Or have some kind of rhythm that they are just moving. I’m always trying to blend something that hits really hard but that pulls an emotion, some kind of feeling. So, sometimes it can be like, really pretty string or harmony line, I really like to bring that something that can be polar opposite. Something that is a real hard hitting beat with a something that is really beautiful and pretty and find a way to fucking work them together. That’s how I would characterize my music.
As far as genres go, I’ve kind given up on characterizing my genre.
E&E: Reading your past interviews, you said you started out making hip hop tracks. What influences you to move past that? What was the catalyst to bring you beyond that and move forward?
BW: I have always been inspired by hip hop producers that are a little forward thinking.
E&E: Can you name a few?
BW: Timberland, Neptunes, Dr. Dre, Swizz Beatz, basically anybody that had a distinct sound but didn’t always do something super mainstream.
E&E: Does Dilla fall under that?
BW: Dilla.. Dilla does fall under that but when I was younger he wasn’t that really influenced me. I really like the stuff he did with Slim Village and thought that was groovy. Actually, when I first heard that music, I didn’t realize it was Dilla. It was maybe when I was 14 or 15 and then I was like got into high school I realized that’s who was making those beats. It was something really distinct. So when he passed away I felt like there was this outpouring to his style. And I could really give it a listen and really heard what other people are hearing.
But yeah, unique hip hop producers, and then what kinda got me into doing more electronic stuff was seeming more producers who were… when I first got in producing I never thought it would be a solo thing. There’s always the producers and then there’s the guy that raps, or sings. And that was just the way it is. But then when I started to see artists like Flume and Odesza, just seeing how producers were coming up with ways to be the act in the forefront. So I had a lot of musical ideas that I want to get out there and maybe this is my opportunity to take things to the next level. So I start to get more into an electronic route from there. When I was in college it panned out to where I am now.
E&E: Was that jump off for you through Soundcloud or the internet? Because a lot of people who are doing it now use to be bedroom producers. Not knowing their sound could reach so many people. Did the internet give you the freedom to liberate you from the producer in the background?
BW: The internet was kind of my first inspiration to getting into music. It such an awesome tool for exploring new sounds. And that’s when I first really started getting into music. I used this site called Sound Click – it’s old, I don’t even know if it’s up anymore – but I sold my beats on it and that’s when I was making hip hop it gave me the confidence to keep going with it. And then I would say when I first started hearing about SoundCloud, maybe like four or four and half years ago. I made an account and started putting up Big Wild stuff I would say that’s when I started to think that it could actually catch on. There was a place for this music and that’s where I slowly built my fan base. SoundCloud is a different an inspiration.
Also, Odesza hearing my music, they are kinda like the first really big artist that ever asked me to do a remix or tour with them. That was always a big break too.
E&E: How did you land a spot on the ‘No Sleep’ Remix by Odesza?
BW: By the time that No Sleep remix was out, I had already done a little tour with them in February and March and I after the remix with Foreign Family I had that all lined up. At that point, Odesza and I were already tight. I would share music with them and we would pass music back and forth. We would give each other feedback but we both really trust each other’s musical opinion. So that was just something I showed them that I put together and they liked it.
E&E: We read that you were a little hesitant to put that out?
BW: Yeah I was, I just loved the original so much. When I first heard that song, the first thing I thought to myself was I really like this song, but has somebody already remixed it? And I Googled it and looked it up and there were a few on YouTube that were not my favorite and I felt like what I had in mind for this song is totally different from what I heard and nobody had really done a proper remix of this song. So I thought I’m totally going to take this on and it was sorta my pet project.
E&E: Where do you see yourself in five years?
BW: I would love to be in a position that Odesza is right now. I want to be touring regularly, bring lots of people to my shows and I want my music to reach a lot of people. Without necessarily compromising my style or individuality and creative direction. I hang out with Harrison and Clay all the time and they give me advice and I feel like they are in a way my mentors. Helping me realize and give me good perspective and ideas on where to take this. I would ultimately love to be in their situation. I want the Big Wild project o really go somewhere. I want it to really be big. I have really big ambitions for it. I’ve had really good opportunities to take it places and I’m really hoping to really have a good year next year.
E&E: What would you have to say to the youth, to kids in high school, to yourself as a kid, when you were struggling?
BW: The biggest motivation for me is really to get a reaction out of people when I make music. In general, a lot of people tend to go through a lot of emotions in life and whatever you are doing, whether it be music, or some sort of media job, insurance.. whatever, anything, if you live your life to your fullest you will always get these reactions out of people that are super inspiring that will give a whole deeper meaning to your life. Since I’ve been playing live, the reaction I get out of some people at shows sometimes is kinda crazy. It’s really inspiring to see how people can respond to something you make. I really encourage people to try and get reactions, emotions, some kind of response out of people that is in a positive way, inspiring way, constructive way in whatever you do. Finding that, is difficult but you will end up realizing that’s kind of the best motivation you have.