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Interview Wed Jun 30 2010
I am an very open about my dislike for showing up at shows on time. It is not only that I have a cool factor to maintain, but there is also the probable chance that the opening band will take up a large portion of my life that I will have to fight to get back. This was not the case last year when I misunderstood the start time of an Archer Prewitt by an hour and saw local band Big Science open. I was taken to a delightful as well as complex musical place. I was severely disappointed when the set ended and thought what a tragedy it would have been if I had been on my game that night and showed up when I had planned to. Doing that, I would have missed a band with such a multi-sound effect that gives a sober synesthesia allowing you to see their music. Maybe this is because they combine so many different vibes in to each song that the senses become overloaded and instead of shutting down, explode in all the right ways. In any regard, they need to be seen live to really understand this experience.
The band (made up of three Jasons and a Jeremy) just released their second effort last month entitled Skyscraper Sound and plays this Friday, July 2nd at the Double Door. I had the chance to ask Jason R. some questions their unusual sound, their super hip, geek-tastic name and good old fashioned band togetherness.
Gapers Block: If I were to describe your very complex sound in one word, I would use "dreamy". But there is so much more to Big Science than just that. What words would you use to describe your music?
Big Science: I think our music does have some dreamy qualities. Sad Disco is a term we joke about a lot. Our friend Matt who shares the studio with us hears a lot of what we do through the wall, he said it sounds like "a dance party at the end of the world". I think that's the one we like best so far.
Gapers Block: On your website you state genre influences ranging from New Wave to Krautrock to Shoegaze. What is it like to create music that is so layered and rich? I imagine the process is incredible.
Big Science: It's amazing. No. Just kidding. It's not all that incredible. We play a lot and so we're really good at generating ideas that fit together. We usually have a good framework of basic tracks by the time we start to record a song which almost always is a result of us just jamming and generating ideas. [Jason] Hendrix even works out a lot of the main vocals on the fly during this process and Jeremy [does] the backing vocals. During recording we add and try out other ideas that we've come up with along the way, but things are already pretty layered by the time we get to putting them down. Maybe we'll change that a bit in the future but spontaneity is key for our writing process.
Gapers Block: It also says on your website that you guys "spend more time together than one might deem healthy". This may have infringed on your social lives, but was being around each other a lot good for creating music?
Big Science: We do spend a lot of time together, it's true. The togetherness is good for the music. Frequently being around the people that you're playing with can result in a more cohesive group mindset and at least for us, makes the process of coming up with new ideas that work together really simple and clear. Sure there are off days and we definitely go back over all our ideas and try to think of ways to make them better, but the majority of the time they're the way we want them when we write them.
Gapers Block: Your new EP, Skyscraper Sound was released last month and like your influences (Neil Diamond, Archers Of Loaf, Spoon) it is all over the place, but you manage to still have a really nice balance. What excites you about this new release?
Big Science: I think it is that balance that excites me at least personally. Also, the fairly broad musical territory that we were able to cover and still manage to make things sound like Big Science is something that I am proud of. Bands that can be versatile and yet remain focused are always exciting to me.
Gapers Block: I love the band name. Are you guys big Laurie Anderson fans?
Big Science: We like some Laurie Anderson for sure. The name also refers to the shift in science post-WWII when a lot of advancement started to rely on funding from governments. Maybe "O Superman" can be seen in hindsight as a bit of a prophecy of what bad governmental policies, some shaped by big science, can bring home to roost...
Gapers Block: Former Chicagoan "Rock Poet" Thax Douglas has not only one, but two poems inspired by your music. How does it feel to be part of the Chicago musical elite?
Big Science: It was great of Thax to write a couple poems for us. We really wish that he was still in town. Personally, I feel like he always added to the experience of seeing shows in Chicago. A sort of self-appointed, thought-provoking MC. Hopefully he'll be down with writing something for us when we go through Austin.
Gapers Block: I saw you guys play at the Empty Bottle last March and am excited to see you again this Friday at the Double Door. Is this the first time you played there?
Big Science: Yes this is our first time playing a show there. It's always a little exciting to play a new venue, especially when you've seen a bunch of good shows and had good times there before.
You can hear what we have been gabbing about when Big Science plays the Double Door this Friday along with The Streets On Fire , Blah Blah Blah and John Rambo and The Vietnam Wars. Doors at 8:30, show starts at 9. Tickets $10-$20. The Double Door is located at 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave. (773) 489-3160