Big Gigantic discuss the importance of charity and the diverse shows in their pipeline [Interview + Playlist]
Drummer Jeremy Salken and saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic embody their band’s namesake in every sense of the word.
From selling out Red Rocks Amphitheater in their home state of Colorado five consecutive times for their annual Rowdytown event, to hitting Indonesia with Mad Decent and jet-setting around the world to play every major festival imaginable, the live electronica band reaches an international audience with their infamously boisterous sound..
“It’s something that’s your duty as someone in a community, to help other people that are in need.”
While Big Gigantic’s popularity explodes as they play a distinct role in blending jazz and hip-hop elements into the electronic genre, their musical footprint is equally paralleled by their continuous philanthropic involvement. Salken elaborates,
“We always wanted to be able to use our platform to help other people, raise awareness and spread the word. It’s something that’s your duty as someone in a community, to help other people that are in need. It helps enrich your life, and is a kind of paying it forward situation.”
Before the duo had an exponentially growing platform, philanthropy has been a priority for Big Gigantic since their inception. Back in 2008, their debut show benefitted charity organization Conscious Alliance, to aid residents of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Over the course of their charitable history, Big Gigantic has spread the love around to a wide variety of organizations, from assisting troubled youth to animal rescue.
To maximize their charity involvement, the duo founded A Big Gigantic Difference Foundation in 2016 before touring North America for their Brighter Future album. $1 of every ticket sold on the 22-date tour went to a select charity in each market, raising over $20,000 in the organization’s first year.
For their 2017 philanthropy goal, Big Gigantic sets their sights on Youth on Record, a charity located in their Colorado stomping grounds. The Denver-based organization is a music learning experience for at-risk and otherwise written-off youth. Youth On Record teaches their musically inclined students lessons with instruments, how to record those instruments, and how to do production on computers for either electronic music or for whichever genre they choose.
The charity expressed a need for an updated stationary computer lab to teach digital production, and Big Gigantic aims to give them just that. The duo maintains that $1 from each headlining date will go toward their foundation, hoping to raise $50,000 by the end of the year to help Youth On Record reach their goal.
Lalli weighs in:
“It’s great to help out the community we live in. If we are giving instruments to kids that are in our community, that’s just passing the torch on to the next generation. It’s great to be able to do it locally, because we’re able to come down and help in person.”
One of the headlining dates that will help Youth on Record reach their goal is Big Gigantic’s annual Rowdytown mini-festival, taking place on September 29 & 30 at the one-of-a-kind Red Rocks Amphitheater. As the band is based in Boulder, Big Gigantic expresses what an honor it is to play Colorado’s most iconic venue.
The hometown heroes will headline on both dates, with Keys N Krates, Slushii, Pell, Big Wild, Whethan and Maddy O’Neal set to support. They plan to debut a new light rig, with “a ton of new music, a bunch of guests coming out, and some surprises we can’t talk about,” says Lalli. Rowdytown is one of Big Gigantic’s longest-standing traditions, and the duo ensures that “it’s going to be six times more rowdy.”
Helping to ensure the event runs smoothly are a street team called the Lil G’s, a dedicated group of Big Gigantic fans. The Lil G’s embody the holistic approach to philanthropy that Big Gigantic practices, who “promote a safe, comfortable, fun and positive experience for all of those who attend Big Gigantic shows” and “are dedicated to spreading positive vibes and pairing philanthropy with the music community,” per the band’s website.
Rowdytown comes on the heels of an impressive year for Big Gigantic, with slots at Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo and Electric Forest on their resume. The duo stands as a shining example that a jam packed tour schedule and impressive charity involvement can go hand in hand. Another performance Big Gigantic has on the horizon is the more intimate Splash House, an elevated pool party experience taking place across three hotels in Palm Springs, CA. Salken shares that the smaller venue calls for different preparation from the band, and that they will be “playing some different music that [they] don’t always get to play” for the SoCal crowd.
Lalli and Salken curated an exclusive playlist for Splash House’s Spinn series to get ready for the festival, available below:
To donate to A Big Gigantic Difference Foundation directly, follow this link.
Featured image by Brian Hensley, courtesy of Bonnaroo.
In-text images by Elementz World, courtesy of Coachella.