by Jeff Niesel
One day, the guys in the Boulder-based electronic/jam duo Big Gigantic will record in a proper studio. But for now, the duo — saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken — is content to lay down tracks on a computer. It recorded its latest album, Nocturnal, on Lalli’s laptop; the group’s current tour stops at House of Blues on Sunday.
“It’s all done on Dom’s computer,” says Salken. “He produces everything. All the drums are computer drums. None of them are live. None of them are recorded. His kickdrum is like ten kickdrums. It would be so hard to make a drum set sound that good. It’s cheaper, too. It would cost a ridiculous amount of money to record in a real studio. Plus, we give all our music away. I go in and learn the drumbeats, and we talk about how to record over it and bring it to life. We play songs for three or four months before the album comes out and Dom keeps tweaking them and doing different things.”
That approach certainly didn’t hurt Nocturnal, which draws from funk, jazz, hip-hop and electronica. Songs such as “The Uprising” and the title track are trippy dancefloor fodder that suggest the band’s eclectic influences.
“Because we had always played our instruments, we played a variety of different styles of music from funk to jazz to rock to whatever,” says Saline. “We were homies with Sound Tribe and saw what they were doing with live instruments and a beat in the background. We were really into DJs and we thought it would be good to combine the two elements and have the set be more like a DJ set where it’s structured and flows the whole time. It has a dance element. It’s uptempo. We don’t really slow down. We wanted to do that so we can use our instruments and take solos so the set builds and drops.”
And having a killer light show helps make the live performance appealing too.
“We have a new set that we debuted at New Year’s,” says Salken. “We call it the ‘waterfall design.’ We’re psyched about it. It still looks good. We’re using these curved panels and they curve a different way. We have content that goes with the music. It’s becoming part of the show. We have a light guy. We retain the control. He does the designs but we tweak it with him and are very active in that process. He’ll go out and find content and we’ll okay it. We’re hands on with that stuff.”
And now that Nocturnal is almost two years old, the guys have finally started writing some new songs and incorporating them into the live set. They just released the album’s first single, the downtempo “Love Letters,” earlier this month.
“We’re working on the new album right now and hopefully it will be out at the beginning of the year,” says Salken. “We’ll play a bunch of new tunes at our shows and it will be pretty crazy.”