EDM Unbuttoned EP09: Big Gigantic
In this weekly series, EDM.com picks the best live acts working in electronic music today. These producers abstain from DJ sets and opt to use live and electronic instrumentation to give their performances a more grounded sound. From the saxophones heard by GRiZ and Big Gigantic to the rock-inspired sets from The Prodigy, this series explores all types of live electronic music. Read our pick for this week's best live act below:
Best Live Act of the Week: Big Gigantic
Before the recent resurgence of live electronic acts, Big Gigantic sculpted their own niche by fusing traditional electronic production with drums and the saxophone. Comprised of members Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken, Big Gigantic formed 2007 after Lalli moved to Boulder, Colorado after earning his master's degree in jazz at the Manhattan School of Music. Lalli met Salken, and the two began producing music and playing sporadic live shows in 2008. In 2009, the duo released their debut album Fire It Up, which gave early glimpses at the duo's musical style.
The duo progressed quickly in the following years, releasing the albums Wide Awake, A Place Behind The Moon, and Nocturnal in 2009, 2010, and 2012 respectively. The duo's quick rise to prominence came with numerous festival appearanes, including sets at Bonnaroo, Ultra Music Festival, Counterpoint, Lollapalooza, and more. With Big Gigantic's popularity came collaborations with similar artists, notably with GRiZ, Gramatik, Emancipator, STS9, and Cherub. The duo released their most recent album, The Night is Young, in 2014 as they became a headliner-caliber act.
Big Gigantic's primary appeal comes from their crossing of electronic production and live instrumentation. On record, Lalli creates the EDM foundation with everything from dubstep beats to breakbeat breakdowns. In terms of instruments, Lalli plays the saxophone while Salken drums on a live drumset. Their roles remain consistent during Big Gigantic's live show, which emulates the feeling of a jam band with improvisational composition, extended solos, and lengthy sets. Lalli operates the DJ equipment to create a seamless mix while playing his saxophone. Meanwhile, Salken brings the hard-hitting beats to life with his drumset.
The duo varies the setlist night by night, which also adapts from their jam band inspirations. In addition to playing their own tracks live, Big Gigantic will often perform covers of other popular EDM songs, such as "I Can't Stop" by Flux Pavilion and "Icarus" by Madeon. Another big component to Big Gigantic's live approach comes from their various collaborations, which finds the duo hooking up with other live electronic bands. The duo formed Gigantic Underground Conspiracy when playing with The Disco Biscuits and Underground Orchestra, and in more recent years paired up with Gramatik and fellow sax player GRiZ to form Big GRiZMatik. The duo also performed an integral role in the Skrillex Superjam at Bonnaroo 2014.
In the coming months, Big Gigantic will continue to tour their famous live show across the United States. This year marks the sixth installment of their yearly Red Rocks event Rowdytown, featuring two performances from Big Gigantic and appearances from the likes of RL Grime, Snails, JAUZ, and more. Big Gigantic amassed a loyal fanbase over their career, and hold the bastion for live electronic bands across the world.