EDM is currently experiencing a renaissance of exciting, forward-thinking musicians, who are pursuing sounds and styles unheard of until today. Help leading that charge is up-and-coming producer Big Wild, an artist making uplifting, bass-heavy tracks in the vein of Flume and ODESZA. He released the first track under ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective with “Aftergold,” which went on to being featured in an Apple Watch commercial. Touring with ODESZA and the likes of GRiZ continues to expose Big Wild to new audiences, and his upcoming year is primed to be his biggest yet. We interviewed the producer to learn about his future releases, a rumbling collaboration with GRiZ, and his early inspirations. Read the Your EDM interview with Big Wild below:
In your early days, you used to produce hip-hop records to emulate some of your favorite hip-hop tracks. How was hip-hop a defining genre for you and which songs would you try to recreate?
It was a defining genre for me because it was the area where I learned producing, specifically song structure, tying in hooks, and getting a good rhythm section. It was basically the foundation for all my music right now. There weren’t any particular songs I tried to emulate, but more so producers I tried to emulate, such as Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Timbaland. Mainly the producers I thought who were doing something different and unique, and they defined my early life in trying out different sounds.
How did your early experimentation enable you to find your own unique sound?
It happened once I started to get really involved with Soundcloud and I realized I wanted to make music that could stand on its own without needing someone rapping or singing over it. I started listening to weird stuff being put out by different producers, and eventually that inspired me to try some things out and seeing what stuck with people and what didn’t. I let me inner creative spirit go where it wanted to go, and it essentially lead me to where I am right now. My previous manager Evan [Adamson] was a big guiding factor in helping me find out what worked and what didn’t, and I owe a lot of my current sound to him as well.
You were one of the first releases on ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective with your track “Aftergold,” and the track has been a huge hit for you. How did ODESZA and other artists you’ve met thus far impact your musical output?
I stick to my own inspiration while touring with other artists, but touring makes it harder to produce music considering I’m performing as well. I am more influenced by other artists when it comes to my live show rather than how I am going to produce my tracks.
That makes sense. I know you only started performing live recently, and with your tour mates being more established you get to see how they perform live and mold aspects into your own show.
Right, touring with ODESZA and touring with GRiZ helped me learned the really special qualities to their live shows, so I’ve been taking a lot of notes and learning a lot from them.
What is it like being apart of the Foreign Family Collective and what have you learned since being involved?
Being apart of Foreign Family has been great, it’s given me a lot of opportunities and opened a lot of doors that I wouldn’t have been able to get or open on my own. It’s also cool because they’ve been planning potential future Foreign Family events and I’m really stoked to be apart of that. Having “Aftergold” be released with them was huge for me, and it’s great to have a group of people that support my music and offer feedback for my songs and ideas.
How has being on the road impacted your music production?
It’s made me more open to different styles and showed me how crowds react to certain styles. It also gives me perspective on how tracks that I make in the bedroom or in the studio translate to a crowd, and it helps give me an idea on where my music can go. It’s definitely broadened my horizons on how my music will be pursued by people and what mood my music can have in a live setting. That interaction helps me give direction now on where to go with certain songs.
You opened for GRiZ on his Say It Loud Tour and you mentioned previously you were collaborating with him on one of your future tracks. Can you share any details about that collaboration? How about other future releases?
Everything is still in the works right now. That song is going to be apart of a larger body of work, either part of an EP or album, and I’ve been working on a couple of originals. Since New Year’s Eve I have three months off, and now I am finishing up all these originals and releasing them throughout the year. I’ve been working with vocalists to make a hybrid of my production and the standard song format, but adding my own unique twist on it. I really like where things are going and going with a “less it more” attitude, and starting to hone in on elements that vibe with people. The track with GRiZ is really cool, and I’m excited to finish that one up and put it out.
Speaking of recent tracks, you recently uploaded a remix of Hundred Waters’ “Show Me Love,” and Jaden Smith “premiered” the track on his Beats 1 Radio Show. How did that come about?
Honestly I’m not sure where that came from! I went on Twitter and randomly saw the remix was featured on Beats 1 Radio, and I thought, “Sweet! Don’t know where that came from but I’ll take it.” It’s just cool to see how the music spreads. For me, a lot of that stuff happens organically. A person will hear my original or remix and feel inspired to share it with people, and from there it can go in so many hands with people who have a wide reach, like Jaden Smith. So far all my music has spread pretty naturally. It was really cool to see the remix featured on such a big station and I was really excited about that.
What is your view on artist albums in electronic music? An artist will either put out a lot of singles and release a new album every couple of years or put out an album on a regular album cycle of two to three years and sprinkle single releases randomly. What path do you see yourself pursuing in the coming years?
It’s really tough. I’ve debated with myself a lot on whether to go with an EP or album. It’s a tricky situation because a lot of artists want to put out an album but they’re afraid no one will pay attention to it because it features too many songs at once, which I think is a very legitimate concern. On the other hand, an EP might not have enough songs to fully put together my concept that I want to share with people. It’s a tricky balance. Right now, I do have some singles I am lining up to release for 2016. It’s either going to be an EP or an album by the end of summer or early fall, or I may change my mind and go with something totally different.
A lot of people do creative things when releasing music, and I feel like there’s no specific mold anymore so you can do whatever you want. I want to talk with my management to iron out a cool way to release my music, and so far this project has been all about doing creative things with my originals and live show so I really want my new music to follow that. It’s almost an art in itself in figuring out how you want to release your music. If there’s a label involved, it can get more complicated if your project gets delayed a long time and the music is old to you by the time it comes out. Situations like that can be a huge crack on one’s creativity.