Big Gigantic is a Colorado-based band. They are playing Crossroads KC October 11th. Saxophonist and producer Dominic Lalli recently discussed coming from a musical family, his approach to creating tracks and his favorite producers. For more info on Big Gigantic, check out http://biggigantic.net/
How did you first become interested in music? Did you come from a musical family?
I’ve always been interested in it. Growing up, my mom would take me to her church choir practice. My dad was a drummer. I took piano lessons as a kid. I was always into it in general. I started playing saxophone in school. I ended up going to school for saxophone. It’s always been around and I decided that’s what I was going to do. I kept working at it and it led me here.
What first got you into dance music, electronic music? How did it happen for you?
Sometime when I was getting my Master’s degree at the Manhattan School, in New York. Some of the friends I was hanging out with played me some more electronic stuff. My friend Alex who is in Paper Diamond. He is from the Kansas City-area, oddly enough. He got me into making music on the computer. I was doing a lot of writing on the piano for different bands. I got into writing on the computer. It got me into that whole realm.
Do you follow a certain process when creating tracks?
It’s always a different situation. It depends how the ideas come up. Whatever sparks the idea is what sparks the tune. It could be the drums it could be the melody, it could be a sax thing. It could be a number of different things all mixed together.
The approach differs all the time.
Yeah, it differs from tack to track and remix to remix.
Do you have a favorite remix you’ve done? You guys have done a ton.
The last several ones I have put out have been favorites of mine. Our “Can’t Hold Us,” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, remix, is always fun to play out.
No matter the track you’re working with, you always put your own spin on it.
Yeah, no doubt. We’re always trying to put our sound in different situations. We do that on our own albums, try different styles. It helps to not really box yourself in. A band like ours, based around saxophone and drums, it could be easy to just do one thing and that’s it. You can put your sound, sax and drums and bigger beats, in different situations. It is the goal with us. We want to put our signature sound in these different places.
I can see how some acts would get too comfortable in their own sound. It’s fun to do the opposite of that and push forward.
Pushing forward is what got us here today. We’re just going to keep doing that.
You guys do so well live. It’s not like just going to see someone spin or a producer play some tracks. You guys have a definite live following. It goes beyond the dance scene. It goes into jam scenes and everything else.
Do you play a different set every night?
We try and mix it up, depending on where we’re at and what we are doing. I’ve been slowly building two different sets. We kind of bounce back and forth between them. They both have different feels. We’re playing a lot of our new stuff. I’m trying to throw in a lot of different stuff, old stuff, new stuff we’ve never done before, within all that. At the end of the day, I feel like we are playing really good right now as a band. The vibe that we are creating between us with all of the tunes. We’re just trying to develop on that every night.
Especially when you’re working with new material, it has to be fun to dig your claws into it.
Yup, absolutely. I wish we had a little more time out here on the road. It would be great to make a new track every day. It would be fun to have something new to try out that night. We get so limited with time. We work a little bit here and there every day. We get a little bit closer to finishing this one song.
Do you try and record some of your live sets and take ideas from it. Have you thought about that?
I take a lot of notes in my head while we’re playing. When we get offstage, I usually make some notes about what I’d like to change.
There are so many different nuances you can latch onto.
Yeah, it’s true. There’s a lot we can do.
Who are some of your favorite producers? What do you dig?
A lot of stuff, a lot of guys. I like the variety of all the different people doing different stuff. Good music is good music. I like everything from Disclosure to Pretty Lights and Bassnectar, Skrillex and a lot of the heavier guys. I’m into everything. I listen to a ton of classical music, a bunch of jazz and funk and soul music. I listen to a lot of really modern stuff too. I’m a fan of all of it. I try to really immerse myself in as many different things as possible. It gives my thing more flavor.
You come from that background of being a student of music, literally. You’re always going to be growing and learning. You never stop growing.
I love that part. I love analyzing music, studying it and writing it. That’s what I’ve done throughout my career, along with practicing and playing my instrument. I love to do it. It makes for a really fun experience.