Dominic Lalli: Shapeshifter

Round 2: Big Gigantic

How did the Big Gigantic project come about?

Dominic Lalli
I started getting more interested in the electronic music scene a few years ago and started hanging out with my friend Alex B [of Pnuma Trio]. He is an amazing producer and he really helped to spark my interest in the production side of things, which is really an amazing art form. After a while of working on my production skills, I decided I really wanted to bring the music I was writing to a live setting. I called up Jeremy [Salken], my drummer, and we started rehearsing to figure out the best way to bring this music to the people.

Alex has a very unique style of production that hasn't been over-emulated yet in the whole live electronic scene. How did you draw upon those lessons and experiences with him and craft your distinct brand for Fire It Up? [Big Gigantic's Fire It Up was released on May 19, 2009 and is available for free download here.]

Well, I think that being unique is one of the keys to anyone having success in music or art in general. If you trust your ears and your heart and you let the music come out naturally, no two bands or producers, etc. will sound the same. Alex has a ton of skill in the production world and that just makes it easier for him to get out what he is hearing in his head. The same goes for me with Big Gigantic and making the album Fire It Up. I work on the production skills that help me get the sounds that are in my head out into the air, and then I just try to keep growing and developing from there.

You and Jeremy have known each other for a while living in Boulder. Tell me a little bit about your connection musically, as well as personally.

Jeremy and I have been playing gigs together for probably four or five years now, mostly jazz/funk type of gigs around Boulder. We were also roommates for year. He is a really great friend of mine and, in my mind, one of the best drummers in the Colorado area. He is very solid and very versatile. We also listen to a lot of the same kind of music and have been to a bunch of shows together. We are definitely on the same page in a lot of ways, which is really great.

The album has a great party, get down feel to it. Tell me about the concept going in and what you had in mind when putting the songs together.

Big Gigantic
Fire It Up is essentially a compilation of the songs that I have written up to this point; definitely trying to bring the party vibe with beats but also trying to bring something new and different to the genre. I am a really big fan of melodies - probably because I'm a sax player! With most, if not all, of the songs I write, I try to write unforgettable melodies that will stick. Since our music is all-instrumental and there are no lyrics to grab onto, I feel like this is the best way to get people to connect with our music. I am a huge Herbie Hancock fan. He is probably one of my biggest music influences in general. The melodies he wrote were pure genius and that is one of the many things I strive for with Big Gigantic.

Are you still doing gigs with Juno What?!

Most definitely!

All three of your bands have such a different feel live. How does playing in each help tailor and hone your overall musicianship and ability to diversify your own creative outlet?

The diversity is the thing that keeps me on my toes. I am a big fan of practicing and rehearsing so I spend time getting ready for my gigs, which in turn helps me get better every day because I'm figuring out new things and reinventing old things. One hand definitely washes the other, and each project helps to keep the other projects fresh.

Big G has been playing a lot of high profile gigs lately at festivals like Rothbury and seems to have found a niche alongside the STS9 community. How has your music been received by the people?

Dominic Lalli
I feel like it's going well and I feel like people are receiving it pretty well. We have been very fortunate to have the opportunities that we have had so far - Rothbury, STS9 openers, etc. My plan has been to work as hard as I possibly can so that when a great opportunity arrives, we can go in there and feel confident and comfortable and really bring in the rowdiest possible show that we can and have a great time doing it.

You certainly don't seem to have an issue doing that. Do you have a preference of Big G vs. Motet vs. Juno?!

I feel really, really fortunate to be able to play as much music as I am right now with as many different bands. It keeps me incredibly busy, which I like. I enjoy the diversity of the projects. Big Gigantic is all music that I have written myself so I am definitely really loving to get to perform my original music for people. But, The Motet and Juno What?! are really great as well. I definitely just love to get out there and play and get fired up with everybody.

Yeah Dom, it's really good to see you writing and playing all your own music. The reception has been pretty impressive. Do you feel that you'll stick within this burgeoning STS9-led live electronic scene or do you see yourself diversifying into alt-country, psy-pop and the like [laughs]?

For now, I like the direction we are heading and I would like to continue in that direction. But, like I said, we are definitely interested in growing and developing as a band and as individuals. I would love to branch out, production wise, and work with as many different artists as possible. I feel like the electronic music scene is really young and budding right now, and it seems that there is a lot of room for new sounds and ideas within the genre. There is a lot of room for everything and everyone to develop, which is exciting being a musician and a fan of the music.

2009 has been a big year for you. Where are you taking it from here?

It really has been an incredible year. I feel very, very fortunate. I'm currently working on another new release for the fall for Big Gigantic that will include a lot of sax and drums and some awesome special guests. I really want to focus on developing Big Gigantic in as many ways as I can to keep the music and the live show fresh and different. [Big Gigantic] have a bunch of new tour dates coming up in the fall that will take us all over the U.S. and we are really excited about that. The Motet has its annual Halloween celebration coming up and Juno What?! has been writing new material that we will be performing at our upcoming gigs. I just want to keep pushing and developing the music more and more everyday and I'm really excited to have an opportunity to do that.

The Motet tour dates available here, Big Gigantic dates here and Juno What?! dates here.


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