San Francisco-based rock band Big Light first emerged in 2007 as a vehicle for aspiring singer/songwriter/guitarist Fred Torphy to get his songs into the world. The band would spend the next three years honing their sound and performing around the West Coast relentlessly. Now hailed as one of the fiercest young rock bands on the Bay Area scene with a growing national buzz, Big Light is poised to release its debut full length album, Animals In Bloom, through reapandsow on March 2.
As the story goes, Torphy was inspired by his generation’s current wave of great American rock groups like My Morning Jacket, The Slip, Dr. Dog and Wilco. Joining forces with drummer Bradly Bifulco, they set out to form a band that would follow in those footsteps. “We love to experiment and keep things as weird and interesting as possible, but it all needs to come back to serve the song,” says Torphy.
On the strength of that vision, Torphy and Bifulco were able to recruit bass player Steve Adams, who added instant recognition and legitimacy to the early line-up. A fixture in the Bay Area music scene and founding member of pop/rock jam stars ALO, Adams was offered the opportunity to flex his rock & roll muscles in Big Light. “I’m definitely turning my amp up and using more fuzz” says Adams. “One thing I really love about Big Light is its true garage rock sound. It’s gritty in all the right ways.”
Proving there’s little question that timing and luck can be a factor in success, Big Light became a beneficiary of both in 2008 when guitarist Jeremy Korpas needed a place to crash and landed on Torphy’s couch. A friend of a friend, Korpas didn’t join the band immediately. However, his first official show with the band on May 13, 2009 at San Francisco’s Make Out Room was a turning point, solidifying Big Light as it’s known today.
With the pieces firmly in place Big Light quickly climbed the S.F. club circuit, going from bar gigs like Bottom of the Hill to headlining The Independent to playing support at the legendary Fillmore; they’ve shared bills with Spoon, Broken Social Scene, The Mother Hips, Dead Confederate, Everest and Howlin Rain to name a few. A hit on the festival circuit as well, Big Light has already performed at Outside Lands, Noise Pop, Wanderlust and the High Sierra Music Festival.
With its debut album, Animals In Bloom, Big Light has crafted a record that is catchy enough to land on the radio but adventurous enough to engage those who refuse to listen to it. A guitar-rock album at heart, Big Light took 10 of its best songs and used the studio to experiment, in some cases changing tracks drastically. Headphone junkies and audiophiles themselves, the band created a true “listening experience” that never feels fake or dishonest. They recruited friends to expand the arrangements where needed, including Umphrey’s McGee’s Joel Cummins on keyboards and ALO’s Dan Lebowitz on pedal steel. Longtime associate and Apollo Sunshine drummer Jeremy Black was brought in as a co-Producer.
What this band has achieved in less than one year with the current, definitive lineup is remarkable. Some artists struggle for years and never see this level of success. Listening to the new album and watching the band evolve at such a rapid rate onstage, one gets the feeling that Big Light is poised to get a lot bigger.