Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken — the two minds behind electronic duo Big Gigantic — met while playing in various jazz and funk bands around the greater Boulder, Colo., area before rooming together and deciding to collaborate.
Old habits die hard.
“[Lalli] said, ‘I’m making these beats, and I want to play sax over it.’ It was like, ‘Why not?’ I decided to add live drums, and it became this more natural, organic thing,” Salken said. “We combined what DJs were doing with what songwriters were doing and kind of found our own thing. Adding saxophone to that really separates us.”
Not that the idea came out of nowhere; the two had become friends with livetronica pioneers Sound Tribe Sector 9, which helped set the duo on a path to combine its equal-parts love of John Coltrane, Radiohead and Aphex Twin, just as numerous other acts nationwide began mixing a similar sound.
“Within the last couple of years, a community has developed around it,” Salken said. “All these kids who didn’t know where to go kind of feel like they have a home for what they want to do. It’s paved the way for everyone to do anything they want to do. Electronic music has been around for a long time, but it’s still new to a lot of kids. They are discovering a whole new world.”
Big Gigantic has one-upped its brethren by injecting a heavy dose of bass-heavy hip-hop into the equation, a formula that recalls Ghostland Observatory, Herbie Hancock and Wiz Khalifa in the span of a single song.
However, it’s the band’s fittingly enormous, electric live show that has fans really buzzing. Salken likes to think that Big Gigantic has found a way to thrust the unpredictability of a rock show into the infectious energy of a dance club.
“You’re kind of limited to what you did and have always done,” he said. “We’re playing instruments; we can take things wherever we want to.”
The two-man crew has seen its success translate to record sales in an era of plummeting interest; Big Gigantic’s 2012 indie effort, Nocturnal, reached No. 2 on the iTunes electronic chart, and it still sits in the Top 100 a year later.
“We essentially did all the heavy lifting ourselves,” Salken said. “Watching the album just grow on its on was a huge thing. People are still buying it or discovering songs online. It’s wild.”
Big Gigantic hopes to follow it up this fall, although the focus lies on touring, including Sunday’s show at Farmers Public Market.
“We love the Oklahomies,” Salken said. “Things always get crazy there. I don’t know what it is about you guys, but it’s always a party.”