Written by Elise Olmstead

BIG Something has been incredibly busy lately – releasing their new album The Otherside on April 20th, celebrating the release at The Big What? Wilmington event (read our event review here), and showing no signs of slowing down. Their next couple of stops on tour include Barrelhouse South in Savannah, GA, on May 18th, Terminal West in Atlanta, GA, on May 19th, and a set at Summer Camp Music Festival!

This album was incredibly special and the emotion put into it during recording was noticeable by all who listened.  Read our album review here.  Because they’ve been so busy we haven’t been able to catch a moment with them to ask them about it, but they just recently had a second to breathe and share with us a couple of insights.  Take a listen to the album while you read!

The Big What Wilmington, photo by Rob Roane

-What are some inspirations or personal events that went into the songwriting for this album?

Casey – For me, interaction with some musical heros had a definite impact. I had the honor of meeting Kamasi Washington on Jam Cruise the year before last, and even playing with his band a little bit during a jam session. Witnessing this group’s pure integrity has continuously inspired me to be more thoughtful about the music I put out.

Jesse – I’ve personally been listening to a lot of older motown and soul artists over the last couple of years and feel as if some of those influences have began subconsciously seeping into my playing recently.

Nick – I’d say the songwriting on this album in particular is inspired by human struggle, love, loss, loneliness, life after death, and what’s really going on “behind the curtain”

-What do you think makes this album different than your previous releases?

Nick – This album is a tribute to our late lyricist Paul Interdonato who helped imagine the identity of our band. He passed away the day before we were scheduled to record the album. It was incredibly hard to wrap my head around at the time, but the only thing I could really focus on in that moment was trying to record the best version of each song possible as a way to honor him. These songs all ended up being the last songs that we wrote together before his death. The songs themselves were deeply personal for both of us. We had a really unique and awesome friendship that came from this common bond of writing songs together. We understood each other really well because of it. There were times when you could tell he was writing lines for me to sing to help me with whatever was on my mind. And a lot of times the songs would be metaphors for stuff that was happening in his life. So it went both ways. When we first started writing together we tried to keep stuff fun and light hearted – Pinky’s Ride, Amanda Lynn, UFOs are Real, etc. but Paul was also fascinated with darker subject matter like the apocalypse. He didn’t want our music to be all rainbows and butterflies. He wanted an edge. I think you could tell with this last batch of songs that he really had a lot on his mind and music was the best way for him to let it out.  

-What’s your favorite track from the album and why?

Ben – Smoke Signal. That song will always be special to me no matter how many albums we record.

Nick – Sundown Nomad was the most fun to record and I love how it turned out way different than we expected it to. But I think my personal favorite would have to be The Cave. For some reason that one just means the most to me. The lyrics – referring to your inner being as a cave – are some of my favorite words that Paul ever wrote. I remember when he first sang it out loud with his eyes closed as the idea was coming to life in his imagination and I still think about that when I hear it.