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Soft Spoken with a Big Sound – The Enigma of Big Wild

When you first meet Jackson, better known as Big Wild, he seems nice. A laid back, happy go lucky kind of guy. Someone that instantly makes you feel welcome. As I sat down to interview the man behind the larger than life moniker any anxiety I had slowly faded away. It was like meeting up with an old friend. Here lies the enigma of Big Wild. The best way to describe his music is well…big. I know…big…it is kind of a weird word to use with music. But honestly it fits. His sounds are atmospheric, all encompassing and powerful. His songs whether they feature vocals or not have a certain awe inspiring quality about them. That is why when I first sat down and spoke with him, his welcoming, casual vibe turned out to be a brilliant juxtaposition.

That’s honestly, almost the most important thing – to create something bigger than yourself which inspires others…

We met up at SnowGlobe the day before New Year’s Eve in the unforgiving cold of Lake Tahoe. I knew Big Wild had played the festival previously but this time around he had a prime time slot and was closing down a stage. Quite a bump in exposure from year’s previous. That being said, it was well deserved after the kind of year 2016 was for him. The emotions behind success are often powerful ones.

“It feels good, I’m really stoked. It’s cool to see hard work pay off. I have been making music for a very long time and just recently things have been picking up…so it definitely feels good.”

While the success he enjoyed was no doubt a vindication of hard work, usually success comes with a price tag. Big Wild seemed to be on every line up around the country this past year (not to mention many of the one’s which have been announced already for 2017). That means one thing…absolutely no rest for the weary. Life on the road brings a set of challenges nobody seems to think of, and some unique to the life of an artist.

“There was a lot of travel back to back. Like three different festivals in three different cities all over three days. Honestly, that just takes a toll on you. You only get about 2 hours of sleep each night, then you’re going through airports trying to get in touch with people you’ve never met before. It can be kind of hectic. Trying to find the balance between life on the road and still writing music can be pretty damn tough. You just gotta get into a groove when you do it. I kind of have found a bit of a routine. You know…what I bring, what I leave at home. You also just kind of get smarter after a while with how you use your time. But yeah that has probably been the toughest challenge…just keeping up with the pace of everything. At the end of the day I honestly do really appreciate and enjoy it all though.”

2016 was a year that many people will remember unfortunately for the passing of many celebrated musicians. In further discussion I learned that David Bowie had influenced Big Wild in many ways. Bowie was not only one of the first musicians to start to bring the electronic sound to the mainstream but also helped culture take massive steps forward socially. Big Wild’s view around his passing is one that I feel Bowie himself would be happy to hear.

“It is just part of life I guess. His music still lives on and that is his legacy. He has left a mark on the world [along with many other artists who have passed]. That’s honestly, almost the most important thing – to create something bigger than yourself which inspires others, and that is what lives on. That is how I view it. We all die someday, but he did a lot with his life.”

Hearing his response I could not help myself but to ask the question I think he knew was coming by the small smile that started to form on his face. It was of course about his legacy and about what he is leaving behind to inspire others.

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“Haha, I don’t think about once I die, but I definitely think about like what impact will I have on the world. You know? It just so happens that music is my thing. So I think about like – ‘how am I going to inspire other musicians or shape the world into what I want it to be through music?’ That’s kind of my overarching goal: Inspire others and impact the world through my music.”


The up and coming producers who are looking at Big Wild for inspiration, had a lot to pull from in 2016. It seems that every week a new original, remix, project or video involving Big Wild was announced. He honestly appeared to be everywhere and doing everything…the whole ‘running on empty during tours’ discussion we had a few minutes prior was really starting to make sense. One project personally inspired me though and it was the video to his monster hit ‘Invincible’ which featured vocals from iDA HAWK. I actually had no idea how much of a role the artist plays in the making of a Music Video…well until now that is.

“We initially had reached out to a bunch of directors and got a couple of ideas back. I eventually decided on the pitch surrounding the tennis idea. The director actually said he was inspired by the olympics, and wanted to make something themed around sports. For whatever reason tennis just stuck. Then after that I just put faith in Foreign Family and the director to make something special. Sometimes they would ask me about some big decision like the aesthetics of the monster. But besides that they pretty much ran the show. That’s actually how I kind of wanted it. I wanted to see someone else’s creative endeavor. It just came out great – just so awesome.”

Speaking of Foreign Family, it is hard not to ask about what it is like working with a collective of some of the most respected and forward thinking musicians in the world of electronic music. Foreign Family if you didn’t know is the collective of artists headed by Odesza and they seem to have took over SnowGlobe this year. Obviously Big Wild was present, but Chet Porter played a day set, Jai Wolf popped up during Manilla Killa’s set, Rufus Du Sol opened for Odesza and finally the boss men themselves closed down the entire festival on the main stage by ringing in the new year. If you couldn’t tell by their dominance of one of the county’s most renowned NYE events…they are a force to be reckoned with.

“It has been awesome. Foreign Family has just been an amazing team full of great people to bounce ideas off of. They [Odesza] honestly also just really inspire me. They are also really good friends of mine. So we all support each other and enjoy each other’s music. It’s funny…we were speaking about legacy earlier – as that is kind of the goal of Foreign Family. Just have a great legacy in music. Which is obtainable as they [Odesza] only work with artists that they respect and whose music they really love. That is how they know they will be 100% into it, instead of just faking it. I love working with them.”

It couldn’t be more clear that 2016 was a make or break year for Big Wild. He had a lot of challenges ahead of him as 2015 came to a close. With a deep passion for music that has been a guiding light for him his entire life, the support of incredible friends on an impossibly excellent label, and of course the love of a dedicated fanbase, Big Wild easily navigated 2016. In fact, he made it his biggest year yet. So with all of that in store…there was only one question left – what’s next?

“In 2017 I am putting out a bunch of originals and an ep. The EP is coming out like early spring. But I am actually dropping an original single really soon. Basically I am sitting on a bunch of new music that we are all just getting ready to put out and I am really excited to do that.”

Brian Walker

Brian Walker

Big Wild got his name when he moved out west from the northeast. The untamed beauty of the bay area and the surrounding areas such as Big Sur inspired him musically. He took on a name which would eventually match perfectly with his signature sound that is larger than life. Big Wild took to the Sierra stage of SnowGlobe that night and made sure that everyone in the crowd would know his name in 2017. Playing an arrangements of old and new music, the sounds of Big Wild, mixed with the intense beauty of the Lake Tahoe area made for a set that will stay fresh in my memory for this next year and beyond.

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