Raw riffs and uncompromising impassioned rock hits you round the face full force with BIGG, a scrawly indie rock post punk band from Reading. The band use deep bass lines and catchy elegantly written riffs with dark screwed up gritty vocals. The gravel and DIY harshness of the band’s music gives them this undeniable edge, and the uncaring attitude to them builds up this post punk aura. How Do You Sleep is an insane track, proper blaring rock with rough old school rock’n’roll embedded in it. Their debut EP Lock Up Your Daughters may be one of the most impressive debuts I’ve come across recently. The band amp up the usage of drum loops and heavy rich bass lines, which are killer overlays in their tracks. The grit and gravel of their music is dirty, exciting rock, with these nasty snarls of punk ever so slightly tearing through this meticulous sound. I love how unpredictable their tracks are too; the riffs and lyrics flicker throughout, giving the music something intriguing and exciting. A band I can’t wait to see live next week (with The Scruff at Nambucca), the raw openness of that guitar and manic cutting intensity of the riffs promises something very special for BIGG. The band are building up a new style of rock, carving a route in the industry I’d be thrilled to see more bands go down. This grimy untasted flavour of rock is much needed, and are BIGG the band leading this resurgence? Quite possibly.
I recently interviewed James from the band, talking all things DIY, politics, and the music scene in Reading. Have a read of that below
Tell me about the band; how did you form and how long have you been together?
We’ve been playing together for around 6 years, but BIGG as a project has been going about 3, we’ve learnt a lot together and have honed our sound and the way we write songs down to something we’re really happy with. We initially met online after Big G and his brother James moved to Reading for Uni. We started jamming and everything just seemed to click, we all work in a similar way and this allows us to craft our songs as a group with us all having an input at every stage
Where are you from and what’s the local music scene like?
We’re based in Reading although we only actually play there once a month if that, the scene is a bit of a strange one, there’s not a huge number of venues and the town struggles with any form of solid identity as it’s so close to London. With the rise of bands like the Amazons and Sundara Karma (who we played one of our first ever Reading shows with waaaaay back in another band), Reading is starting to see an uptick in musical investment and we’ve got a couple of decent dedicated promoters trying to put on decent shows and make Reading a place for up and coming bands to hit on their tours
How would you describe your sound?
We always have trouble with this one. It’s dark and heavily riff lead, we love a good groove and to make peoples teeth rattle in their heads from the moment our show kicks off. Mostly it’s loud.
Who did you grow up listening to, and who are the biggest musical influences on the band?
We all come from very different musical backgrounds Big G (Vocals & Rhythm Guitar) is a Fan of UK Grime and Sheffield Indie Pop, which you can hear in his at once conversational and staccato lyrical delivery. Smithy (Drums) Grew up on Pop Punk and that comes through in his enormously performative and technical playing style. James (Lead Guitar) loves anything with a chunky lead riff and has been massively influenced by QOTSA, DFA 1979 and The Dead Pirates, evidenced in his style which utilises a traditional lead sound mixed with an octave down pedal through a separate amp. Pearce (Vocals & Bass) Has the widest musical pool, everything from 90s Grunge to 80s Pop from Blues to Metal is distilled down through him into the huge bass lines that are the beating heart of BIGG’s songs
What do your lyrics tend to focus on?
Our first EP Lock up your Daughters focuses a lot on murder, Big G had recently finished his degree in chemistry and forensics and had been studying murder scenes for some time. The motives and minds of the killers proved a deep well for lyrics and musical themes. As time has gone on we’ve written more and more about misspent youth, mistakes made or not made and the general state of our lives. There’s a sort of juxtaposition in our songs where we want people to dance and have a good time at our shows but all the lyrics tend to be about pretty depressing or dark shit
Given the state of current day politics and its effects, would you ever consider embodying that in your lyrics?
There are people who have already come away from some of our songs with a political message in their heads, most notably our EP Track How Do You Sleep seems to come across to everyone differently and very often with a political tilt. With the current state of politics and how hard it is to get by even as a responsibly employed young person let alone a bunch of youths in a van playing rock music, we think it’s impossible to be creating art and music without a little of that seeping in. We’re writing about what we know what we see and what we can imagine and if the world around us is slowly sinking us all into poverty under a borderline tyrant then that’s bound to be reflected
With so many venues shutting down and parts of the industry suffering, what are your thoughts on DIY grassroots venues and promoters?
We’re big champions of DIY and taking back control of our own scene, the music industry is an archaic beast and is struggling against modernity and we feel the only way to succeed is to take our destiny in our own hands. We self organise a large proportion of our shows, and work with other bands to set up weekenders where we can reach new audiences and cross pollinate our fan bases. Coming up in October and November we have 3 weekenders planned with our good friends Radiosaurus and The Dirty Dead where we will play Berkshire, Hampshire and Devon supporting each other and making a big racket in each others home towns
Tell me about your writing and recording process
Our writing all takes place in rehearsal, we form each song a bit like a clay pot, starting with a riff or a beat or a lyric that we can’t get out of our heads and building on it and modifying it until it’s perfect. All our songs are written with live performance in mind, we think it’s really important that the show be as good as possible and that every song hits the audience hard and makes them move. The recording process is about trying to capture that live energy. We record all together to lay down drums and guide tracks and then re-record the guitars, bass and vocals over the top of the live drums amping and re-amping to get the sound as big and as true to life as possible. We steer clear of adding too much to the records that we can’t do live, there’s a little tambourine action or some extra guitar layering to fill out the sounds but generally we want the experience to be as real as possible. We also have lyrics and other bits and bobs that are “live only” or “record only” so that there’s something new for people who have seen us live when they hear the record and vice versa
What plans do you have for the future in terms of gigging and recording?
This year we’re on track to play 50 live shows before Christmas and next year we want to make it to 100. We love to gig and in order to make our dreams of being able to live in the van and play full time a reality we’re drumming up support by playing as many places and reaching out to as many people as possible. We’re putting the finishing touches on a set of singles that will be coming out on digital release over the next year and we’re beginning work on an album of all new material which is going to take some time so release dates are … whenever it’s done! We’d love to break our way onto the festival circuit next year and make some noise on a big stage
Check BIGG out via their website