[Behind the Beat] Big Wild Discusses Past, Present and Future
Jackson Stella, also known as Big Wild, is a talented and multi-faceted producer with a unique sound. He recently performed at Meadows Music & Arts Festival in New York City, and we had a chance to sit down with him after his set to learn more about his recent EP, how he joined ODESZA’s label, and what he’s working on next.
This is Arielle with Mix 247 EDM. I’m here at Meadows Festival in New York City, sitting here with Big Wild, whose set was a few hours ago. That was so much fun – what was that set like for you?
It felt great. This type of festival is kind of new to me, one that’s not just electronic, it branches out in other genres. It’s really cool to play to a different crowd and New York is always a great, great city to play to.
Is there a difference as an artist between playing the electronic festivals and the all-genre ones?
When you go to an electronic festival, people know that when they go there they’re gonna dance their ass off. Whereas when you go to other genres, it’s not as normal to just dance all the time. You’re more just kind of like, taking it in as a listener, which is totally cool. So, that part I’m kind of learning to adjust to as I branch out in other stuff. Maybe not everyone is dancing but they can still really feel the music.
Earlier this year you released your first EP, Invincible. What do you want to tell fans about this album?
That took me a long time to make. It was my first step working on songwriting, writing the lyrics for other artists to sing. Kind of a stepping stone to where I’m going now which is, I’m singing more of my own music and writing everything. I feel like moving away from just being a producer to being a producer/songwriter. So that Invincible EP was a big, big stepping stone for me going in that direction. It was a lot of the music ideas I picked up along the way in the last year.
You released that album on ODESZA’s label, Foreign Family Collective. You’re in really good company there. What is it like being a part of that label and how did you get involved with them in the first place?
It really started when ODESZA first found my music on SoundCloud and they asked me to do a remix for “Say My Name,” and I opened up for them at a couple of shows. That was actually around the time when they were first starting the label, and I showed them “Aftergold” and from there they were like, “Hey can we release this on this new thing we’re starting?” and I was like, “Alright.” Because up to that point I had never done any kind of big release. It was really just a natural connection, and now we’re all really good friends. They’re somebody I look up to for sure.
When you meet someone new and they ask you what you do for a living, and then they inevitably ask you what type of music you make, I’m curious as to how you answer that. Because I find it very difficult to try and put your music into a nice handy genre label, because it’s very diverse. Sometimes its sort of tropical, sometimes its house-y. So I’m curious as to how you answer that because I imagine you answer that a lot.
I do get asked that a lot. And what I want to say is that it’s like my own style, but I feel like that sometimes comes off as being pretentious or something. Really I just kind of follow my inspiration and that changes a lot. I always try to make music that makes people want to dance and move, but whether that’s house or more of a bass heavy kind of thing or a lighter track it’s really what I’m feeling at that time. So I say electronic music really, or electronic hip hop. But it’s not really that.
I’m wondering if you’re involved at all in the design of your merch. It’s really cool and has this nature vibe to it which is very unique for musician’s merchandise. There’s one hoodie in particular with trees and the moon that I think is super dope and I noticed it was out of stock so I imagine other people also think it’s really cool. Are you involved in the design of that at all?
We reached out to several artists who me and some of the people on the team are really into, and then we just kind of curate it from there like, “Hey we want to do this and this” and we finally draw down the designs. And all the merch was really just pieces of the artwork for the tour, so we just took out the tree part and put it on a shirt or something. Making it have a natural look is really important to me. That’s just what resonates with me, it’s what I care about a lot so I want to be representative of my image in my merch. So it’s curated by me and we work with some really talented artists who can really bring it all together.
Are you working on any projects right now that you can tell people about?
What I’m doing right now is, I’m just making a bunch of music. I don’t know if it’s going to be an album or a couple EPs or what but I’m just trying to make a lot of music. And also at the same time, I’m working a lot on my own voice and my own vocals. So I’m making a lot of music based around that. It’s still kind of like, your build and drop electronic style but at the same time it’s also got this level of lyricism to it that’s just what I’ve been resonating with lately. So that’s kind of what I’m doing. As I get that music finished I’m working on an entirely new live show that I’m really excited about. I feel like it’s just the next progression in my career.
What else are you into besides music? If you’re not working on music, what else are you doing with your time?
I always sound like such a nerd when I get asked this question because I kind of do music all the time. But when I have some free time I like to go outside and hike a lot. I live in the Bay Area so there’s a lot of good options for that. I’ve been trying to learn how to surf and get a little better at that. I really like high quality food, that’s one of the things I’ll actually splurge on. But it’s almost 100% music, whether I’m learning to play a new instrument or making music or doing shows.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Follow Mix 247 EDM
Facebook: facebook.com/Mix 247 EDM News