Interview: Big Wild Talks New Music, Stage Show and Working With Odesza Ahead of Two Sold-Out Nights at The Independent


It’s been a busy year for Venice-based Big Wild so far and things are only picking up. A beatmaker by trade, Jackson Stell AKA Big Wild has been touring like a madman while perfecting his stage show. In May alone he has three big upcoming Bay Area dates, Friday the 13th with Odesza at San Jose State and then back to back sold out nights at The Independent May 21st and 22nd.

Big Wild creates fun, almost whimsical dance beats. I would call some of his songs tropical house, but there is so much baggage associated with that label now and I find his brand of music far more creative. For a taste check out Big Wild’s latest rework of “Aftergold” with Tove Stryke:

I had the chance to ask Jackson a few questions before his return to the Bay check it out below and start checking the secondary market for some tickets to his upcoming shows:

SFCritic: I have to admit before I saw you for the first time I felt a little bad for you. It was an opening act for Bonobo and Odesza, two bands known for incredible live shows. But I was blown away by your energy and activity on stage (drumming etc). Was the stage act something you’ve always had or is it something you developed over the past couple years?
Big Wild: My live show is something I’ve been creating for the last year and a half. It’s been a good amount of experimentation with ideas and seeing what sticks haha. I bring a lot of energy to shows to channel it to the crowd. It builds a really cool environment for people to have a good time and feel something.

SFC: How long have you been producing as Big Wild? What do you think helped define the music you are making now?
BW: I’ve been producing as Big Wild for about three years. My first trip to California and the idea of really starting a career as an artist spurred a lot of my ideas for my more recent music. I wanted to have a sound that adventures into different styles and genres while being rooted in the music I grew up loving.

SFC: I hate to try to ascribe genres, especially with electronic music, how would you describe your sound to someone coming out their first show?
BW: The best description I’ve come up with for my sound is hip-hop/dance/electronic/randomness. I have a lot of different influences in my music so it’s hard to sum up.

SFC: I personally can’t get enough of the mashups of your original beats with mid-2000s hip hop standards. Especially the Rich Boy “Throw Some D’s” X Venice Venture track. How do you discover the right hip hop track to weave into your beat? Do you have an affinity for this era of rap?
BW: The Rich Boy remix was just me testing out a bunch of different acapellas I had on my computer and seeing which one worked best. I was definitely into that acapella the most because his flow worked perfectly with the rhythm of the track. I put those edits together for live shows and decided to release them as a fun little project. There was a lot of fun/club hip-hop that was coming out during that period of time, so those acapellas translate well to the vibe I create for my shows.

SFC: You have been remixing Odesza songs for a while now, but I saw you recently reissued “Aftergold” and collaborated with Tove Stryke on some lyrics for Foreign Family Collective. How long have you known the Odesza guys and how did you come to work with them?
BW: Up to this point, I’ve actually only remixed Odesza’s “Say My Name,” which was a great opportunity for me. I’ve known Odesza for about a year and a half now after I opened up for them in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Hayden James was the original opener and he had visa issues at the time so I was a last minute replacement. Since then, they’ve helped me a lot with my career and are very good friends.

SFC: Do you have plans for a LP in the near future or any collaborations you are excited for?
BW:  I’ve been working on new original music for a project I’m really excited about. I’ve collaborated with vocalists Yuna, Ida Hawk and a few others! I also have several remixes to be released soon. Lots of new music on the way, I promise 😉

SFC: It must feel good to come back to SF with two sold-out, headlining dates. Is there anything you look forward to doing when you are in SF this time?
BW: Eating great food, hanging with my girlfriend, and playing those shows. It’s going to be crazy.

Photo Credit: Emily Buckingham