26 March 2011

art/official presents: Big History


For New Orleans, Big History is big. They take elements from some of today’s most prominent bands, but they do it in a way that is uniquely their own. Comparisons to The XX and Beach House are accurate, but not encompassing. Within Big History is manifested a fantastic medium between old New Orleans soul and contemporary indie power. They are great people who write great songs in a great city.

Those of us at art/official have seen Big History live more times than we can count, and it still hasn't gotten old. With each show the band's sound has gotten tighter and more polished. New tracks interlaced with "classics" keep the dance floor moving the entire time. The energy stays at a ten while the electronic dance beats mix with live music and the airiness of Meg Roussel's voice. The front of the crowd is the place to be at these shows, and you'll probably see us up there with you.

Below, check out the video premiere of their hit “All At Once" (is Meg a fox or what?!):

Big History- All At Once from Bret Bohnet on Vimeo.

One warm Louisiana winter night a few months ago the guys and girls from Big History invited us out to their practice space to enjoy some music and conversation. We had the privilege of asking the band a few questions:

How did y'all originally get together?
Matt: Well, Corey and I played together during high school, and most of us have been acquainted with each other for a while because of other bands we have been in. Bret and I played with Silent Cinema for a while, and Corey and Blandon played in Antenna Inn. Meg was doing solo folk stuff in the city and when I heard her sing, I knew we had to have her. Bret had always wanted to incorporate digital sounds and acoustic drums in a way that worked well together and put together this interesting drum kit for this band. So, we are able to recreate the synthetic sounds live while still hanging on to an organic feel as well.

Tell us a little about your sound and how you ended up settling where you are now.
Big History: We originally kind of wanted to do folk rock stuff, but eventually everything got to be more and more digital. Now we do a lot of recording as we go, picking synthetic sounds to add more depth and layers. Matt and Blandon do most of the writing, but everyone helps out. We even play a song that Meg wrote 100% by herself.

A lot of people in the city have dubbed you guys as a dream pop group. Is that a genre you guys would claim for yourself, and if not, what is?
Big History: I think we all agree that dream pop is a genre we are capable of living up to. We have gotten a lot of Beach House comparisons and several of our synthetic beats were heavily influenced by the XX, so dream pop makes sense.


How about your guys' favorite new bands?
Matt: I really like King Rey.
Amanda: Caddywhompus.
Bret: Curren$y!!
Matt: Animal Collective. Everything they do is so inventive. It’s way more ahead of their time than any other band, ever. Beyond that, we’re all really big fans of the Arcade Fire and Beach House. And I love 80’s music.

Besides all the local shows you guys have booked, what are your other plans? Is there a tour in store for Big History, and what are your other future plans?
Big History: We’re going to start small. We've finished recording our EP and we will have that ready to release by this summer. As far as a tour goes, we’ll probably start going out just for the weekend and coming back. We’ll start small with regional tours and work up to larger national tours.


For those of you who haven't already heard of Big History, be ashamed of yourself. This bio offers a bite-sized introduction for those of you who have yet to hear of them:
The New Orleans rock scene is downright incestuous and Big History is no exception. When Matt Glynn and Blandon Helgason set out to form a new project, the two came to the conclusion that the nature of the New Orleans scene works like a puzzle, each musician a puzzle piece shuffled about until they fit.
The two set out to find the perfect pieces for their puzzle. They enlisted Bret Bohnet, who aside from playing with Glynn in Silent Cinema, was known for blending digital and acoustic percussion seamlessly in One Man Machine, and the popular White Bitch. There was no question about who would be playing bass. The multi‐instrumentalist Cory Schultz, of the skyrocketing Mynameisjohnmichael who also worked with Glynn and Helgason in the massive psychedelic orchestra known as Antenna Inn. Helgason then enlisted his friend Amanda Wuerstlin, having heard her violin and piano work with The City Life and Kristen & the Mania. Her organic sound would provide the perfect contrast against the band’s digital hooks.
The puzzle was complete except for one key piece: a vocalist. The band sifted through its contacts, looking for the perfect component for their sound and found the perfect voice in a very unlikely place. Meg Roussel, a young folk musician playing small gigs around town accompanied by an acoustic guitar, would ironically be the perfect fit for the bands glitchy, hip‐shaking, amalgamation of electronica, dance, and pop. Her voice, a unique blend of 60’s soul, 70’s British folk, would prove itself on the bands first single Every Bone.
With no more than a few burned copies in the hands of key New Orleans DJ’s, a buzz built around the newly formed band, which began to write and record feverishly for their upcoming EP, due for a May release. If the response to the band’s first single is any indication, Big History will be around for the long haul. It’s safe to say that these musicians have more than a few tricks up their sleeves, and the New Orleans music scene has granted its listeners yet another completed puzzle.
-from Foburg Festival

Big History plans to release their debut six song EP in early May. Check out these two songs from the forthcoming EP. Free! (right click + "save as"):

TRACKS REMOVED. We will upload new tracks as they come :)

For more info on Big History, upcoming releases, gigs, etc., head over to:



Spotlight composed by: Justen Cheney, Connor Crawford, and Aaron Saltzman
Photographs by: Patrick Quirck (http://www.rapparee.us/)
Video footage by: Jeremy Blum

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