Ten years ago, Jeremy Salken and Dominic Lalli were struggling musicians, working as a pizza delivery guy and barista, respectively, to make ends meet while they also made music. Their first real gig was a benefit show, and while the Colorado electro-funk duo were eventually able to drop their day jobs while rising to festival headliner status, giving back remains a big part of what they do as Big Gigantic.
Last year, their A Big Gigantic Difference foundation raised $70,000 for Conscious Alliance of Boulder, and in 2017, the foundation raised $50,000 to buy new equipment for a Colorado music school. The foundation is also behind the Lil Gs, a fan ambassador program that sends volunteers into the crowds at Big Gigantic shows to ensure audiences are having healthy, happy and fully optimized experiences.
This focus on giving and community extends all the way to Big Gigantic’s new single “You’re The One,” out Tuesday (June 18) via Counter Records. Featuring mysterious singer Nevve, the sweetly uplifting track is outfited with the classic Big Gigantic sax and funk flourishes and is the first new music from the duo in three years. As part of the song’s launch, Lalli and Salken polled their fans on social media, asking what they love most about themselves. Thousands of predictably touching answers came in from around the world, with responses ranging from “my heart” to “my hair” to “my shining spirit” to “my ability to forgive” to “maybe not depression, but everything else” to “my smile” to, naturally, “my love for all EDM music.”
Here, Lalli and Salken talk about their fans, their new track and giving back.
You guys got so many answers on your fan poll about self love. What responses stuck out to you?
Lalli: There are so many amazing ones, and people are coming from so many different places. You can tell some people have fought through something that’s been hard for them. Someone wrote in about fighting cancer, whereas some people just talked about their hair, which is great too. It’s so true that everyone is really in a different place in their lives.
Salken: It’s cool seeing how many you can relate to too, or seeing other people’s responses and wishing you could do that thing better. I think a lot of us are hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up, and hopefully this project helps people realize that we’re all just doing our best.
“You’re The One” is the first new Big Gigantic single in three years. What does the track say about where you guys are in your career and evolution?
Salken: I think we’re just maturing and going a little deeper. I’m loving it right now. I’m really excited about where we’re at, and the message, and everything that’s happening and to keep it going.
Given that you guys have been doing this for a decade, you must be seeing fans growing up and maturing along with you.
Salken: There are some of them who say that the first time they saw us, they were inspired to drop everything they were doing and try to get into the music industry, and now they’re working at a venue or doing promotion. It’s cool to get connected with people who are finding and have found their place in the world. Ten years ago, we were just dudes working random jobs playing our instruments around town and playing weddings and bar mitzvahs. So we get it. We understand living your life trying to pay the bills, but you have this other dream and you’re putting as much energy into it as possible. It’s cool to see people manifest those dreams.
Do you see the scene itself maturing as well?
Lalli: I feel like a few years ago, [the scene] was more ridiculous and goofy and everybody was figuring out what was going on with electronic music and not taking it super seriously. With everything that’s happening in the world now, everything’s so freaking crazy, and I feel like a lot of people are turning inward for growth, but also looking out at other people and finding things that inspire them and trying to figure out how we can put our best foot forward.
Right now we know we have some work to do, and that we have to get everybody on the same page. Things [in the world] are not moving in the direction that we necessarily thought they would, and we really need to get everyone together with a group mindset to enact change in the world. And if we can do it through music, let’s do it.
Big Gigantic headlines Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre this Sept. 27 and 28 as part of their Rowdytown VIII event.