From Big Sur has made a large splash in the Michigan music industry. When asked to describe the bands sound, they simply said, “the most obviously missing sounds.” From Big Sur has seem to have found the missing pieces to the musical puzzle and fans of the rock band couldn’t be happier.
From Big Sur formed back in 2008 and has been enjoying rising success ever since. Now with 2013 on the horizon, the band has a new tour and album planned for the new year. Fans are looking forward to more music and more live shows that bring a new energy to the Michigan music scene.
I had the chance to sit down and interview, From Big Sur. We discussed everything from how social media has helped the band gain fans and about their upcoming album set to be released in 2013. The entire interview is below.
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C: When did From Big Sur come together?
F: In 2008 a life-long friend Wes Tkaczyk and I started From Big Sur as a writing/recording project on the side of our other bands and recording projects. It eventually evolved to include another life-long friend and fellow Dansvillian Adam Jones. We ended up recording an album that we felt needed to be heard so in 2010 Shawn Doolittle joined the line-up on drums. Since the beginning of 2011 John Fry joined the band to play keyboard, guitar and mandolin. Adam left because his job in Kalamazoo kept him from a full commitment. We’ve had the same line-up of Shawn Doolittle on drums, Wes Tkaczyk singing and on bass, John Fry singing and playing keys then myself singing and playing guitar for the past two years.
C: What would you consider to be some of your most notable music influences at a younger age?
F: When we were kids Wes’ dad and my dad would trade Beatles bootlegs at our little league baseball games. Wes and I grew-up listening to everything the Beatles ever did including their solo work. There was plenty other music we grew-up listening to but I think we were both very lucky to be raised listening to such great music. Shawn and John’s early influences seem to be rooted in earlier country and blues..
C: From Big Sur in a few words, how would you describe the band’s musical sound?
F: The most obviously missing sounds.
C: What musical influences do you pull from when you are performing or writing music?
F: When I write and when I’ve written with Wes or the band we don’t try to pull from anything. We try to develop original melodies with original chord changes. The work of our influences are already within us but what our influences do that is most important is raise the standard of excellence. Our influences have taught us when to know whether something is good or not, whether to develop an idea or trash it. For instance, the album we’re working on now started as a massive project. From a pool of 50ish songs we had written we decided to record 22 of them for this album. We plan on only having 12ish songs on the album. This process although lengthy allows us to shape and mold a great album and not just throw together a group of songs.
As for performing we have covered everything from the roots of American folk and blues music to the British invasion and plenty around and in between.
C: From Big Sur has gained quite a large following in the Midwest, what was the process of coming up in the industry like?
F: Well, we don’t have a large following but we’re working towards that. The business has changed and continues to change so quickly that you almost don’t want to rely on anyone for anything. We do everything ourselves. We produce our albums, we run our websites, we book our shows, design our own artwork etc. That’s where the music business is now. Especially if you’re not playing stadiums. It’s more work but it can be done.
C: How would you guys as a band describe the Midwest music scene?
F: I honestly can’t say what the Midwest scene is. It’s more like there’s small pockets of scenes going on everywhere. When I moved back to Michigan from Portland, Oregon in 2009 I didn’t have high expectations for a local scene in Lansing. I was wrong! I can honestly say there is more of a scene in Lansing, Michigan than in Portland, Oregon. Maybe it’s easier to see because it’s smaller but there is way more of a sense of community in Lansing. Also, the musicianship in Lansing destroys what was in Oregon. The scene in Portland was more about trying to get famous than making good music. Don’t get me wrong there is some great music there but the difference in musicianship is startling.
C: How do you all as a band feel social media has helped and will continue to help your career?
F: Social media is the biggest tool we have to reach our audience. We can notify hundreds of people about upcoming gigs in the click of a button, and it’s free! In a sense social media is our unpaid middle-man for many things.
C: What does the future of the band hold?
F: We will be releasing our new album at the beginning of 2013. We’ve had some of the best musicians in the land guest on the album. We couldn’t be more proud of the way it’s turning out. For me personally, I don’t see and end to From Big Sur. I’d like to make music with these guys for as long as possible. There’s something special about having as much fun as we have on stage and in the studio.