4

Big Gigantic Donates Computer Lab to Youth on Record

Dominic Lalli (center, in green) enjoys working with the teens at Youth on Record, noting their passion and curiosity about music.
Dominic Lalli (center, in green) enjoys working with the teens at Youth on Record, noting their passion and curiosity about music.
Courtesy of Big Gigantic
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

The electronic-music duo Big Gigantic's foundation is donating a computer lab to the music-education nonprofit Youth on Record.

Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic, which will return to Red Rocks Amphitheatre in September, have been making waves in Colorado for more than a decade, and their philanthropic efforts have been intertwined with their explosive, electronic music since the early days. They've donated to groups like Cradles for Crayons and Conscious Alliance. To take things a step further, they established A Big Gigantic Difference Foundation at the end of 2016. This year, they wanted to focus on their local community in Colorado and make a steady, lasting impact. They reached out to the music-education nonprofit Youth on Record and cooked up plans to pay for a new computer lab.

Youth on Record, located in the heart of Denver, provides for-credit courses, out-of-school programming and economic resources for under-resourced youth looking to learn about the music industry. The nonprofit's facility has a production lab and recording studio already, but staff have noticed a decline in the quality of technology on site. Laptops have either been lost, slowed down considerably or aren't powerful enough to run the production programs students are learning on. A computer lab paid for by Big Gigantic will change this.

“On our tour last year, we raised money in each city we were playing in and donated locally to a bunch of nonprofits,” Salken says. “This year we were figuring out a different way to do that. We wanted to focus more on Colorado and make it more about music, since a lot of music and art programs are being stripped from schools here. There are like none left. Growing up, both of us did music in high school and middle school; that was a really big part of our lives. We probably wouldn’t be where we’re at without that. I can’t even imagine going to school without that kind of opportunity.”

Youth on Record provides an opportunity for under-resourced youth to receive access to arts education and advanced technological equipment.
Youth on Record provides an opportunity for under-resourced youth to receive access to arts education and advanced technological equipment.
Courtesy of Big Gigantic

The money raised on tour in 2017 will fund the computer lab, including five stationary iMac desktops with Ableton and Adobe Creative Cloud, five Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 controllers, three custom desks, five chairs and one year’s salary for a lab instructor. Lalli and Salken think having one stationary place where these resources are accessible for students is crucial for their creative progress.

“I got to go [to Youth on Record] and work with the kids,” Lalli says. “They seem very passionate and super-curious. I think just having access [to the equipment] every day would help make [each student's] project greater. It’s important, because they’ll have a place to go consistently to work on stuff. They can be the next generation of people doing what we’re doing.”

The YOR recording studio is already available; the addition of the computer lab will allow students to bring a project to fruition on site, instantaneously.

“I think nowadays with technology, you can do so much with a computer,” Salken says. “When we were kids, that wasn’t going on. People were making computer music, but it wasn’t as accessible…. These kids can apply this technology. They can not only be a drummer, but a guitarist and a bassist and a keyboardist. They can do everything. They can record in [YOR’s recording studio] and then put it on the computer and mess with it. They can literally make a song right there, and I can’t even imagine having that in middle school.”

Lalli and Salken have combined philanthropy with their music for years by organizing local food and clothing drives and collaborating with Conscious Alliance.EXPAND
Lalli and Salken have combined philanthropy with their music for years by organizing local food and clothing drives and collaborating with Conscious Alliance.
Courtesy of Big Gigantic

The musicians hope that alongside this technology, the computer lab will provide space to explore music as a creative outlet. With music programs receiving less attention in schools, the lab gives students a chance to explore their curiosity for music and beyond.

“With art and music not being much in schools these days, music is just a creative outlet for people,” Lalli says. “You go throughout your day, especially as a kid, and everything is on a schedule. You have all your classes, then come home to parents and do homework, etc.... [At Youth on Record, kids] can get an hour where they’re encouraged to be totally creative and do whatever they want.”

Big Gigantic, September 29-30, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, 720-865-2494. If you're interested in donating directly to Big Gigantic's fundraising efforts, visit a Big Gigantic Difference online.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.