When Big Gigantic played Red Rocks last year, the feeling of hometown pride was unmistakable. As the act went into "Colorado Mountain High," a giant projection of the state flag draped the rocks, and the crowd went absolutely bananas. The duo ended up delivering its best set ever. That said, this year's return of Rowdytown -- which is being preceded by a second show at the Fillmore the night before, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting flood victims -- is highly anticipated. In advance of the return, we spoke with Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken about the recent flooding in their hometown and more.
Westword: I saw that you have some benefit activity for Boulder at the shows coming up. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Jeremy Salken: Obviously the floods are an awful thing, and we missed it because of tour, so at the Fillmore we are donating a portion of the proceeds to benefit the relief and rescue efforts in Boulder. We teamed up with Conscious Alliance, who already have a local draw for helping people who really need it. We teamed up with them to figure out the right place for all of it to go, whether food or house items or donations. It's going to be really cool.
How does Boulder look from your view?
Dominic Lalli: Man, not good, not good. I went walking by my place down near the Boulder creek path, and I was like, "Dang, there's just water there now." It's crazy.
It's terrible that this is what you come back to. On a more upbeat note, how was your summer tour?
Dominic Lalli: We did a bunch of festivals, and just kicked off our Sky High tour on the West Coast, which was awesome. And now we're back working on our album a little bit, and getting ready for the next leg of the Sky High tour.
When is that album set for release?
DL: We were really trying to get it released before Red Rocks, but being on the road makes it so hard to really make that happen, and do it right. So, we are just going to wait on it until the beginning of next year. We did that with Nocturnal last year, but it was worth it to wait. We will release some singles leading up to it, and it will come pretty quick. And it will be awesome.
Given your experience sitting in on sets at festivals -- like Big GRiZMatik, for instance -- or whomever may be headlining at the time, I wanted to talk about what the future holds for Big Gigantic, the duo, and Big Gigantic, the collaborators.
DL: I'll tell you that a lot of the stuff randomly comes up. With Big GRiZmatik, it was super thrown together last minute at Electric Forest. We basically booked two late-night shows, and that's about as organized as it got. In terms of everything else, maybe Jeremy sitting in, or me sitting in, all that stuff is pretty much day-of, or day-before the show. I think that part of us, and the regular Big Gigantic, as a duo part, is where we both came from. We grew up jamming with other people, and just making music. I think it's pretty intertwined, and we hope to do that more. We are down for whatever.
As it stands now, are you planning on keeping Big Gigantic as just a duo, or maybe expanding?
DL: I feel like Big G is definitely just me and Jeremy, but we are always open to jam. I don't foresee us adding anyone, per se. Unless, Jeremy thinks so...
JS: Probably not. It seems like it's working. It's fun, and it's cool because we can always have people sit in, and it really adds to the show and makes it special. When it comes down to it, it's just the two of us.
In the grand scheme, and I don't know where you saw yourselves five years ago, but how do you think that what you're doing right now as Big Gigantic? How do you think that is paving the road for the band, and as individuals?
DL: For me, it's a pipe dream. We are living that right now. What we are doing wasn't even attainable to me. I feel like there is so much more expanding. We are kind of fortunate enough to be on that slow ride. We have this Australia stop coming up, and then U.K. And with so much going on, we are really in the moment with it all. I haven't really thought about more than getting this thing moving.
JS: I'd have to say the same thing. We are constantly working and staying on top of it and keep the movement going. When we started, I don't think either of us thought we'd be here. We both played in bands to five people, and we never thought we could do this and sell-out Red Rocks. We've been setting new goals, and really working towards those.
At this point, what are your goals?
JS: Last year, we wanted to sell out Red Rocks. Before that, it was to do a big New Year's Eve show somewhere. Another goal is to get out of the country and expand overseas. They may not even dig it, but you have to start over, and you can't just expect to have all these people show up at your show.
DL: Musically, there is so much we can make and collab with other poeple to put our sound in other groups.
What kinds of fears have you overcome, and what new fears have risen based on recent success?
DL: It's interesting because we've accomplished some goals and are wondering what's next. So I get it, but I just try to stay in the moment. I always try to learn from the past, but I just want to make music. That's the underlying thing in all of this: I want to make music that is good, so that it hits people the right way.
Are there things you want to explore outside of Big Gigantic, currently?
JS: We're always checking out different kinds of music, no matter what it is. Dom is always bringing new stuff into what we do. Because of where we come from -- these jazz, funk styles -- we always try to bring that into Big G.
How has your personal relationship changed in the past five years?
JS: It's been good. Dom is definitely one of my best friends -- if not my best friend.
DL: It's pretty awesome.
JS: It's a relationship.
DL: The cool part about it is that it's a relationship. We play our roles very well. We bounce stuff off each other, and we get each other at this point, so we know. It's not a negative thing. It's just like a groove we've gotten into, and bounce things off back and forth, and we can get creative in our own thing. Then, after all that, we can come together make it our thing. It's awesome.
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.