How Big Gigantic Is Testing the Limits of EDM, With Help From Funk Band the Motet

Boulder-based Big Gigantic -- the instrumental livetronica, hip-hop, jazz and electronic duo -- took the Red Rocks stage this weekend for its third annual "Rowdy Town" show. The group collaborated with Denver-based funk band the Motet to do a full band set each night.

Dominic Lalli, saxophonist of Big Gigantic was a member of the Motet before forming Big G with drummer and producer Jeremy Salken. Lalli says the inspiration for this weekend's set came from Bonaroo, when Big Gigantic was part of a SuperJam set with Skrillex featuring a dozen other artists, including Damian Marley, Chance the Rapper and Zedd.

See also: The Road to Rowdytown: An exclusive look behind the scenes with Big Gigantic

"[The Motet] was sort of a late addition, but after we did the SuperJam show with Skrillex at Bonaroo and worked with so many different artists, and did the live band experience, our mind's flipped a switch," says Lalli. "We decided that we have to get those guys out into this ring."

Now, Big G and its peers can do just about anything they want, including play headlining back-to-back nights at Red Rocks. But Lalli remembers a time not so long ago when the electronic scene was just getting started here. "The Motet did a Halloween show up in Fort Collins a few times at Hodis Half Note, and Pretty Lights played after for a late-night show at the bowling alley. Everyone was taking shuttles down to see Pretty Lights. There was probably only about 100 people there."

The audience for Pretty Lights is now global and enormous, and Big Gigantic isn't so far behind. Lalli still finds it surreal to play Red Rocks. "I don't think you ever get over looking out to the crowd. It does sound cliche, but that's one of the greatest feelings that I think I've ever had at a show," he says.

His band's first Red Rocks show was in 2010, opening up for Sound Tribe Sector Nine (STS9), and it played Global Dance Festival in 2011. Its first Rowdy Town show was held there 2012. This weekend, the Motet collaborated with Big Gigantic for one of that group's full sets, adding a keys, bass, guitar, trumpet and tenor sax to their normal saxaphone, drum and DJ set-up. "I feel like I wear a cape when I'm up there," says Lalli. "And then when you play with other people, and you tell them, 'We sold out Red Rocks,' and they're like, 'No way!" it's pretty special. It has a really magical swag to it, I don't know what it is."

Big Gantic released a new album early in 2014 titled The Night is Young which features its original jazz-infused electronic beats alongside a few curve balls, including the title track, which Lalli explains "is something we have never done before. It's a poppy tune.

"But we also have a downtempo song, 'Shooting Stars,' on the album. I think that the beautiful thing about us is the way we present our sound. We stay true to it but we are also able to explore different sounds, and different musical situations. That helps up keep developing and growing as a band. We're fortunate to be that kind of a group, where anything goes."

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Mary Willson started contributing to Westword as an intern in the summer of 2014, focusing on the electronic music scene in Colorado.
Contact: Mary Willson