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The Big Motif's Tony Pacello weighs in on Does It Weigh Heavy

The Big Motif started as a prodigious high-school blues-rock trio and has evolved into a more mature, funk-based jam act. While the group's self-titled EP, released last year, was jazzy, groove-laden and polished, the Big Motif has crafted a much more raw sound on its new seven-song EP, Does It Weigh Heavy. Frontman Tony Pacello, who started playing when he was seven and grew up on B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, says he was going for more emotion with his playing on Does It Weigh Heavy rather than concentrating strictly on the technicality of his solos, as he did on the previous release. We spoke with Pacello about the new EP.

Westword: Do you think Does It Weigh Heavy captured the raw essence of the band?

Tony Pacello: Compared to the old album, which is really produced and polished, we didn't really want to go that direction, because that's not how we sound live. We wanted the album to sound more similar to how we sound live, which is raw and it has mistakes and has that straightforward, in-your-face rock that isn't really polished. We didn't want the album to sound any different than how we sound live.

How does it feel being back in the trio setting?

Sam [Crowe, saxophonist] was a great addition to the band, but Jeff Jani, Hunter Roberts and I have been playing together for six years now, and we kind of know each other and know where we're going with the music when we play. We're just more comfortable with each other than us with the sax player. I'm not saying we were uncomfortable with him; we kind of know each other more just because we've been playing together for six years.

Why are there two different versions of "Eye of the Storm" that bookend the recording?

I think a lot of the songs on the album are easy to write because you have something to write about. "Eye of the Storm" was really a two-level type of song. There's one part of it that's relaxing, almost sit back and let the feelings happen. Then there's the other part, the fast part, that's more of a kind of attack type of feeling, where you almost want to get at the feeling and get at the emotions that you feel, which is really true. There are those two different sides of emotions that we felt throughout making the album.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon