Before Jackson Stell moved to California to be with his girlfriend and surf, he was making beats in his basement back in Massachusetts. After donning the name BIG WILD, he dropped a remix of ODESZA’s song “Say My Name” and was asked to join the electronica duo on tour. He soon made friends and toured with other electronica heavyweight such as Bassnecter, GRiZ, and Tycho. He just released his debut album, Superdream, after high anticipation from Pandora.
CelebMix had the chance to speak with BIG WILD about his debut album and what has changed for him since he first started making music. Check out the full interview below:
Being featured as one of Pandora’s artists to watch, your new music is highly anticipated and those are pretty big expectations to have for your debut album, how has that affected what you’re thinking or feeling before your album has even been released?
It makes me excited! All I want is for people to hear the project. Now let’s just hope it doesn’t suck!
How do you think this album represents where you are as an artist?
The album is largely me sharing my story and giving the world a better idea of who I am. Also, it represents my new approach towards songwriting by combining my production with my voice.
What do you think are some of the most important or personal themes that you touched on in making this album?
Each song on the album comes from a personal experience that covers a different theme. “Alley-Oop” is about that feeling of euphoria when falling in love for the first time, “Maker” touches on an existential crisis I had and how it changed my view on life, and “Purple Sand” is about my move to California and starting a new chapter in my life. However, I try and write my songs in a way for people to have their own interpretations outside of my own personal meaning but I feel it’s important to base your songs off something you know first-hand.
What do you think it is about electronic music that resonates with you?
Electronic music and producing music on the computer gives you the ability to have a full vision for a song and actually make it happen. It’s beautiful. I also love dancing/making music that gets people to dance and electronic music does that very well.
How do you feel that incorporating your own vocals has impacted the way you make music?
It’s changed my approach completely. Singing has given my music a focus it’s never had before: a lead which my production can build around. Vocals have also inspired so many different sound design and texture ideas. It’s extremely inspiring.
How have your influences changed from when you first started to where you are now as an artist?
My original inspirations when I began producing were in hip hop. Producers like Dr. Dre, Timbaland, The Neptunes, etc. They helped establish my initial understanding of making music. They all had their own unique production style and while I don’t listen to their music specifically as much anymore, I’m still attracted to artists with their own style. My tastes have become a lot more diverse at this point. I’ve really been into psychedelic/pop/dance music lately. Lot’s of good things happening in those genres.
If you weren’t doing music for a career, what would you be doing?
I would be screwed! I would probably become involved with teaching or climate change.
It’s the beginning of a new year and you have an album coming out, tour dates set — what are you most excited for in 2019?
I’m excited for it all. I’m ready to start this new chapter. Right now I’m putting everything into the new show. I’m hoping 2019 is a special year.
Stream Superdream below.
What is your favorite track from Superdream? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix