Big Wild Talks About How He Met Odesza And His Unique Live Performances in iEDM Exclusive Interview
In a world of DJs replaying the same old tracks, Big Wild is a refreshing new artist whose talent speaks for itself once you see him live.
His music sparks emotion in the best ways, and makes you move on the dance floor. He incorporates an instrument you haven't seen in his live sets, and his style is unique.
Big Wild, whose real name is Jackson Stell, started his music career years ago under another alias selling his beats online to rappers. Now he is selling out major venues across the country and playing festivals like Lightning In A Bottle and Electric Forest.
He has blown up in under a year with a lot of thanks to his "Say My Name" remix he did for Odesza. If you are an Odesza fan, you probably already love Big Wild, but if you haven't heard of him, now is the time to check him out.
We even included him on 10 Artists You Can't Miss At Electric Forest, and I got the chance to sit down with him at Electric Forest to talk about his success, how he met Odesza, and what inspires him.
iEDM: So you had an awesome set earlier, were you happy with it?
Big Wild: Yes, I was. Have you ever been unhappy with a set? Those happened earlier in my career. It's tough when you're an artist, and I'm sure other artists can relate- when no one knows who you are in the crowd. And they're like what they hell is this dude's vibe, what the hell is he doing on stage? But lately, like this summer, especially after coming off tour people know what I'm doing, they are familiar with my music and it just makes the crowds like way more into it. So I haven't really had a show where I felt disappointed in a while.
iEDM: You changed your alias from J.Beatz to Big Wild. Why the name change?
Big Wild: Well J.Beatz was something I made when I was a 15 year old in high school. I used to make hip-hop instrumentals and sell them to rappers. That was my first way of making money. When I got into college, I started to change from hip-hop to more electronic. Big Wild was a name that signified that change. Like alright, I did this, that's not really where my heart is anymore. I want to make music that makes people dance, music that is unique to me, and I think changing my name was the right way to represent myself.
iEDM: How did you meet Odesza?
Big Wild: I first met Odesza when they hit me up on Twitter randomly after finding my music on SoundCloud and asked me to do an official remix of "Say My Name." So I did that; they liked it. It was one of the first times, if not the first time, a big artist ever reached out to me. It was definitely an oh shit kind of moment. And then, I got really lucky because they were just about to start a tour. The guy was supposed to be the opener, he was from Australia, Hayden James. He had passport issues, and Odesza's first show was in San Francisco and I was living there at the time. They were like, hey you just did this cool remix, do you want to fill in for Hayden James for free shows. It was completely lucky. I said of course, I did the shows, I probably sucked because it was my first shows. But that is how I met them. I met their agent who is now my agent. That was a really big moment in time where things started to fall into place.
iEDM: You blew up under a year, what do you credit that?
Big Wild: I've now done two tours with Odesza, which is super awesome. For me it doesn't feel like I'm blowing up or anything, because I have been making music for so long, it's just like a part of who I am. That being said, ever since I met up with my agent Jay, and met Odesza, and gotten a lot more shows and festivals and understanding about music in general, its just helped me to take my careers to new levels and stay inspired along the way. It keeps me interested.
iEDM: What is the wooden box you were playing on stage called?
Big Wild: It's called a cajon. In Spanish, it literally just means box. It has the front plate, so inside there are two snare wires, which is what gives it that snappy sound. It's like a mini drum kit in a box.
iEDM: That's cool, I haven't seen one before. You also have keys and a drum pad on stage, how do you go about planning your live sets?
Big Wild: I always view my live sets as making moments. So it's like where do I want people to really engage with what I'm doing on stage and like feel something too, so there are times where I'm more chillin'. Me and my visual guy, we work together a lot. I'll have him do something cool on the screen or whatever then there's times where I will do something wild on the drums and focus on that. It's really all about making moments, and making the set more than just like a continuous set of music, and making it something people will remember.
iEDM: Talking genres, what would you describe your style as?
Big Wild: It's tough to say because I have been inspired by so many different types of music that I've made a lot different types of music. I try to always have my own sound in it. The basics of it is like hip-hop, electronic, dance, funk.. I don't know, I don't want to sound full of myself by saying I have my own genre, but I do feel like my music is my sound.
iEDM: What are you working on now?
Big Wild: The weekends I'm doing festivals and during the week, I'm working on new music. When I start out, I don't have any particular idea of whether it's going to be an EP or album, I'm just making music for the sake of making music. I've been experimenting a lot with vocals and song writing because that's what's inspiring me at the moment.