BIG JESUS produce hefty slabs of smudge-loaded & thunderous oomph!
The anger is softened though — in part — by emollient, honeyed vocals and stunning melodic architecture. In fact, we think this super outfit create incomparably strong song structures. The result is celestial rock n’ roll — and that’s probably why the young band were chosen to support Good Charlotte this summer on tour.
When we listened to the new single “SP” [taken from the ‘Oneiric’ album to be released 30th September via Mascot Records] we found it to be “catchy and melodic” with “just a touch of metal influence.”
We recently caught up with BIG JESUS when they visited London show at the brilliant Old Blue Last venue.
What are the main differences between British audiences and the fans Stateside?
“Not really a lot! But we have found that the audience differs greatly when based on venue size rather than country-wise. So for example, playing huge venues with Good Charlotte we have noticed the audiences are similar, for instance the ‘eruptions’ when a song is completed…”
“But we did a couple of shows with a band called CITIZEN which was in smaller clubs 200-300 capacity and that was very similar to how things are back home. How people dressed and how they carried themselves in those smaller venues… that was all very familiar.”
Do the band like being up-close-and-personal to the fans… Like here at the Old Blue Last?
“Yep! This is what we are more used to. But we admit it was really fun doing the larger stuff too. And we are a ‘loud’ band so we kinda work a little bit better in a larger place. But we have found that even in the smaller clubs the kids here in Britain have gone crazy for us… We have found that British audiences are hungry for music.”
What’s your opinion of being compared with Pantera and even Green Day?
“We are all Pantera fans and so we can see how a listener can compare the two … the soft and the hard, that’s what our band is all about. We can see that. But we would say that neither of those bands are an influence. But we can see the comparison…”
So what’s Oneiric like? Is it dreamlike?
“Yes, a lot of the sounds … for example the spacey guitars and the lyrics… they are dreamlike. It correlates to how much of a dream this record has been for us… how it has been a dream to put out the record and put together these tours. It relates to that in a lot of different ways.”
The album is supposed to make you think?
“Yes, it is open to interpretation. It could be equally about one thing to someone and another thing to someone else. We like audiences to take away sounds and make them personal to them. Even in our lyric writing we try not to be too specific. We leave some room there so listeners can absorb the lyrics and put themselves into that situation.”
How is the BIG JESUS songwriting done?
“Usually we start with a riff and then lyrics are normally the last things to be done. That’s once we have completed a demo. We sit down and craft out the lyrics. We go back and forth. We are very critical of ourselves too. Normally its one or two who have an idea but we always get into a room together and knock it out.”
Would you jam it to an audience to test it out?
“No, we would normally not play a song to the public till it’s completely done.”
So what happens next for Big Jesus?
“We are doing some more big concerts with Good Charlotte. And some time next year — hopefully festival season — we will be back in Britain.”
Do you mind people comparing you with Good Charlotte? Speaking about both bands in the same breath?
“Well, we think our sound is so different that we are not worried about comparisons. Its actually kinda cool that people will check our sounds out because of the Good Charlotte link. But eventually we will stop working along with them and those kind of comparisons will drop off. Then we will become our own thing. But for now we are happy just playing. We are not complaining.”
Why did you make ‘Oneiric’ album in L.A. Why not stay in Georgia?
“We wanted to work with producer Matt Hyde who did Slayer, Deftones and lots more. He was amazing. We did a couple of days of pre-production with him and he did some re-arrangements. He plays great guitar but he’s a multi-instrumentalist. So he knew how to get the guitar tones we wanted. He was a wonderful person and we instantly connected.”
What are your biggest Classic Rock influences?
Zeppelin, Beatles, Beach Boys… those harmonies … the melodies … and how those bands started to experiment with the blues. They stepped away and made sounds of their own. We would love to think that we can take a sound — a sound that already exists — and then transport it… take it away to some new place like Zeppelin did…”