Tell us about your name – and do you find it a bit unfriendly for Googling purposes? Any other contendors?
Our band name is something that we’re juvenile enough to have just settled in to. Finding a band name can often be a bone of contention amongst groups of musicians I think. Alot of the good ones have been taken! I think that Gareth just selected it off a list of possible band names in order to get the ball rolling, so we were able to get on with doing the music, kind of like just closing your eyes and picking one. This, I might add, was before I was actually in the band ha ha. Actually though, I think if you begin to establish yourselves through doing gigs or whatever other band activities, the name just becomes you and you become it., in as much as to me and I think Gareth as well, Big Naturals just means our band to us, despite the porn connotation. I don’t think we’d bother changing it now for that reason, it’s too late!
You’ve been described as ‘psych rock’ in the past, how would you summarise your sound?
Psych rock isn’t a bad one, I can live with that fairly happily. It’s better than being described as niche music, which while I accept to a certain extent, is a phrase I think would suggest a music that exists firmly in the avant-garde and quite impenetrable to mere mortals. Really though, having listened back to our recording during mixing and stuff alot lately, one of the main things that I think we do have going for us a band, is that the sound of the material itself is quite multi faceted. We do play very loudly and so it does tend to come across primarily as heavy rock, but there’s also other influences in there too. Fusion, kraut rock, hardcore punk, a bit of Eastern influence in there here and there, even some electronica at certain points, as well as the psych element. We both have quite a diverse set of influences between us which we try our best to throw in there.
Tell us about your relationship with Invada? And where you’re at now in terms of a record label…
Our relationship with Invada is purely platonic. Gareth has friends who are involved with the label and they were kind enough to take a few copies of our vinyl and put it on their webshop. They also helped us out with mastering which was a huge help to us. As far as where we’re at with a label, we decided to self release as we were making a record as an unknown band. Mainly because of that, it became apparent that we’d probably have to self release, which we have. The label is called Greasy Trucker (www.greasytrucker.com). You can purchase a vinyl or download the album from the site, and we’re aiming to get a couple more releases together before the end of the year.
What’s been the most notable chance in the music scene since you first formed around 5 years ago?
For me it’s just been a process of very gradually learning how to navigate a band past the local scene, not that there’s anything wrong with being at that point. Music is much more of a boutique industry now I think in terms of people actually handing over money to obtain it and there’s certainly a strong emphasis on live performance now more than ever, because no matter what changes are happening in terms of how people listen to music, you still can’t replicate a good gig by any other means. There’s alot of interesting bands and musicians putting together interesting music of many different genres and styles. Obviously the rise of Dubstep has been one of the most notable happenings in the Bristol music scene. Dance music always seems to have a pretty high profile, probably because it seems to always be associated with fashion. In terms of the more traditional band scene I think alot of it is getting more and more diverse lately as the stoner rock thing seems to have been done to absolute death. It’s a pretty vibrant scene on the whole.
And your relationship with Bristol? Reckon it’s a decent place to be a band? And why?
I would definitely say that Bristol is a good place to have a band going. There’s a very supportive community of musicians and bands who aren’t afraid to be open and embrace everyone elses stuff, regardless of what their own particular musical bag might be. It also tends to be incredibly down to earth and egos seem to be kept at a minimum, you don’t tend to get that rat race vibe that you might associate amongst lots of bands in a city, all keen to get their stuff heard.The way it is here in Bristol is how it should be in terms of all that. I’ve seen many really excellent bands play here, both locally and bands that have been brought here from all over the world, by very forward thinking promoters and audiences tend to be really quite receptive. The Big Naturals have played countless shows at the Croft, which is really how we’ve started to hone our material and make it progress. Our studio is literally just around the corner, so the Stokes Croft area of the city is very much the backdrop for us getting together and playing music, whether we’re attempting some recording or doing gigs. I’m sure if you were being critical you could pick faults or discover certain limitations, but for me and I think I can speak for Gareth as well on this, it’s a pretty good place to be doing some music.
Big Naturals play the sold out Howling Owl Records summer showcase at The Crypt in Bristol on August 17. More info at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Big-Naturals/139612126053038
by 247 Magazine